We are still at Brent’s Place. This was the plan all along, to stay here for a week, as Chloe is needing some follow up outpatient care (which was totally expected). The oncology clinic in Durango will be picking up some of this care as we continue forward from here.
It turns out that Brent’s place is a much more immersive experience when you have your child(ren) here. We have gotten to have a lot more interaction with the staff and other families here since Chloe has been out of hospital. She loves to go downstairs and make her “rounds” visiting with the staff. Also there are outings and scheduled meals and activities that are much more fun, and more pertinent, when you have your child with you (I don’t see myself going to arts and crafts night by myself!) On Tuesday afternoon, we stumbled upon the staff setting up for gametime (which is Bingo). Chloe helped set up the elaborate prize displays and she also called out the numbers during the game (The game continues until every child wins).
I’m glad we are getting some time to participate in normal Brent’s Place life. Also a part of this normal life is not constantly having to talk about my child’s health or condition. It occurred to me recently that I don’t even know some of the children’s diagnoses (nor had I even wondered about them). We just all accept each other’s presence here, and we are living our lives. It’s uplifting to be among families whose children are very sick, yet the emphasis is on life and living, not on sickness and disease. Brent’s Place feeds and encourages life. That emphasis on life is part of the healing we all receive by being here.
Chloe and I spent a few sweet days together earlier this week, and I savored some special moments as we experienced a reintroduction to the world outside of hospital. We spent a long day (five hours!) at the Denver Zoo. I was surprised by her stamina, for someone in her condition. I let her pick what she wanted to do, and I fully enjoyed following her initiative.
The next day we spent a whirlwind morning at the hospital’s outpatient oncology clinic. Chloe had a scheduled appointment, but she also had some goodbyes to say to some of her favorite people in her unit, who weren’t there on Monday when she was discharged. Then we hurried back to Brent’s to catch a van ride to the Denver Art Museum, to be a part of a scheduled Brent’s Place outing. We had a nice time seeing some of downtown, and the museum was something different and enriching for us. Chloe enjoyed the art and the hands-on areas of the museum.
Craig and Jordan arrived Thursday evening. Since then, we have had some fun family adventures! We went to the butterfly pavilion, where Jordan got to hold Rosie the famous tarantula. He had not been there before, but knew about the tarantula and that was the first thing he did once we entered. Then we all received rockin’, life enhancing adjustments in Boulder by one of our favorite chiropractors, and also we got to dine for lunch on the patio in perfect weather at a famous local eatery called Snooze. The highlight of our week was attending a Rockies game yesterday. We had good seats, and the Rockies played really well, scoring 4 runs in the first inning and hitting 3 home runs throughout the game. The kids hung in there like troopers. They missed a lot of the details of the action but they were caught up in the excitement of the crowd and the whole event. Craig and I did our best to explain the game to them as it was happening. They were enthralled, and they talked me into buying them Rockies t-shirts. We stayed until the end, and the Rockies beat the Marlins 10-5.
Craig is heading back to Durango today. Chloe has one more clinic appointment tomorrow morning, and then hopefully the three of us will be returning to Durango after that. We will have to give up our apartment here, but will get to stay in one of their guest suites on subsequent visits, in the months and years to come. Brent’s Place makes the long journey through this diagnosis doable, and not only doable, but fun, relaxing, and rewarding. This has become our home away from home, and I’m happy to call it our home base in Denver.
Coming together as a family again is not without it’s challenges. Things will be a little easier i n time, and also once we are on our home turf. In the meantime, just listening to my children’s happy banter, and taking in the fullness of being together is enough. We are happy!
Steph and Family