Tuesday, June 23, 2009

she's a survivor

a few weeks back we went to a 'celebration of life.' this is the annual get-together sponsored by the oncology department at children's hospital for patients, current and past, and their families.

this year was the first year we have been available to attend. i wish we had gone before because it was a blast! it was held at a giant amusement center. they have batting, arcades, go karts, boats, etc. we had so much fun and we didn't even get to stay for the whole day.

being anal good little techies, we looked them up online beforehand to get an idea of what we wanted to do. pooka had some activities on her must-do list, as did i. we told pooka before we went that she if she wanted to do her things, she was going to have to try some others, as well. if you know pooka, you know she crabbed about it.

when we actually got there, though, she was surprisingly willing to try our must-dos. one was a hit, the other was, well, also a hit, but not in a good way.

the first activity was rockwall climbing. kisu suggested that we race up the wall, but that just wouldn't have been fair. (besides, i had to pee something awful and i knew the harness would destroy any shred of bladder control i might have after birthing two children.) so i just watched and took pics of her efforts. while waiting in line, i made sure to point out how gently the other people were descending. that eased some of her fears.

she was very nearly eager when the aide put her harness on (which is way more than i can say for the aide himself. a more bored young man i have rarely seen.) she even chose a route that was not the easiest. she really tackled the wall with gusto, but after the first 3 moves stopped and fell off. she looked like she wanted down, but we said no. she reset herself and climbed more. she was only a body length from the top when she quit for good, claiming that her hands hurt.having overcome her first obligation, she dragged me to the bumper boats where she proceeded to soak me.after that refreshing adventure, we hurried to stand in line for the go-karts. this place is so big, they actually had 3 different courses for different ages and experience levels. we had to wait through 4 rotations, but she benefited by being the first in line in her group. that meant she got her choice of car:

all the rest were black. she had a great time, even if we did have to yell at her to speed up or not hit the wall. she claims she was going as fast as she could, but she's not the speed demon type. when bug gets in one of those things, lookout.

while everyone else was waiting for the go karts, i ran off to swing for the fences of the batting cages. there were no real lines there and i'm not sure if it was because it was a less attractive activity or because you had to walk towards the back of the facility. i was able to hit 10 pitches and get back to the track in time for pooka's drive. but our time was running short, since we had plans to go out for kisu's birthday dinner. pooka wanted to do water wars, but i insisted that she attempt the batting cages. we headed over and again she surprised us by actually stepping up without whining. we had to wait for 1 person ahead of us and i used the break to show her where to stand to be able to hit the ball. ahh, here she failed herself. when she entered the cage, she stood precisely over the plate. frankly, i'm shocked it took as many as 3 pitches for her to get hit. she connected twice but the third took her squarely on the knuckles. she was officially done.

the only drawback to the day from my perspective (since i didn't get cracked on the hand by a pitch) was the lack of activities for bug. it was so crowded and we were so focused on pooka and photographing her actions that we didn't want to let bug out of the stroller. the poor thing spent the whole day sweltering in her prison. but she did get a chocolate chip cookie.

all in all, an awesome day celebrating an awesome group of people: survivors and their caretakers. we're hoping they hold next year's celebration there, too. we'll be there. and so will she: