Up bright and early we are headed out to play the waiting game. One waiting room to another, we wait and wait until they call Yousuf Baa..su..ni? Only Dr. Margolin can get the name right but she is the one who uses it the least. When we enter the the hospital and fill out the same piece of paper for the 50th time displaying Yousuf's name, date of birth and the time we arrived, a light goes off...(or on) over my head. They should invent an identification card with all the patients personal information. When you come in you just scan your card and the machine will pull up the information, print it on the wrist band and there you go! Saves paper, time and inconvenience! I told the clerk my idea and she smiled and seemed to like the idea but only moving her eyes from her computer screen for a second. Hey, I liked my idea.
We waited for about 10 minutes since we were one of two people in that waiting room. That's the good aspect of being there at 7:30am...we are one of the first! I forgot to put the numbing cream on Yousuf's port so they had to use the spray. He did better this time sitting on my lap upright and with the cheerful Child life specialist by his side. Next time a nurse tells me he has to lay down I am going to argue because his response is not at all pleasant and there is no need for it.
After we get him accessed we go back to the same waiting room and wait for the nurse to call us to see the doctor. They have pods: green, orange, blue and purple I think. Each pod has, from what I can see, about four nurse stations and four rooms. We got the green pod this time after about another 10-15 minutes of waiting. We wait in our designated doctors room from anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes or so. First, one doctor will come in and ask if there has been any problems and if so what they are. Then one of the main doctors will come and give him an examination. After that the doctor will usually write any orders, prescriptions or gather paper work for us to sign for any procedure. This is usually another 10-20 minutes. Then we head to the 7th floor to PACU. This waiting room is NO fun because there is no eating or drinking since most the kids are fasting before any surgery. They have more toys though to make up for it. This waiting room feels like the longest. When Yousuf was still needing blood and platelet transfusions we would have to head over to the transfusion room first wait for the transfusion to finish, get another blood test to make sure his count was high enough to go under anesthesia...(his hemoglobin has to be at an 8 in order to go to PACU)then go! But no need for those for a while, alhamdulilah! His counts looked very good this visit with the highest I have ever seen at a 11.8 or so!
Waiting...waiting, reading, playing, waiting, searching the internet, chasing Omar preventing him from snatching other people's belongings. This time he took off with some kids sippy cup. The clerk scolded me for having drinks in the waiting room. But it wasn't mine!! ..or his. They don't allow balloons either. They made me untie a balloon that was tied to my stroller since Eid, they broke the silence of the waiting room by popping my balloon and trashing it. I was embarrassed, something about the chalk on it.
More waiting...then a nurse or two comes out and asks the same questions: Any allergies, reactions to anesthesia, medications, he's on, and any health problems BESIDES the leukemia? Then someone else come out and checks his heart, then we always know the third person who calls his name ..or what sounds like his name that THIS IS IT! Straight to the PACU. We sign papers, hook him up, run the meds in his port and in seconds Yousuf falls over asleep. We head out and get another pager to let us know when he's done and then we can basically take our pick of waiting rooms! Usually, we go to the 3rd floor (to the cafeteria)to get milk or juice for him when he wakes up. We head upstairs and wait in the lounge area which has a microwave, coffee, water and T.V. They usually come get one of us from there, since the other one has to wait with Omar (who isn't allowed in the recovery room).
I walk back there, knowing the rules, turn off my cell phone and sanitize my hands before they can say anything. Yousuf is still sound asleep so I just sit there looking through my camera to kill time. Then the nurse reminds me that after this we have to still go to the infusion room to get his chemo: methatrexate and vin cristine. I jump up to wake him up. Yousuf barely lifts his head, squints his eyes and looks around to see where he is. He's groggy and whimpers lightly but sits up waiting for me to rock him. The service is so wonderful that as soon as they see him awake they give him options of juice, sprite, or Popsicle. Extra tired this time he just picked the juice and demanded he not move until he has his wheel chair in front of him. After signing a couple more papers we are off back to the 14th floor to the infusion room.
The guy who signed us in looked up the information and glanced at his watch seeing it was 1pm and makes a surprised remark about how we have been there since 7am. We wait in the infusion room a long time but its abit easier since Yousuf can eat and drink to his hearts delight. They have three T.V.'s to choose from to watch, many toys and usually a volunteer doing some kind of craft with the kids. And then..there's just more waiting and waiting. Usually during this time Abu Yousuf or I will head back to the very first waiting room and make our appointment for the next week. They finally give him his vin cristine and methatrexate over a 15 minute time span. The nurse said when they do it faster then that the kids will immediately vomit right there on them, so 15 minute wait is good. We call our car out of valet and head to the first floor, hand them our ticket and wait some more for our car to arrive. This has been anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. Then we're ALL DONE!! :)