Ahhhh. San Francisco!!! How de hell am I going to navigate this hulking beast of a truck across San Fran with a trailer on top of it? Crazy drivers (Cali drivers… sheesh!) are an issue. They are bad. Narrow roads are an issue. So are the hills and construction etc etc.. Trying to find the UCSF medical center while trying to go up and down hills was an experience not easily forgotten.
But we made it. We also parked right on the main road. That was a bit of a joke really. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Oh, and back and forth. You see, trailers are weird. They just don’t like to go the way you’d like them to go. I can write an entire book on how I fail at backing up the truck with a trailer. But that would only be pathetic at best.
In anycase, we parked the car by UCSF and took Maya to the children’s clinic. Let the beauracratic night mare begin. First, sit and wait. Then, called up to the info desk and be asked a bunch of questions. So far so good. Alright, then, off the finance building. Cross the road down a bit, take a left. etc etc. Finally find the finance department and wait. You then have some finance type tell you that they can’t process you because are a “full pay”. Therefore, I must head back to the clinic etc etc. And this is while the clock on the parking meter is ticking and Maya is gettig impatient. Then, there is a discussion amongst the staff and only after a half hearted jesture of complaint, we were pushed through. Up you go to the poke room upstaires. OK. Oh… We don’t do pokes. Maya has a central line. Could we please use that? Sorry, we don’t do that. We’re not allow to access the port. Oh… ok. I guess, I’ll have to ask the nurse for that. Yup!. Down to the clinic again. Blah blah blah… “Oh… OK. Please take a seat in this other waiting room”. Well you get the picture. At the end of the day, the good news was that Maya’s platelet did not degrade that much. Woo hoo! That was a load off our mind. Although there is that nagging feeling, it was easy to ignore.
So, for the day we decided to go to Monterey Aquarium. At the aquarium, the RV parking was $40. Um…. no thank you. I’ll walk a few blocks. And we did. It was horrible. The temperature was only in the 70’s. and there were wild animals, sea lions lounging on the beach etc. 🙂 The aquarium was marvelous. And I felt that it was well worth the effort to see it. When asked Maya a while later what she remember the most, I think the aquarium was one of the tops. So, that was also something for me. On the other had, I was a bit worried about Indira having left for work. I was imagining that Maya would whine for Indira. That was not so. Maya was a big girl and had a great time. No small amount of Kudos goes to Taylor. He really came to the rescue and became the ideal older brother and really took good care of Maya. I was a proud daddy.
It was a long but joyful day. We were together and we had a marvelous day. I don’t think I could have asked for a better day. After the aquarium, we were heading up north. But, we did make contact with Jonathan and he was in Oakland. OK. What do I know about Oakland? Just another city. Ummm… no. You don’t really want to be in Oakland we find out. Nothing bad happend to us. But, it’s one of those US cities that people talk about and for a good reason. Nope. Don’t want to go back there anytime soon.
The kicker came that night. A resident saw Maya’s file and called me. Hello? Yes, I am calling about Maya Kim. Oh… this is her father. How can I help you? Well, Maya has 25% blast in her peripheral blood and we’re wondering where Maya is, so we can scan for Leukemia….
Of course! Oh no… my heart sank. Blasts are immature white blood cells. Immature!!!! I should have connected the dots. But I hadn’t. And on top of that, around a day or so, Dr. Sholler called and asked to see her in Michigan for Aug 16th. Our dream of heading up to Anchorage was dashed with that call. But moreover, the sinking feeling caught up with us in a heart beat. Indira was already in Toronto by now. How can I tell Indira that we may be looking at a secondary cancer? At that moment, all I could do was keep the scream inside. I can’t tell Indira. She will freak. And we won’t know exactly what is going on until we head back to Michigan.
For me, those were the hard few days. The days were passed in a daze. Yes, we did stop along the Northern Cali and Oregon coast. Yes, we did stop at the redwood forest. But they were now obsticles between where we were and Grand Rapids Michigan. Even still, we had to head into Canada to drop off Mom and Jonathan in Vancouver.
To be honest, I don’t really know how we got to Vancouver. I do recall being iritated with all the traffic around Seattle. And I recall spending few hours at my sisters place in Vancouver, but that was just an over night, for we had a long way to drive still. We arived at my sisters place on Aug 11, late afternoon. We spend a few hours with her and next morning, around noon headed back to Michigan. It was to be a long long drive with nothing to do, but disect the potential outcome that was ahead of us. What is ahead? Is this the final days for Maya? How shall we survive all this? Should I be grateful for this month? Did we really time it so well? How will Indira react to this? How will Taylor take the news? How will I deal with this impending news? These were the heavy questions that crawled along with me each kilometer of the way back. Long and heavy was our journey back home.