12 July 2014

Best friend + CF Clinic = a good day!

My friend Dana and I try to regularly give our little boys playdates.  Recently, one of our playdates landed on a day when Bennett was supposed to go to his quarterly CF Clinic appointment.

Since it was going to be just Bennett and myself at his appointment - and since I knew Bennett was going to have to have the dreaded bloodwork and an X-ray at this appointment - I thought it might be fun for Bennett to have Parker come along with us!

You may remember Parker's story from here. (Continue to follow his family's story here.)  Parker's father passed away last year from brain cancer so I was a tad bit nervous that he might have a hard time coming with us to the CF clinic and seeing Bennett get bloodwork done.  But, Parker's mom Dana felt confident that he would be ok.

And so the boys and I drove the 2 hour drive to Dallas to attend the 3-hour appointment.  The great thing was the boys didn't seem to care where they were or what they were doing, they were just delighted to be together!

They spent the time waiting for Bennett's X-ray by eating snacks and making each other laugh. :)

Bennett had to get a chest X-ray at this appointment, which he is required to do annually.

Bennett has become very confident during his X-rays.  It used to scare him to have the machines all around.  But, he's becoming quite the champ.

We just remind him we are taking a picture of his lungs.  It seems to help for him to tell his lungs to "smile." :)

The doctors take two views of his lungs.  They are always looking for lung damage or signs of inflammation, which usually indicates infection.

This is my only picture of Bennett getting his bloodwork done.  I took it from my camera raised above my head.  After this picture, I had to use both of my arms to hug Bennett while the nurse stuck his arm.  He started to cry but I just kept saying to him: "see, you're like Oliver, you're not even crying when you get your bloodwork done!" and somehow, that actually kept him from crying.  You can see Parker sat nearby with the toys in his lap.  As soon as Bennett was done, he hopped down off my lap and went to Parker.  Parker's immediate response to Bennett just having been poked with a needle and had his vein sucked dry? "You want to play with Wolverine, Bennett?"

After Bennett's X-ray and bloodwork, we headed upstairs to the CF Clinic.  The boys played in the lobby and watched cartoons for a few minutes.

Then, the nurse took us back to get Bennett's vitals.  Bennett had grown two pounds since his last visit....

...and he had grown an inch.

The nurse took Bennett's blood pressure and measured the oxygen in his blood through an oximeter.

Parker, unimpressed with what was going on, waited patiently for Bennett to be available to continue talking about superheros.

Once we got in the room, the boys wanted more snacks and to really pull out their toys and play.

It didn't take long for a new friend walked in the room.  Dr. A, the resident doctor, came in and checked Bennett's ears, nose, lungs and belly.

Dr. A was amazingly patient and playful.

She made sure not to leave Parker out.  She asked if Parker wanted her to see in his ears too, which he did.

This has got to be my very favorite shot of the day.  This is when Dr. A asked Bennett to lay down so she could check his belly.  Bennett did lay down but seemed a little nervous.  At this point, without prompting, Parker just reached out and put his sweet little hand on the top of Bennett's head - a  clear way to say, "don't worry, friend, I am here."  The boys aren't aware yet what each of them is going through with the other.  But Bennett has been with Parker through the loss of his father.  And Parker is being there for Bennett through his own battle with Cystic Fibrosis.  This moment articulated the love that Dana and I can see so evidently between our boys when they are with each other.

The CF Clinic takes a few hours because we see many specialists.  Bennett gets a throat culture, given by the respiratory therapist.  We usually visit briefly with the clinical psychologist and may talk with the nutritionist or social worker. But our last visitor of the day was Dr. C, Bennett's CF doctor, who came for a check.

Dr. C asked Bennett to breath in and out.  Bennett, being silly with Parker, dramatically breathes in in this picture. :)

We got the "all clear" from our appointment with Dr. C and we were allowed to leave!

Before we took the long trip home, I stopped by a Seven-Eleven gas station to grab the boys a snack to eat in the car.  They each chose jelly beans and a Slurpie. Parker specifically asked for a green straw for his slurpie "for my Daddy" (Green was his Daddy's favorite color). :)

Realizing this was a sweet moment, I asked the boys if I could take a picture to send to Parker's mama.  Parker asked, "ok, and send it to my Daddy!"  Not sure what to say, I instinctively replied, "ok, I will!"  Then, Parker said, "really? how?"  I said, "I think your Daddy is watching you all the time, so I am almost certain he will see it."

Parker, your Daddy would be mighty proud of the little man you are becoming.   Your mama is doing an amazing job, even in his absence.  Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to Bennett.

::Parker's mama, Dana, continues to share her journey at her new website:

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