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I’m always conflicted about how to feel when the baristas start to know my name. Sure, there’s an element of great customer service; there’s also the thought that maybe I’m frequenting said coffee shop too...frequently.

It happened this morning. I ordered a Grande ½-sweet Green Tea Latte and a buttermilk blueberry muffin. She didn’t have to ask for my name for the cup, and she said, “you like blueberries, hey?” I said yes, which was odd, not because it’s not true, but because I’d ordered the same drink yesterday while wearing the same beanie (ok, for the past 2 days), but this was the first time I’d ordered that muffin.

Previously it was a lemon cranberry scone (ok, twice previously). So yeah, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the blueberry comment, other than to say, “that I do” and let it go. Score one for Michael’s social interactions. I didn’t lie, and didn’t make someone feel awkward. That’s a win in my book.

The reason I’m getting nervous about the baristas is that we’re getting a little too comfortable around the Oncolocy outpatient clinic at the hospital. They know Davis by name at the clinic, which isn’t really surprising. But they also know him by how long it takes to get blood out of his CVC line. It’s been a finicky line, often requiring us to turn Davis into a bit of a marionette it in the right position to get the blood flowing to get enough for blood work to get his counts. And he hates, HATES, being posed by us just right like he's some Manikin. So his blood draws have become something of legend for the nursing staff.

Today he had a new nurse and she got it with no contorting required, so one of the other nurses that’s seen him the last few days was quite put out.

We’ve been in every weekday since mid-last week, which is abnormal. There’s nothing wrong (you know, other than a cancerous tumour), but he’s going to have some of his healthy stem cells collected, to have them on hand as insurance in case of a relapse and the need for more aggressive chemotherapy. If that should happen, these stem cells would help him recover.

They need to take the stem cells just as his blood counts are coming back up from their regular dip which happens after a round of chemo. So they’ve been doing blood work every day the clinic’s open to keep a close eye on the counts. It means we need to be there early in the morning, get the blood drawn, and then wait for a couple hours to get the results and see whether he would be admitted for the stem cell collection.

We thought it was going to be Monday, but his counts weren’t ready yet. We gave him a med that boosts a specific cell type Monday night. (And by med, I mean “shot in the leg”. Go nurse Daddy! He’s actually grown to love the meds he takes by oral syringe, though the picture of him with a dopey smile on his face and a syringe hanging out of his mouth is rather disconcerting.) Still not ready Tuesday. More of the med Tuesday night. At last! He was ready today.

Except that the ICU, where they need to put in the collection IV line (yeah, he needs a bigger IV line than the one he’s got surgically implanted in his chest right now), was short-staffed today.

So we’re “home” again tonight, and will be back first thing in the morning again when we’ve been told it’ll happen for sure. I’m generally not a skeptic, but I have to say I’ll believe this when I see it.

The clinic is great for kids that have to be there - lots of toys and distractions. The staff is great, and there’s even a TV for cartoons, though that’s been taken over during these Olympics by staff who prioritize figure skating over hockey. There’s only been one tiny little bit of tension created by some dad who decided that hockey was preferable last Friday morning. Apparently Patrick Chan has a few fans in the clinic office. Who knew?

To be fair, the clinic itself has actually been not too bad. The biggest challenge of the week has been that Davis needs to be NPO every morning since he might be getting the procedure done which means sedation.

You try telling a hungry 2-year old there’s no breakfast and no morning snack.

So we’re very much hoping that tomorrow is actually go-time. It’ll be a challenging day, since he needs to basically lie flat for the whole day, and once off his sedation he can’t really be sedated again with true anathesia. Gravol and morphine shall have to suffice, and suffice they’d better.

You try telling a restless 2-year old to lie still for 6 hours.

But maybe the anathesia will linger and it’ll be an ok day. I can invision lots of iPad and...well, lots of iPad...needed to keep him occupied and lying on a bed.
Ideally we’ll be able to be “home” before nightfall, but we’ll have to see. As with so many things, it all depends on a few factors. Then after that, assuming all goes well with this, we should be back to the more regular schedule of things; he’ll go in early next week again for his fourth round of chemo.

So what it really comes down to is that, after tomorrow, we’re hoping to be able to give the baristas a break from us for a few days. Maybe if they don’t remember my name on Tuesday, I’ll feel less conflicted. Maybe I’ll get my haircut so I don’t have to wear the beanie and be so recognizable. Because, you know, it’s really all about making sure I feel comfortable.

Thanks for powering through this long update. I’ll be able to post more regularly again now for a bit, and as things “settle down” a bit, maybe even have time to venture into some other musings and explorations with you.

We continue to be so blessed by the Christian community that’s surrounded us, and by friends and family who continue to support us in so many ways. May God bless you tonight with a strong faith and a sure hope in Jesus.