Night Owl

After such a scary day yesterday, fully expecting Tanner to wake up so sick this morning, I was pleasantly suprised to find that she was not nearly as sick today as she was yesterday.  She still felt crummy — none of the stomach medicine seems to be helping the abdominal cramps and she is constantly dizzy and short of breath, probably due to the drop in her red blood cell count — but she was definitely more spunky than I expected.  She had some really good moments.

More puzzling, however, was how she was last night.  Awake much of the night, she was good natured, talkative and sometimes even giggly.  John and I have talked to the doctors about how much better she seems in the middle of the night and they don’t really have any explanation for it.  I did read that a side effect of the steroids is hypersensitivity to light, sound and motion, so perhaps the dark, quiet of the night is soothing.  For whatever reason, though, if you want to see the old Tanner, stop by at 3 a.m.  We’ll be awake, chatting about any number of things.

Most often, she talks about food at night (another one of the side effects listed for steroids is food obsession).  She’ll wake up talking about how John promised her a McGriddle and those “big tater tots” (aka hashbrowns) the next morning.  Or asking why, for the 100th time, she is not allowed to eat cheese popcorn (because the kernels can cause scratches in the intestines, which if you have a low platelet count, can cause internal bleeding).  She will often ask for food, and after I explain how I’m not cooking in the middle of the night, will settle for cheese nips or pretzel sticks.  Tonight, she actually ordered up her nighttime food before she fell asleep (cheetohs) and warned us not to eat them all while she was sleeping.  Anyway, these conversations are usually very funny (unless it’s the 6th time she’s woken you out of sleep to talk that night) and remind us our child has a huge, bubbly personality that is contagious.

Other nights, the questions are deeper.  This is when you find out what Tanner is really thinking about when she lays awake at night.  The other night, she asked me, “Mom, will I have still have cancer when I’m in the first grade?”  I try to be honest, but gentle in my responses, not telling her more than she needs to know, but not lying either.   Most often, the questions are about losing her hair, which so far is as thick and beautiful as ever.  “Mom, do you think there is hair on my pillow right now?”  “When will my hair fall out?”  “Will my hair grow back in time for school to start?” 

She told me today that it is embarrassing to have leukemia because people know your hair will fall out.  I almost wish hers would go ahead and come out so we could just get this part over with.  How do you explain to a five-year-old that losing her hair will not change who she is, or make people love her any less?  I think the anticipation will be so much worse than the event itself.  Of course, it’s not me losing my hair, so what do I know?

Anyway, her nighttime antics, although amusing at times, can also be exhausting.  After she realized I would not talk with her anymore last night at around 4 am, she actually started talking to the dog.  That’s where my patience ended.  This morning she told John, “Mom yelled at me last night.”  Busted.  She prefers it when John sleeps up there because apparently he’s more chatty at 2 am than I am. 

I didn’t let her sleep as much during the day today in hopes that she would sleep better tonight.  I think I would miss the “night owl” Tanner, though if she disappeared entirely., though.  It’s like turning back the clock before all this happened and hanging with my silly, sassy girl.


3 thoughts on “Night Owl

  1. tell tanner to call me the next time she wants to talk to someone at 3 am. If she needs a night time food buddy give me a call. I can eat anytime and having a meal with tanner at dark-thirty sounds good to me! HA

  2. hey, i’ll sign up for that too! i’ll even bring stuff to eat! you know, if she’s gonna be up anyway, i’d love to hang out with “night owl” tanner! just speed dial me into the phone for her!

  3. I know that in the midst of the most heinous of circumstances, when one you love dearly is deathly ill, to find oneself amused…even laughing…almost seems, I don’t know, irreverent?? But when I read your post about the night owl, I was reminded of the weeks my daddy spent in Nashville over the winter being treated for throat cancer at Vanderbilt. I spent many nights with him and my mother, and some of the funniest moments occurred in the middle of the night. Luckily, my dad has kept a journal (even when he was on stronger-than-morphine iv pain meds and his writing was complete jibberish), so we can revisit those times. Go ahead and laugh, because it is greatly therapeutic to do so! Beth, John, Tanner, and Jake–you continue to be in my prayers, and in those of many who love you from Murray.

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