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So it's done, it was easy, Jay came through with just a couple of tears to remind us that he's not Superboy (although he actually is.) That's the headline.

What was more interesting was returning to Children's Memorial as a patient.

We have a very complicated set of feelings towards Children's Memorial. On the one hand, we have many friends there. Every time we go, we see so many people who took care of Donna with us, and this time was no exception. We were greeted everywhere, chatted with a few, and got lots of  "don't I know you" looks from doctors, nurses and staff... even the valet parking guy knows us, at least by face.

On the other hand... it was all about cancer. This time was not about cancer, for us it was a cakewalk... but I couldn't help feeling that it was all around us. Kids were undergoing tough procedures, and some kids were probably going to die. You look extra hard at every parent, I think, knowing that some are in the soup like we were. There is so much fear there, and we feel it.

Look. Once the anesthesiologist picked up Jay for the procedure (literally picked him up and carried him in) we had this much time in the surgical waiting room: walk over, put down bags, zip to the cafeteria, buy a coffee and two muffins, look two places before finding the cream, zip back to the second floor, put in the cream, unwrap the muffin, take a bite... and they're calling, "Jay?" So we had no time at all. The coffee was still hot.

And yet, I know both of us were scanning the room for who was there for a heavy duty surgery, who was there for something quick, who were regulars... we were looking for the emotional lay of the land. Did I mention we overpacked? We brought probably ten books, iPad with a whole season of Diego freshly downloaded, bag of toys, four different stuffed animals, blanket, and us. We had two sandwich bags packed tight with crackers, dried cherries, and sippy cups to fill. I took the whole day off of work, and brought a thick new library book. And looking around we were trying to figure out who understood why we would do that. We were readying ourselves to settle in for as long as was needed: stocking up, identifying allies.

Children's Memorial is a place we take very, very seriously. We are trained to be ready for anything.

Well, it was pretty much nothing. Jay had full anesthesia, but just a light puff, and he was awake twenty minutes after we saw him walk out. He was crying, as we had been warned, "blood-tinged tears", but settled down with food, juice and Mama's lap. The tears went on a bit longer, but he seemed to know he was now safe... he was just telling us how he felt, poor kid. A brief chat with the doctor settled the post-op instructions. An hour's wait to make sure there were no lingering effects from the gas, and we were out the door. No going home to wait for the results of an MRI. No rushing off to another appointment. No fear.

Strange.

Anyhow, we were home four hours after we walked out the door. Sheila read Jay two new books and collapsed into a deep nap, where she rests still. I gave the boy lunch, and put him down, and thought I should write something.

Donna is still present at that hospital. Not all the nurses who worked with us and recognized us even knew that she died. Every corner holds a memory or fifty. It's not bad. It's unsettling and certainly sad in places, but it's not bad. It's nice to be around her again. I miss her.

--Donna's Daddy

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