Pretty recently, most big pediatric hospitals began offering patients and their families the ability to set up websites that they can use to stay in touch with their friends and relatives. (The hospitals aren’t insane enough to become webhosts themselves — nearly all of the sites are offered through one of a number of services like CarePages, CaringBridge, or theStatus.) Due to the chronic nature of cancer, a lot of my patients’ families have set up and maintained websites for a while now, and I’ve found that the pages provide me with a completely different perspective on what the kids are going through. They can also be absolutely hysterical; this bit posted by the mother of one of my patients with childhood leukemia had me laughing so hard I was crying. (Of course, I’ve redacted my patient’s name.)
[H] has a new game that she plays, called, “I am Dr. Jason.” I should preface this by telling you that one of her chemo meds, Vincristine, has the lovely side effect of sometimes causing constipation. So before she could get Vincristine at the beginning of her cycle, Dr. Jason would ask if she was having any constipation issues. The conversation usually went like this:
Dr. Jason: Any mouth sores?
Dr. Jason: Eating okay?
Dr. Jason: Pooping okay?
We have had this conversation about a gazillion times since H was diagnosed. But in H’s little world, apparently the only interesting part of this exchange was the part about the poop. So she’s sitting on the couch next to me, being Dr. Jason. She’s got a pad and pen and is carefully recording my answers just as Dr. Jason does.
H: So, Mommy, are you pooping okay?
Me: Uh, yeah?
H: Is [H’s sister] pooping okay?
H: Is Daddy pooping okay?
H: Is [H’s other sister] pooping okay?
H: Is Grandma pooping okay?…
And it goes on… until she’s ascertained that everyone in her life is pooping okay. Makes me wonder what she thinks all those clinic visits were all about anyway. Cancer? What cancer? As long as you’re pooping okay, H!