I promised an update to let everyone know how we finished the day yesterday. After a pretty bumpy start, we ended up in pretty good shape. Besides being tired and lightheaded, Garrett was dang happy to be breaking out. By the time we got back to the basement, he was worn pretty smooth. It took about two hours for the first adverse reactions from the infusions started to set in. When it did, it came in the form of deep bone pain in his legs and jaw. But God’s angels gathered around him and let him finally fall asleep. He had a restless night but overall slept pretty well.
When today rolled around, Garrett sprung up and was feeling surprisingly good. Against my better judgment, we took him to a PBR event. The Western Wishes Foundation had secured tickets for us, knowing how crazy Garrett is about rodeo and especially bull riding events. It didn't turn out to be one of the better decisions I've made.
We knew about the tickets well in advance of the event and had dangled that carrot in front of Garrett for a while. I didn’t have the heart to take that away from him after he’d fought so hard yesterday. The day was sunny and warm and the event was only 50 minutes away. The doctors gave us permission to go if he felt up to it. They’ve said to let Garrett’s body be his guide to how much he can handle. The problem is, I don’t think we can trust that anymore. I’m not sure he knows what it really feels like to “feel great”. His whole life has been full of pain and illness off and on.
While he had a great time and got to talk to some of the cowboys after the event, we just pushed it too hard. By the end of the three hour program Garrett wasn’t feeling too well, had a bad headache and before we got home I had to pull over so he could throw up. You can bet it spooked his momma and me. Jessi, too! She buried her head in her hands and prayed that he was ok. The bone pain came back, too and I had to carry him into the house when we got back. His legs and feet hurt too much to walk. Tonight it took pain killers a while to finally get him comfortable enough to fall asleep. Even as rough as he was feeling, he hugged me in bed as we said prayers and thanked me for taking him to the bull riding. He told me that he thinks these “fun times” help his heart heal faster. He says it feels so nice to “be out of the hospital”. He “feels free”. He said he’s just glad he didn’t get as sick as he did a time before from the infusions. Wow.
Daddys make mistakes. That’s one of those givens that comes with the job and I dang sure make my share of them. After all he’s been through I try to make sure he has plenty of fun experiences to break up the monotony. But I should have known better than to try and take him somewhere less than 24 hours after coming off the needle. But he wanted to go so badly I just couldn't take that away from him. How a little boy who is fighting like he does can find fun in a day where he got sick from the medicine in his body, is beyond me. His attitude truly inspires me.
Sunday is going to be a ‘day of rest’. I can promise you that much. I don’t think I could handle knowing I’d let him do something that put him back in the hospital because I didn’t have the sand in my craw to go with my gut and do what I should have done. But the good news is that he did have fun today and the joy he had being around the world he loves was more memorable to him than getting sick from doing too much, too soon. For me, though, I learned a lesson today I won’t soon forget.
One of the brightest spots of the day was getting to see Donnalyn Quintana, the incredible lady who founded Western Wishes. Garrett and all of us love her so much. This tremendous Christian lady has dedicated so much of herself to helping sick and injured cowboy kids forget about the pain, needles and sickness for a little while. Completely engulfed in the love of Jesus, Donnalyn “adopted” Garrett a few years ago and continues to reach out to him through her foundation to make sure the rodeo family never forgets the heart of a champion that beats in this little boy, and so many others like him. Among them are a little girl with stage 4 cancer, another little girl with stage 3 cancer and a 13 year old bullrider recovering from ruptured insides after a bull riding accident over a month ago. Please keep these kids and their families in your prayers.
May the blessings of the risen Lord guide you this week and shower you with many blessings, like He has for the Ross tribe.