A Little of This and That in August

Sep 8, 2019


Even though our life seems like it has been overtaken by all things medical, we still managed to do some regular things in August, and these things must be documented. We spent the month . . .

Reading . . . in the mornings. Maxwell's summer ritual consisted of waking up around 7:00am but then staying in bed for up to two hours, just reading. It was a pretty sweet setup for him, and he burned his way through dozens of books (most of them in the Warriors series). It was a hard habit to give up when school started.

Packing . . . in the fun. After Aaron came home from the hospital, we tried to pack in as much fun as possible. Since he was on strict activity restrictions, we were somewhat limited in what we could do, but we still managed to find plenty. We tried out an escape room (Mike and I had done one before, but the boys never had). We managed to escape but only after a lot of hints from the facilitator. We counted this for our second summer goals prize. Then, as a belated birthday activity, Mike took Aaron and Max and a bunch of cousins to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center to go on a group mission on the USS Odyssey. They had so much fun, and Mike said he was really impressed with the facility. They're already making plans to go again. Add in a movie and dinner with my parents, ice cream with Mike's mom, and two more reunions (see below), and it was a pretty fun month.


Taking . . . Maxwell, Bradley, Clark, and Ian to the hospital for blood tests to see if any of them were a bone marrow match for Aaron. And then, a couple of weeks later, we got the results back!

Getting . . . family pictures taken. Soon after Aaron's diagnosis, we asked Mike's sister, Kari, to take our family photos. Not knowing what the coming weeks and months would bring, we wanted to have some nice photos of our family right now. I also wanted Aaron to be able to have a picture with each of his siblings. Our photo session was cut short by a rainstorm, but we still got some great ones that I'll treasure.


Discovering . . . a love of cucumbers. We've had a great cucumber crop from our one little cucumber plant in our garden, and Ian has been gobbling them up as fast as we cut them up for him. He loves them. He will even eat a whole cucumber for breakfast in the morning, which doesn't sound very appetizing to me, but I guess it hits the spot for him.

Spending . . . four days at the Nielsen family reunion--that's my side of the family. We rented a big house nearby that fit all twenty-two of us, and we had a great time playing games, having an art lesson, discussing Where the Wind Leads, eating, swimming, talking, going to the temple, hiking, and relaxing. Aside from an unexpected trip to the hospital, it all went very well.


Being . . . the recipients of lots of generosity. From a surprise neighborhood heart attack to a generous gift of an iPad to random gifts left on our doorstep to countless messages/emails/texts/calls to food drops to hugs to a million prayers, we have felt so loved. Two of Aaron's friends from school even held a bake sale and then used the money to buy Aaron a bunch of games for the hospital. I thought it was the sweetest thing.


Starting . . . school. I wanted summer to stretch on and on forever, but after Aaron's diagnosis, I was ready for school to start--both because I wanted Aaron to be able to get in a few days before his transplant and also because the other kids needed something to do and someplace to be while we were spending so much time at the hospital. All of the boys were excited but probably Clark most of all. The first day of kindergarten is not to be taken lightly.


Missing . . . the first two days of junior high. As it turned out, Aaron missed the first two days of school because of a fever that landed him in the hospital. We were all so devastated until we realized that the only thing he really missed was reading disclosures. Then he felt kind of lucky.


Going . . . to the last day of school. And then, eight days later, Aaron went to his last day of sixth grade. We didn't know it was going to work out that way. Sometimes I wonder if we should have had him even go at all. But he actually loved it (especially band), and I'm glad he'll get to start seventh grade next year without feeling like a total junior high newbie.

Getting . . . some teacher love. Aaron's 5th grade teacher from last year organized a little party for Aaron with all of his teachers from his elementary school years. As we walked into the classroom, and these amazing women enveloped him in hugs, I just felt so overwhelmed by all that they've done for Aaron over the years. Each one knew him at a different age, and it was as if I was watching his life march before my eyes to see him with all of them. They gave him a big Harry Potter Lego set, which he should have saved for the hospital, but it was much too tempting to let it sit in a box for three weeks, and he ended up putting the whole thing together that day! This little party also gave me an opportunity to get a photo I've wanted for years. These women have my whole heart.


Researching . . . aplastic anemia. I read several articles in medical journals, talked to three different aplastic anemia families, asked questions, watched videos, and read stories. It's like I've taken a crash course and learned a whole new language.

Bidding . . . our pool a fond farewell for another year. Our swimming definitely waned during the month of August, but we managed to sneak in a couple more times before the season ended.



Checking . . . off the fourth (and final) family reunion of the summer. We spent Labor Day weekend with Mike's whole family at a big cabin in Hobble Creek Canyon. It has been five years since we've been able to have the reunion at this cabin because Mike's parents were in Germany, and it was just as magical as my kids remembered. They spent the entire time running around with cousins, and it was pretty much the best time ever. (It also ended with an unplanned trip to the hospital due to very low platelets, so maybe it's best that all of the family reunions are over.)


Relishing . . . normal days. There were days where I could almost forget there was anything out of the ordinary going on in our lives. Mike went to work, the boys did chores and went to school, Ian ran around making mischief, I kept the laundry moving from the washer to the dryer, and we ended the day reading Harry Potter. Exactly as a day in August should be.

And now that September is here, I'm so glad we had those totally normal days because I have a feeling that this month is going to be anything but!

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