Day 290

Benji has been “unhooked” for most of the day, free from connection to his IV pole. His supportive care medicines have all been switched to pills. When Isaac came by this morning to check on the night’s progress, he was pleased. Benji’s blood pressure was lower last night, and his tummy pain is being soothed by baths alone. He is eating and digesting normally. Isaac discontinued Benji’s Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) and switched his pain medicine to “as needed.”

Benji’s port was due to be deaccessed and reaccessed today, but Isaac told the nurses to hold off. This morning’s labs showed white blood, red blood and platelet counts that all looked much more normal than yesterday. If all of these trends continue, Isaac said we may be able to go home tomorrow.

That maybe was all I needed to hear. I’d woken up so tired, wondering how much longer I could function properly. I wondered how tired Benji must be, deep in his body. Neither of us have slept longer than a two or three hour stretch in weeks. When Isaac gave me that maybe, I brewed a second cup of coffee, put a television show on for Benji, and started packing joyfully.

I left all of the items of love and beauty we’ve added to brighten our room, and any necessities we might need should we have to stay beyond tomorrow. But everything else, I loaded up for Michael to take home with him after his visit today. He arrived before lunch with a huge Lego project for Benji, and I kept piling more bags onto the wagon parked at the door.

Kathy and Gana came for a Sunday visit and brought Banyan to us as well. Benji was in great spirits while they were here. I’m glad they could see him eating again and hear him laughing so much. We all played together for a while, until Benji’s body told him to rest. Kathy and Gana saw that he needed a nap and said goodbye. Banyan settled into a quiet art project, Michael rested on the couch, and I snuggled in next to Benji. We slept for nearly two hours.

When we woke, our nurse told me that when she took Benji’s vital signs during our nap, he’d registered a fever. It didn’t meet the parameters to draw a blood culture, so she took it again 45 minutes later and he was fever free. I’m sure she had taken it under his arm so as not to wake him, and our cozy body temperature skewed the reading. Still, “fever” was not the word I wanted to hear. Benji still has a significant amount of recovering to do from the toxicity his body has endured, but it’s time for that recovery to happen at home.

I breathed fresh air tonight for just the second time since we were admitted. Banyan and I went out to grab some dinner at a market down the road. The weather is lovely. I have visions of pumpkin patches and beach nights in our very near future.

This is our 23rd night on the seventh floor this admission. I hope it’s our last. As Benji was falling asleep, we gave thanks for the healing that has happened here. It’s easy to be angry at what Benji endured, because it was avoidable; but gratitude is much more important now. Benji’s miraculous body has overcome another formidable obstacle. Thank you are the last two words on my lips tonight.

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