Father and son at the start of the cancer journey, on the way to chemo.
It was one of those mornings where expectations of an normal chemo treatment were obliterated – everything that could go wrong, was going from bad to worse! We had arrived on time for four-year-old Andrew’s chemotherapy, but the nurse hadn’t.
When she finally arrived, the doctor wasn’t there yet, neither was the medicine. When the medicine arrived, the doctor still hadn’t and the nurse couldn’t give the medication without written doctor orders, even though it was standard procedure.
Finally the doctor arrived and checked Andrew out. Everything was fine. Phew. She suggested we start the Vincristine drip, which would take a little while, because, wonder of wonders; the Operating Room wasn’t ready for his Lumbar Puncture procedure yet.
The nurse hooked Andrew up for the treatment and was just ready to start when the OR called and, well, they were now ready. The nurse unhooked Andrew and we wheeled him down to the OR holding area.
Can you believe it? The anesthesiologist wasn’t ready.
Five year old Andrew didn’t care about any of this. I mean, after all, he had the attention of mommy, the oncologist, the Peds nurse, the OR nurse and the OR assistant. He chattered happily to any one who might be listening and followed his normal procedure of happily climbing onto the gurney and lying there while they readied the oxygen, the electric probes, the pulse/ox indicator, gloves, swabs and who knows what else. He demanded a pillow (the OR nurse apologized, after all, it’s in his chart that he wants a pillow) and got it. Still the anesthesiologist wasn’t ready.
Andrew chattered on about the need to go to Dairy Queen for breakfast (he did not get that idea from me) and declared it to be way better than Taco Bell and decided maybe we would have time for the library. He proceeded to quickly announce anything else that popped into his little head – it was how he handled his nervousness.
Still we were waiting.
The nurse checked the flush syringe that was hooked up to the port in Andrew’s chest. It was waiting for the anesthesiologist. Suddenly Andrew noticed the syringe. His eyes got big and he reached down and grabbed hold of the syringe.
Let me pause for a moment
and explain to you the normal procedure that we’d gone through countless times in the last year and a half. Usually, Andrew hops on the table, the oxygen mask is placed near, the anesthesiologist introduces himself, assures himself of who Andrew is, and injects the propothol (the anesthesia), into Andrew’s port. Andrew has the same reaction every time the anesthesia hits. He frowns, starts to tell me it smells funny (I know that because he used to get the sentence out, but now that they know his dosage, he never completes the thought). Then his eyes get really big, he half yawns, half yells mommy, his eyes roll back in his head and in the middle of the yawn, he collapses onto the pillow and he’s out for the however long they keep him under!
On this day, suddenly Andrew determined in his little mind that the syringe on his chest must be the anesthesia and we just didn’t tell him. His eyes got huge, he yelled, “Mommy! Is this the sleepy medicine?” Then, believe it or not, he half yawned and his eyes began to roll back into his head.
I quickly explained, “No Andrew, it’s not sleepy medicine, it’s just a flush.”
Instantly his eyes replaced themselves, he lifted his head off the pillow and finished the story he had been telling without hardly missing a beat.
Expectations! Who knew? I have never before seen such a physical manifestation of a mental expectation.
I really wondered what Andrew would have done had I not assured him of it only being saline! Would he have gone to sleep? How funny. Maybe after all this time, they don’t even need the anesthesia!
I have heard the phrase that if you expect people to treat you well, they will. If you expect to succeed you will. On the other hand if you expect to be carsick, you better take a container and if you expect to be treated as an outcast, you will most likely be very, very lonely.
What do I expect for myself?
Do I expect to follow the Lord? Can I expect to be happy? Do I expect to live a full life of rewards and loving relationships? Can I remember that a loving Father will be with me in everything that happens to me, even cancer?
Our expectations for ourselves and for our God can make a huge difference in how we approach life.
What are your expectations today?
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