It's Day +33 for Grace, and suddenly things are looking more positive. I have no official updates since Day +30, but yesterday our video call with Heather and Grace was missing something. Grace was in the playroom without that monstrous, well-festooned pole that had followed her everywhere! In its place she wore a backpack that holds the nutrition and medications that flow through her NG tube. She claims it's too heavy, but it gives her more freedom, and perhaps by now she's had a chance to get accustomed to it. It's another step towards being discharged from the hospital, which is suddenly looking to be something that might actually happen soon.

"Discharged," however, doesn't mean she gets to go home yet—and with good reason. But she'll get to be at the apartment with her family, only a few blocks from the hospital in case there's an urgent need, and where she can come into clinics three times a week. It's a big step!

I can't emphasize enough the benefit of Boston Children's liberal visitation policy for the mental health of not only Grace but of the rest of her family. Which made me think about how horrible it must have been to be in this situation during the covid lockdowns, and led me to a realization—which was not my own, but Heather's, though I've expanded on it.

It's no secret that we've all been frustrated by the fact that it took so long to get Grace a correct diagnosis, when the signs were clearly visible when she was much less than a year old. When Heather reported her suspicions, her concerns were dismissed and she was berated for doing her own internet research. For almost two years multiple doctors insisted that Grace's persistent intestinal problems were just food allergies that she would outgrow. But that was incredibly, dangerously, wrong—and she went in a week's time from "I'm still certain it's food allergies" to "Get this child to the emergency room NOW!" I think there's every reason to be angry about this—all the more so because we know other people to whom very similar scenarios have happened.

But what if Grace's leukemia had been discovered when it "should" have been? The covid lockdown and vaccination requirement days were an especially dark time for those in need of medical care. Nothing justifies having so badly missed an obvious diagnosis, but maybe, just maybe, this is the better time.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 9:09 pm | Edit
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