Sunday, December 4, 2016

Eight Hundred And Seventeen

Harrington... Uniondale... Welburn... All names of otherwise pretty little settlements along the Maplewood Sideroad between Tavistock and London... And all places I would not miss if they happened to be totally wiped off the map. The countryside is beautiful year round, fresh new pale greens and yellows in spring, rich deeper greens in summer, vibrant with reds and oranges and the golden corn in fall, and stark, crisp, and white in winter. And all this beauty on this particular road brings to me is sadness, fear, melancholy, and despair.

The drive tonight started about 6:30 in the evening, fully dark, the air cool and damp, with cloudy skies. I had a passenger to accompany me on this drive, Alexander, now nine. I let him bring along his Nintendo DS, as drives like this leave me more contemplative than cheerful, and I did not want him bored for a whole hour.

A few minutes out of town I turned right on the Maplewood, and looked to the south. The familiar glow of Woodstock was directly to my left, and even though it was well over sixty kilometers away, ahead and to the left the glow over London was easy to see. The little blue Echo happily spun through the gears, seemingly eager to get us to our destination, and I settled into fifth at about a hundred clicks. All was dark, the moon obscured, the only lights from the occasional farms and houses we passed by.

The previous morning Rudi had been running a fever, so we had gone to the Kitchener Oncology Satellite clinic to have him checked out. Multiple sets of bloodwork from the port in his chest and his arm were taken, and a complete workup by the Pediatrician on staff. His white blood count was extremely low, and he had no neutrophils, so no ability to fight off any infection. He was started on saline, and soon after an IV broad spectrum antibiotic to keep any possible bacterial infection in check.  Other than looking grey and tired, the only other evidence of him being sick was a slight pain in his gut... The doctor was asking Rudi about how much or how little pain there was, and suggested that may be a concern. I replied that he had chosen a perfect time to get appendicitis!  Later that evening, after an ultrasound and  X-ray had revealed only a slightly inflamed appendix, Rudi and Katherine had been transported via ambulance to Emerge at Victoria Hospital in London for further assesment and possible treatment.

Through Harrington the road was wet with a light drizzle falling. I coasted through the chicane leading toward Adam's goat zoo and the microwave tower south of Belwood Lake, and passed a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. There had been virtually no other traffic on the road tonight, an apt parallel to our lives over the past two and half years. No matter what help, support, and love you receive, and we have received lots, as a parent you still drive this road completely and utterly alone.