It is Christmas morning, on Thursday, at 4:30 AM. I am frantically preparing potatoes o'gratin, my assigned dish, for a holiday potluck brunch at work. After welcoming two babies earthside, I returned home at 9PM the night before. Woke up at 3:30 AM, must leave by 5:30 AM because I am picking up a fellow nurse - the shuttle does not run on holidays.
Scott is sitting in the corner of the kitchen, feeding baby Antonina freshly pumped breastmilk since I am busy cooking. His voice is a little raspy and his hands are clumsy because he is on day 2 of Folfox cycle #6.
He cannot easily get anything from the refrigerator due to cold sensitivity, so I microwave juice for him. On the whole, he is
tolerating treatments well; these side effects are minor and self-limiting.
Baby Antonina leans on Scott's arm, swaddled like a zucchini. She happily slurps on the bottle that Scott holds with his other arm. Since he does not have a third arm, he places his 5-fluorouracil pump on top of her. 5-FU is given as a 46 hour infusion, so he brings the pump home for a round-the-clock dosing at 2 cc/hr. It's a closed system and is safe to touch.
For a second, I stop in my tracks. It's 4AM on Xmas, there is a father nurturing an infant, and father's chemotherapy pump rests on top of the baby. The baby catches my eye and smiles, without releasing the nipple of the bottle. I realize that I cannot un-see it. It is the symbol of the year.
Potatoes turned out great.