Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Haunted Halloween?


Shelley and I have “dates” in the hallway outside of Amie’s room whenever we can.  We get a bite to eat, and sit outside her room and talk.  Sometime it’s a quick debrief of the day, sometimes it’s some bit of silliness that Amie did.  But we know that keeping connected in the middle of this is incredibly important, because it would be so easy to drift apart in the middle of this crazy. 

While sitting outside in the hallway tonight, we got to hear a whole different experience of kids at Mott.

Amelie has been tolerating all of this extremely well.  By this, I mean needles and chemotherapy.   She endures endless tubes and chaos and new stuff constantly.  She’s been great, and the nurses and doctors, social workers and child life employees are constantly telling us so.

So the girl in the next room over was (and please pardon my language) utterly and completely losing her shit tonight.  Screaming.  Moaning. Yelling.  Kicking and biting and hitting.  (We know this because we could hear the nurses sternly telling her that she could not bite them, nor hit them, nor kick them)  She was doing this for a long time.  20 minutes?

At one point, an alarm went off, an a stream of nurses rushed into her room….and then it kept going on and on and on.  She was at a point of misery and despair and pain and utter and complete DONE that I’ve never experienced before. 

It’s just sitting on my soul right now, and gave me another silver lining.  I’ve been looking for them, over and over through this process, as has my sister. When we talk on the phone, she’s always trying to spin things into a positive when she hears the retelling of the day’s events. 

So, knowing that both Anya and Amelie are handling things so well, and knowing that if you talk her through verbally whatever you are going to do, she’ll be an amazing shining star with it.  She cries for a bit, don’t get me wrong… but she’s able to be comforted, and gets past it.

Grace, the girl next to Amie tonight, was beyond consolation.  Beyond tolerance.  She was utterly done with each and every bit of everything that was happening to her.

On some level, it reminded me of several of my students.  They see school as something that is happening to them.  They do no work, they actively perseverate on utterly annoying behaviors to drive me crazy…. because they want to disrupt the process.  They want “school” to stop.  They don’t care about the consequences, because they win no matter what.  They are already in their own worst punishment; they’re forced to come to school.  Grace was in hers…but it was far more full of actual and real physical pain.

As I was walking out for the night, knowing Shelley would be sleeping within the half hour and Amie was far into sleep already, I stopped to talk to Grace’s grandfather outside her room.  He was taking a breather.  I said to him that I hoped his night got better, and that I hoped that she (grace) found some peace with the process.  He said that this was every single time she was admitted.  He stated that she was always sorrowful at the end of the screaming, but that it was always the same….each time she came here. 

I feel for her.  I feel for the nurses.  I feel for the grandfather.  Man.  That’s some seriously rough shit to have to bear witness to. 

Haunted Halloween?  Yes.  Tonight I am haunted.