*please note that pseudonyms are used for anyone other than immediate family*

A pre-op assessment is required before Mathew’s scheduled biopsy on 7 August. This occurred yesterday (Friday 2 August) in the Pre-op Assessment Clinic at the hospital. It just so happened that Nurse D who did Mathew’s intake is the same nurse who assisted my dental surgeon during my 5 teeth extractions over the last 2 years. A family reunion of sorts – already!

Mathew is officially 5’11-1/2’ tall and is a big boy. The height was a little surprising, I figured he was about 5’10”. That wasn’t the only surprise unfortunately. We didn’t know about the bloodwork required after finishing the huge pile of paperwork. Mathew didn’t want any part of that so I popped an Ativan under his tongue and he relaxed after a few minutes. He chatted up a storm and amused Nurse D as she finished filling in the forms and prepared to draw the blood work.

Mathew was shocked he didn’t have the big, comfy chair this time and mulled over that while the nurse expertly drew 3 vials of blood from him. Wow ~ Mathew was so excited over the fast and almost painless procedure that he loudly proclaimed she was the BEST nurse at jabbing needles in the arm and everyone should know that (trust me, they did)!

Next up we met Dr. Pleasant, the anesthesiologist on duty for the day. He charmed the pants off us; youngish, cheerful and energetic. His comical manner made us laugh when he told Mathew he can’t be gassed to sleep. He explained that the anesthesiologist’s job is to keep Mathew asleep during the whole procedure. The Surgeon and Radiologist will use a CT scanner to guide the biopsy needle to the exact, desired location for a piece of tumour extraction. Often an initial and quick pathology consultation is carried out immediately so further procedures can follow right then if they are deemed necessary. The surgeon had mentioned to us that he may want a fully body CT scan and further blood tests done after the biopsy. I understand, right now, that these would follow the biopsy if the surgeon feels they are warranted.

Mathew may experience a puffy face during recovery because he will be rolled over onto his stomach for the procedure. The biopsy needle has to be inserted through his back. We were warned his eyes might be hard to open and his lips could puff up. This will be short-lived if it happens but Dr. Pleasant didn’t want Mathew to panic if he can’t open his eyes right away.

The biopsy itself should only take about ½ hour and the recovery another hour. Mathew is scheduled to stay overnight right now in case other procedures are ordered. Otherwise he should be able to come home Wednesday night. That kid (the devil) is already negotiating a “recovery gift”….!

Did I mention the hospital is very, very infection-conscious? First there was the questionnaire we had to fill out detailing any hospitalizations over the last 3 months either locally or somewhere else. Then he has to shower Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning before going to the hospital. It is good to see every precaution being taken to minimize the risk of infection.

Following the anesthesiologist’s visit Mathew had a quick ECG done make sure his heart doesn’t have any electrical problems.

Wednesday will be an early day (if we sleep at all). Mathew has to shower before he shows up at the hospital for his appointed time of 7:15 am. He can’t eat or drink, aside from a sip of water to take his morning medication. But yes ~ he can have an Ativan on the way there!

With the ECG done we were free to go.

Not a moment too soon as Mathew had plans for the afternoon. He and his friends were raring to go to the second annual Harbour ConFusion here in Saint John. This is our city’s version of a comicon or anime convention. Mathew attended the first annual convention last year with his friends and had a blast. They eagerly anticipated this year’s convention for months.  Fortunately we made it for the opening ceremonies.

Mathew debuted his new walker at the convention and put those wheels to good use. The walker took some of the pressure of his spine and legs while the seat gave him instant relief when he needed it.

Mathew and his Buddy at Harbour Confusion

Mathew and his Buddy at Harbour Confusion

Yes, Mathew is showing off a goofy face.

This extended his staying power by several hours – in fact, until 8 pm! His goal was to stay for the panel showcasing a local actor, Robert Maillet, whose talents have taken him to Hollywood and roles in big name movies such as “300”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Pacific Rim” and Mathew’s favourite, “Monster Brawl”. Until that panel Matt and his buddies cruised the halls, purchased coveted items and even had their faces painted (well Mathew and one friend did).

Who is he? Spiderman?

Who is he? Spiderman?

Maybe...

Maybe…

Maybe not...

Maybe not…

No - He's Deadpool!

No – He’s Deadpool!

Mathew and his Friends

Mathew and his Friends

Mathew and friends shop at Harbour Confusion

Mathew and friends shop at Harbour Confusion

Mathew outlasted me! At 5 pm I was officially done and caught a ride home with Kristen when she finished work. I fed the animals then sank into a blissful nap while Mathew partied on, with John at his side (he has the best sidekicks a guy could ask for!). Shortly after they returned for the night family dropped in for a visit. An impromptu party followed compliments of the oversized gift of Crown Royale (whisky) some of his siblings brought John. The gathering broke up around midnight and then everyone settled down to sleep.

We were up and back at it bright and early this morning. Mathew wanted to attend the “Jeopardy” game scheduled at the convention for 10 am. Too early! John took no pity on the weak and kicked me out of bed before waking Mathew up.

We made it back for 10 am. After “Jeopardy” we also sat in the panel “How to Draw Chippis”. For anyone not in know, like me, Chippis are any character redrawn to cute childlike figure with a big head and eyes. Then there was cruising the halls again and a visit to a game trailer. Someone had the genius idea of installing 20 Xbox gaming stations in a portable trailer, complete with a sound system and a disco ball to bring on hearing loss as well as seizures. Mathew and John enjoyed playing some game in there while I thankfully sat on Mathew’s rolling chair in the cool and foggy outdoors. A quick cafeteria trip for hot dogs and hamburgers satisfied lunch cravings before heading off to the costume contest.

The Portable Gaming Trailer

The Portable Gaming Trailer

Mathew and friend play an Xbox game

Mathew and friend play an Xbox game

John and Mathew gaming in the portable gaming trailer

John and Mathew gaming in the portable gaming trailer

The imagination and work that goes in to some of those costumes is incredible. These people are committed to their hobby and love performing and showing off their hard work. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremonies tomorrow night (and no, I don’t want to be there then!). It must be so difficult for those judges to pick among the best – I would have picked them all, down to the tiny, cute Spiderman who needed his mom’s help to brave the big stage.

After the costume contest I pleaded exhaustion.  Mathew complained of leg pain today even with his painkillers so we knew that yesterday took its toll on him. We returned home at 2 pm, intending to rest before going back for a pre-screening of a soon-to-be-released zombie movie of some sort. It was scheduled for 6 pm but we didn’t make it. Mathew’s pain just never subsided enough and coupled with my extreme fatigue, we were both happy to rest at home.

Have no fear ~ the convention isn’t over for us yet!

Tomorrow there is the auction to check out and one final panel. We don’t mind. Mathew happily rolls along and forgets his pain for a little while with the help of his mobile chair. Seeing him roam with his buddies and enjoy himself is reward enough for us. The transition to an aide was less painful than I thought it would be because it enabled him to do what he loves.

And that makes us happy.

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