Friday, January 24, 2014

Eli with Jim McClary at McClary Ford in Athens, AL.
I find myself digging out the silver lining a lot these days. No matter how dotted it may be, I grab on to it. “Well, at least it’s not raining.” “Well, at least it’s not below 500.” “Well, at least it’s not in the downstairs.” “Well, at least it’s not 10 pounds.” “Well, at least it’s not the flu.” We had a short check-up at the St. Jude clinic this morning. To make sure it would be short, I lugged all of our electronics and snacks for all day, which guaranteed that the opposite of what I prepared for would happen. They give him the choice about how to draw blood for labs. He will not let them access his port. He prefers that they poke him in the arm or squeeze his finger off for the drops they need. He doesn’t flinch, but his veins are small and move. He wanted it out of the arm today, and they always try to do things as the kid
The latest member of the Mustangs of America club.
 wants as often as possible because there are so many times that they don't have a choice. I think he would have let her dig forever today, but I finally said, just use his finger. I just couldn’t take the needle steering any more looking to hit he vein, but he didn’t seem to care. Thankfully, he did not need any platelets, although his count is considered low by general medical standards. St. Jude has a broader tolerance for what is acceptable. His ANC (absolute neutrophil count, which is a measurement of the strength of his immune system), which is a compilation of his white blood cell count (WBC) and his Complete Blood Cell Count (CBC), was 971. In the world outside of St. Jude that considers anything under 2000 to be low, his number is moderately neutropenic (risk of infection). But, in St. Jude’s world, “oh, nawh, he’s good. Keep his hands clean and don’t let anybody breath on him.” They have to be that loose with it or these beautiful children,
Waiting at the clinic.
who are living their lives sick, would never get to do anything or see anybody. If you could sit behind my eyes and in my brain for one day, you would be shocked to see how many germ alarms go off in my head. Test me sometime, ask me randomly what was the last germy thing that I noticed. I try to be discreet about shielding all the kids from as much as I can, but it would be exhausting to be extreme - which I probably border on anyway. So, we just try to be smart about it, aware of it and we carry on. Well, at least his ANC is not 500 or he would have to wear a mask. BUT… he is at risk, so in the next few days, especially at the car show, he won’t be hugging anybody and please don’t be offended if we clean his hands and ours after shaking yours. The show is in the open air, so that makes a big difference. I would not want him closed up in a classroom or anything right now. Caleb has a slightly damp nose, but at least it’s not the flu, and so far - the night has yet to pass - so good. We are so excited about the car show, and I even think the teenager is a little excited about it. We are grateful to Jim McClary at McClary Ford and Kasey Harbin at McClary Tire for arranging for Eli to bring his own Mustang to the show. Jim is loaning us a Shelby GT500 for a few days and the smile on Eli’s face when we picked it up was not just for the picture. He was thrilled,
The boys in the waiting room.
 just genuinely thrilled. And, in the mail today, thanks to the Mustang family, he got his membership card to the Mustang Club of America. So, he is ready for tomorrow! I know it is going to be cold and windy, but at least it’s not raining. The last count I heard was 300 cars. I don’t know how much of that is rumor, but every day this week, every person that I saw that I knew (a couple that I didn’t know) talked about the show. The pictures being posted of cars coming are so fun to see and just makes my heart smile to think about so many people preparing. It is going to be an amazing day, and I just can’t believe how the clubs have brought it together so quickly. We will do our best to meet as many as we can tomorrow, but I don’t see how we will get to see everybody. If it is cold, it is going to be tough to know what Eli’s temperament will be, too. But, just getting together and hanging out, to me, is a big part of the fun, so I hope that you all will enjoy the day, seeing and sharing with your fellow car enthusiasts. Champion Chevrolet will have the truck ready to be filled up with the boxes of powder detergent to be donated to St. Jude’s Grizzlies House, so remember that as well. See you at the show!

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