Monday, August 24, 2009


August 24, 2009

My sister has asked me to do an entry that features a topic that many of my readers who have connections to pediatric cancer will find familiar, and because that group has both experience with the topic and are, in general, made of hearty stock, they would not faint nor shrink away. However, some of my readers are, let's say, less experienced, so to protect their innocence as well as their squeamishness, I will speak (write) obliquely. You may still want to skip this entry entirely.

If I were to write this entry:

I would tell you about what happened when my fifth-grade self ate two and a half dozen batter-fried shrimp.

And about the night my freshman year in high school when I traveled with the varsity track team. We stopped at a diner for a late night supper. . .teens at one long table, adults across the room. I was pumped to be with the team (mostly very handsome, cool, fit, young men), but also uncharacteristically shy. At some point during the meal, I glanced towards the adult table and saw one of the men resting his elbow on the table and his cheek on his hand. He had a lit cigarette between "tall man" and "pointer." I've seen pictures of people with tracheotomies, smoking through the hole in their neck, but I had never seen someone smoking out of their ear. This cracked me up just as I took a very large swig of tea. I lost my breath and couldn't control my laughter, and in a matter of moments, I had blessed the table.

I also painted all the walls in our bathroom once, when in my great rush to make it in time, I ran, grabbed the doorjam for leverage, spun myself around, and managed to do what divers and skaters would consider a 360. I don't think a shotgun or machine pistol could match my range.

Not that all the stories I have about this topic involve me. I was once the designated driver for my friends who went to the hurricane races. On the way home, I checked my rearview mirror and noticed one of them had undressed and was holding all her clothes out the open window about to drop them out. Luckily, I had spare workout clothes in the trunk.

Davis had the inauspicious luck to get sick at school on the first day of fourth grade. I barely convinced him to go back when he felt better. At the time he thought he would prefer going through the remainder of his life with a third grade (plus half a day) education. I suppose that would have saved on college tuition.

Erin, of course, had her own experiences with "sharing" and her own way of talking about it. None, however, were as cute as my four-year-old niece's comment last week, when she explained to my mother that "There I was, and my beef stew just came jumping out of my mouth."

Okay, I'm sorry. I should have kept all this to myself, but I had to share.


  1. No way! Not share? This is a fair topic and should find a way to be shared for us parents-of-a-certain-stripe. Once when Erik was almost 7 and Karl was 2.5 it seemed little Karl had heard and seen a lot on this topic since Erik was doing the ugly chemo. So one day we were all sitting on their bedroom floor playing, and Karl said in his 2.5 year old way "I throw up" and Erik and I looked at each other grinning...yeah right! Copy-cat wanna be...we both nodded. You guessed it, next thing we knew....

  2. Out of the mouth of babes... literally!

  3. Actually, the exact quote was "and the beef stew just came jumping right out of my tummy...", but I think you managed to capture the moment just the same.

    Good job on tackling that topic, btw... I just knew I was going to have to "double-dog dare" you a couple of times before you would do it. I should have known better.

    Looking forward to seeing you today! Emma too. Hopefully, no more beef stew will escape her tummy while she is visiting you!!

  4. Ahhh memories! Thanks for not naming names.

  5. Once when Connor was sick, he went running to the bathroom, but he wasn't quite fast enough. Because of his forward momentum, he slipped in the puddle and fell. Which caused a splash and splattered all 4 walls and the shower curtain, 5 feet up no less. I'd bet everyone has a "panoramic puke" story. I was just glad he missed the carpet and couch where he'd been sitting!

  6. hey vickie - just wanted you to know i was thinking about you today - you said it was the first day back in the classroom since december. i hope it went well.

  7. Goodness, Vicki, why did your niece want such an entry?

    My kids tend and tended to hold on their stomach contents. Not only did they have strong stomachs and rarely suffered nausea, they would writhe in pain for a long time when they needed to vomit. They had a difficult time with that reflex,even in inducing it. My son, when on chemo did not have vomiting or nausea issue, whether it was from the prophylactic Zofran we liberally gave, or his natural constitution, I don't know. For other kids on his protocol, vomiting was a way of life, and I did carry a barf bucket with a lid in my car those years we had to go for chemo, just in case.

    However, the one time he did vomit in the car, was the very day I switched cars with hubby and did not bring the barf pail with us.

    Also, the most spectacular barf my oldest did was on a newly reupholstered chair, the only decent piece of furniture, and one with sentimental value (the reason I had splurged on this expensive reupholstering). He ran right for that chair and got the seat cushion and all of the creases and crevices.