Saturday was an easy-going day. I let Josh sleep in a little later because he only had one therapy session scheduled for the afternoon. But, he was still up and moving around mid-morning. By lunch time, we were watching for his friend, Alex, to arrive for a visit.
Josh likes to cruise the hallway of the pediatric floor whenever he has an opportunity. He will say to me “back,” which is short for “I’ll be back,” and then will roll himself out of his room and down the hallway on his own. There is a little boy, about 2 years old, who has taken a liking to Josh. He will greet Josh with “Hi, Josh.” And, Josh will say hello back. He has also taught the 2 year old how to first pump. Josh held out his fist and said “pound,” and the 2-year-old reciprocated. But after that, the little boy had picked up on the word “pound,” and said this each time he held out his fist.
The pediatric floor is its own unit with two main doors that are always closed. As a patient, Josh can’t go out of these doors without being put on transport first. If he were to try to leave through the doors, he would set off some kind of silent alarm system which involves a strobe light on the ceiling and the releasing of another set of outer security doors that must be passed through before you reach the elevators.
I know something about this, because there have been two times when I have forgotten to put Josh on transport before taking him out of the unit. The first time, we “got away with it,” because when the light began flashing and the doors closed, I had no idea that it had anything to do with us. Many of the doors tend to be in different states of being opened, closed, manual, or triggered automatically. In the moment, it was a little like Indiana Jones trying to escape with the Golden Idol.
The second time, we were a little more aware of what we had done, plus a Mary Free Bed staffer who had been walking alongside of us saw what happened and said that Josh needed to be put on transport. So, we headed back to the nurse’s station and took care of that.
Inside the unit, there is one social room which is equipped with a number of video game systems, a TV, books, and an air hockey table. Josh and I will usually walk down to this room and play the air hockey. We usually make it down there about once a day after he finishes his last therapy sessions, or after we’ve gotten back from his radiation treatments. Lately, we have been “upping the ante” by using two air hockey paddles at the same time. This makes it easier for him to block his goal, but at the same time gives me an additional advantage since he is one handed. It does make for longer air hockey games.
There is another game room next door to Josh’s room, although he doesn’t spend much time there. It contains several toys which are geared towards younger kids, such as a play kitchen and a train table. Ironically, I’ve spent more time in there, because I will duck inside whenever I needed to make a phone call, or just needed to be out of his room for a little bit. It is a handy place to go to because it is so close.
We were down by the social room with the air hockey table when Alex arrived. He walked through the doors into the unit, and whizzed right by us. I encouraged Josh to call out his name, but he just grinned and didn’t say anything. Eventually, Alex found us, still standing at the end of the hallway. He and Josh played a few rounds of air hockey, then returned to his room to play Smash Brothers until his physical therapy session.
I was grateful that Alex took the time to visit, and that Josh was able to enjoy some down time after a grueling first week of radiation and chemotherapy. And, Sunday will give him another day to recover before everything starts up again on Monday.