Ethan’s last day of IMRT at Peter Mac was last Friday.
I flew in to Melbourne the Saturday before that to do the baton change with Christie-Lee’s Mum for the last week of treatment. I’m truly thankful for all Maureen’s help and support during the five or so weeks she stayed with Christie-Lee and Ethan in Melbourne – I know it can’t have been an easy task sharing a one-bedroom apartment with my (increasingly) pregnant wife and a toddler for such a long time!
With Christie-Lee (and the twins) getting bigger and bigger, I took over most of the chores for the last week. Even over such a relatively short period, I was exhausted by the end. I can’t imagine how Christie-Lee must have felt after the seven weeks of treatment. She’s done a fantastic job juggling Ethan’s medical needs with her own obstetric appointments and scans.
Ethan’s last day of treatment at Peter Mac went much like every other day. The night before, my mobile alarm woke me up at 1.45am to stop his pump and replace the feed bag with a bag of water. Then I had to make sure I was up again at around 6.20am to stop the pump and give Ethan his meds before the 6.30am cut-off time for fluids. That was no problem with Ethan waking up around 5.00am! Thankfully he was happy to play with his LeapPad in his cot while I dozed a little longer. After meds, it was pretty much the usual routine.
To celebrate the last day, Christie-Lee bought a plate of cakes (none of which she could eat) to share with the Peter Mac staff in recovery. Having been used to PMH, it was difficult for us at first to come to grips with the way Peter Mac works, but all the staff there have been very supportive. One of the anaesthetic technicians from RCH, Craig, was kind enough to send Christie-Lee a text message later on to wish us luck.
We didn’t know we were going to Peter Mac for Ethan’s treatment until the last minute, and we’d never been to Melbourne before. There were obviously times when we found the experience stressful, and I hope we didn’t appear too demanding. It is hard not to seem needy when you’re not even sure where to buy nappies.
We flew back on Saturday. Ethan was fantastic on the flight home. He just sat between the two of us in his own seat the whole way, including landing and take-off. We were on one of the older Qantas planes, so no entertainment units. Ethan amused himself with his LeapPad and portable DVD player (at $59.00, surely one of the best purchases we ever made considering the use we have got out of it since his diagnosis). Ethan only ever really bothered us when he wanted to swap DVDs, which he selected himself out of a wallet.
Ethan was extremely excited to see our car at Perth Airport. I think he knew as soon as he got in it that he was going home. I noticed that in Melbourne he would veer towards cars the same colour as ours when walking along the street. Maybe he thought that if he got in, they would take him home!
By the time we reached our Freeway turn-off, the toddler excitement emanating from the back of our car was reaching fever pitch. Ethan knows the way home. When we finally got in the door, he spent a lot of time just grinning and doing laps around the house.
We are all very excited to be home again. There are still many obstacles for Ethan to overcome – I would love to see him eating proper food again in the near future – but for now it is good to all be back among our friends and family and hopefully we can return to some degree of normalcy.