Liza

Jake took his shoes off in the car. Had a Billy goat been with us, the goat likely would have thrown up. It reminded me when he was 3. He had these sandals he wore one summer, and he kicked them off in the van one night. My parents were with us. We decided it smelled bad enough that even a Billy goat might throw up. Jake soaked his feet when we got home and rubbed off a lot of dry skin, and I slathered them with Perfectly Posh body butter. He liked it so much, I slathered his head and face. The arms and legs would have to wait. He wanted to lie down. It had been a long day at the hospital. He had educated himself about the stock market all the way home from his appointment. If only he would have bought Nintendo stock right before the new Pokémon game took off. His results were good again today. Another medication was reduced.  The doctor thought he looked much better than 3 weeks ago. The cancer center was unusually busy today. As we headed up, a man passed us and said, prayers for you, young man… it is obvious there that Jake had cancer. He is surrounded by bald heads. I often wonder what people are thinking when they see him but don’t know his story. I wonder if it is obvious he had cancer, or if they assume something else like he’s  a meth addict. One night I was scolded because my visitor name tag had our name written on it.  What if a gang banger comes in to finish him off? You would lead them right to him. Those nurses should know better…. technically it was a HIPAA violation, but I didn’t particularly mind. I guess in any given hospital, one could worry about potential danger. She sized me up and let it drop. When Jake was in the bone marrow transplant unit, his name was outside the door. Again, HIPAA violation, but that’s how I knew Liza was there. Her door was open enough that I could see her sitting in bed so I popped my head in. She was supposed to help with the bone marrow registry drive for Jake in January, but she had been sick. She worked for Be the Match and had received a bone marrow transplant 3 years earlier. Her leukemia was ALL and was very aggressive. Her donor was a stranger. Liza was hospitalized for just a virus.  She waved her hand like it was just an inconvenience.  She was headed down to have an MRI the next morning. I didn’t see her again. Liza died Saturday. There had been complications along the way, and her lungs were compromised. The lung transplant team, in June, had not said no to putting her on the transplant list, but they hadn’t said yes either. For a moment, her family had hope. It didn’t matter. Liza is gone. Once again, I will kiss Jake on the head every time I get the chance. He wants a Sugar glider. We might consider letting him buy stock in something, but I’m putting my foot down to a Sugar glider. It’s hard to say no…

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