My Big Kid

“You have to pray for me mommy because I am sick.”


My heart skipped a beat but I didn’t let it show. Instead I felt the corners of my mouth lift upward as I planted a huge wet one in the center of his forehead.


“Mommy is always praying for you, silly boy.”


“Oh, I am always praying for me, too.”


With a sense of accomplishment, my older-than-his-years kiddo pulled the comfy, red blanket all the way up to his big brown eyeballs and bid me adieu.



* * *


Full disclosure, this devotional exchange occurred about two weeks ago when Aiden was battling it out with a pretty nasty sinus infection. The crud not only made my little man feel down in the dumps, it delayed routine imaging by one month’s time. In terms of Aiden’s health, I do not like to veer off course. Routine is very important in terms of my completely-under-control-non-neurotic anxiety.


Yep, that’s me…completely non-neurotic.


Do I have you convinced?


The thing with “routine” imaging is that it is supposed to become easier over time. Though, it may sound crazy to the non-cancer-parent, it actually does get easier. I still feel the intense urge to vomit upon entering the radiology waiting room but fortunately, for all those in close proximity, no cookies have yet been lost. Instead, we do our little song and dance. We know the steps by heart now and can shimmy down to MRI with our eyes shut.


Last week, while I was intently watching Dinosaur Train on the waiting room TV, Aiden’s MRI tech, Mike, entered the room to escort us to family waiting. Upon seeing him, Aiden quickly left the pile of large foam blocks on the floor and climbed up on one of the green padded chairs. He planted his little knees firmly in the cushion and straightened his back, commanding attention.


While waving his arms back and forth he sternly stated, “NO MASK, I want a shot. NO MASK.” We all just took a few moments and stared. This little man meant business. Mike nodded his head in approval, offered a warm smile, and took my confident kiddo by the hand. We were off!


Up until this point (post- mediport), Aiden had always received anesthetic gas through a mask. He usually fought hard but crying actually helped the gas take effect as it was able to enter his little body more quickly. Now that Aiden is getting older, though, the whole mask experience is becoming a bit traumatic. As we walked towards our private waiting area, he saw the double doors which led to the “Big Machine” and Aiden refused to inch forward. Fortunately, another member of his medical team met us there.


Stephanie, Aiden’s child life specialist immediately knelt down to speak with him. Aiden explained his wishes and she nodded in agreement. I could actually see his little body start to relax. She then introduced Aiden to Buzzy, a small little bee-shaped device which was going to help with his shot. Buzzy is a physiologic pain blocker which uses cold and vibration to fend off unpleasant sensations. Aiden, now donned with an arsenal was ready to take on the “Big Machine,” IV included.


With my munchkin in my lap, Aiden watched Toy Story 3 on the Child Life iPad and gave the “OK” for Mike to start the IV. Buzzy buzzed as I held him on Aiden’s arm and Mike quickly pricked my kiddo’s hand. Aiden offered little hesitation but did let us know when he had enough of the saline flush.


A few minutes later, Aiden’s anesthesiologist, entered the room. Aiden again explained that he did not want to go into the “Big Machine.” Stephanie had already prepped the physician and he nodded understandably. The decision was made to start administering Aiden’s medications in front of the MRI room, with the doors to the “Big Machine” shut.


Aiden bravely walked into the MRI suite and snuggled in my arms as I sat down in a chair in the center of the room. We were positioned next to the stretcher which would quickly wheel my boy to the magnet (and monitoring), just steps away. Almost instantly, the medications started to take effect. Aiden’s eyes shut, I kissed his check, and he was rushed away.


I walked back through the double doors while trying to muster up the same strength I witnessed, through Aiden, just moments earlier. It is truly incredible how much one can learn from the strength, innocence and honesty of a child.


* * *


In a sweet whisper that night, Aiden started off his prayers in the third person.


“Thank you God for taking care of Aiden.”


Fortunately, those words could not have rang truer that true. Aiden’s scans were clear, giving us another three to four month reprieve before having to think about them again. I slowly closed his door while also closing my eyes, gratitude welling in the form of tears.


“Thank you God for taking care of Aiden. Thank you.”