Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Keeping a Vigil

So much of Aidan's journey has been about waiting. He waited for his transplant. The other day, we waited to talk to the GI nurse, then waited to get Sean to the PCP so he could get the varicella diagnosis confirmed, then hurried down to Children's Hospital .... to wait, to qualify for the Human Varicella Zoster Immunoglobulin.

Then we waited again. Waited to see how the virus took its course through Sean; waited to see if and when Aidan and his siblings would come down with the varicella.

Waiting takes a particular form. Up here at his grandma's cabin, we divide our days between walking with the stroller, walking down to the lake, watching Pokemon videos, playing with grandma's tops, playing in the sandbox, and then of course, meals. I talk to Liam about books and writing. I drive down to run a couple of errands with Kevin; I drop off Liam and pick up Clare, who talks about books and movies and brings a distinctive feminine element to our vigil up here in the mountains. It reminds me a bit of some of Aidan's "frequent flights" to the hospital, but I am not as lonely and here, the natural world is a consolation. It guides waiting into a peaceful cycle. The lake moves from silky tranquility to cheerful choppiness and back to a rosy stillness. More restful than the fluorescent light cycle and 4 hour vital sign check rhythm of the hospital. And there is more room to walk. Walking is a great aid to waiting.

I say lots of prayers. I call home several times a day to remind Sean to take his acyclovir, to inquire about changes for the better or worse, to assess his well being as well as I can over the phone. He never sounds really ill, and after a while, I expect less and less that he will have a difficult course with the varicella. It is Day Six now and the pocks are disappearing.

I make plans to come home.

We wait now for the beginning of the symptoms in his siblings.

Waiting is a discipline. I never knew how carefully you had to balance preparation and watchfulness with quietness and perseverance. It's like the days when we had to give Aidan his many medications through his feeding tube, slowly and with painstaking care, over the course of an hour. Too fast and the whole lot would come out. Too slow and we would be behind schedule, because not long after we got one lot in, it would be time for his next set of meds and we would start all over.

The waiting is like a stream flowing at a tranquil rate. There are eddies underneath, of stress and turmoil, but I have to put them aside for now. It could speed up any time and there would be white water and maybe even a cascade. Or the stream might ease itself almost imperceptibly back into calmness.

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