It was a rainy Monday in Philadelphia and I waited all day for the call from the hospital, which came late, and we didn’t get to my room until 7pm. Because it takes several hours to prepare the drugs once I am checked in, Jacqui, Sophia, Bill and I were able to go out for a few hours to a nice dinner. I ate some sushi in anticipation of the neutropenic diet that will begin over the weekend and last into next week.
Several things struck me at dinner: the first, that even though I knew what was coming later that night, I was able to put it aside, relax, and enjoy the company and food, that is, until the hospital wrist band popped out from under my sweatshirt to remind me what was about to begin; and second, that when eating dinner in a restaurant full of stodgy, awkward academics, nobody cares about a baby. One of the most incredible things these last (almost) six weeks is how Sophia attracts (generally positive) attention wherever she goes. The attention isn’t always wanted. It is amazing how people are so quick to say inappropriate things or offer unwanted and obnoxious advice. And it isn’t as if I want Sophia to constantly be poked at and talked about. I don’t. But last night was narcissism night in West Philly and there was barely a peep out of a soul as they smugly chomped on their Asian fusion. Heartless academics.
The one person in the restaurant who was excited about the baby was the estrogened-half of a youngish couple sitting at the table behind us. They actually looked completely out of place even for a relatively trendy Philly restaurant, instead looking like they belonged at a skanky club on South Beach–he with a bad tan and goofy shirt, and she wearing a potato-sacky looking dress that barely made it down past her butt cheeks. And I mean barely. Concerned for her well being, Bill even offered her his pants, but she politely rejected him, noting that he had a size 36 waist, and she was at best a 0. The no pants thing kept us laughing all night, but as we walked out, she reminded me that some humans do actually have hearts (even if they don’t wear pants), and we stopped at their table for a second so she could gush over the baby. What shocked me was her boyfriend’s reaction. Dude, if you are out with a girl who is not wearing pants and who’s foot is under the table rubbing your nuts all night, try not to scowl at us for stopping at your table for a second so your girlfriend can look at our baby. Definitely not the way to keep her doing the Paris Hilton-esque thing at dinner with you, if that is what you are into, of course.
I have decidedly mixed feelings about these next four rounds. On the one hand I am the first guy who my nurse practitioner has seen excited to be admitted to the hospital for chemo to both begin this final stage of delymphomatization and get a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, my place is at home with Jacqui and Sophia, and it breaks my heart even to be away from them for a few nights. Jacqui and I have been so lucky to be at home with Sophia these last six weeks. It has been an extraordinary time and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing in this world. I’ve even begun playing the lottery, going to Atlantic City to play craps, betting on football, etc., in the hope of hitting it big so I never have to work another day and can just hang with my baby and wife.