April 22, 2005
Avalon's birthday in the hospital
Much to Mommy's dismay...Avalon turned 2, sitting in an
isolation room in Children's ER.  The poor resident had no
idea what to do with me when she merely asked how old Avalon
was...and I started sobbing.

I was even more depressed by the time we were ready to go
to our room.  Avalon had already been held down, accessed,
and scared...and her birthday was only 2 hours old.   I
decided to tell anyone who would listen that it was Avalon's
birthday.  I wanted her to get some kind of karmic credit for
being tormented on her big day...I'm grateful I did.

The emergency room team that came to move us to J-5, made a
huge fuss over Avalon.   They started singing "Happy
loudly) while we were leaving ER, and continued all
the way up to her room.   They tracked down her Heme-Onc
nurse, and made sure she knew it was Avalon's birthday too.  
As a final kindness, they returned a few minutes later...with
giant grins, the enormous teddy bear and butterfly balloons,
and a yellow chick basket filled with coloring books and
bubbles.  Avalon was thrilled!

A few minutes later, the true measure of their kindness
presented itself.  As I called Nick to give him our room
number, I realized that Avalon was laying in bed, singing
"Happy Birthday" to herself.  Avalon found a new song, and
Mommy found a gift she couldn't have imagined.  

Sometimes, angels really do wear scrubs....
More than most floors...Heme-Onc really is one giant family.  Each of us have been thrown into
this nightmare, and we all realize the balancing act that we have in common.  Strangers hug each
other with more meaning and love than some blood families, and a child's smile as you pass them
in the hall, can make your heart sing as if you'd known them all their life.

This visit illustrated that as clearly as ever.  The giant Pooh balloon was part of Avalon's
birthday gifts from a fellow patient (and dear friend), Abbey.  Abbey is our tea party friend
from a few emails ago.  

The Strawberry shortcake balloon is from another patient's family.  Although that family knew
Abbey as well, we had never met them.  Strawberry came to live with us as a special birthday
surprise, because they hated the fact that anyone would have to be there for their birthday.  
We had never met, but they loved Avalon enough to reach out...just because.

And sometimes, angels really are just moms...
Aunt Nettie/Uncle Darby balloons.
Rozenbojm family balloons
Grammo and Pappo balloons
With all of these balloons...Avalon's
bed looked a tad bit like a science
fair project.  We wondered if she
might just float away!  

Several of the stuffies along the
side of the bed were also birthday
gifts.  Some were from friends and
family, but some super special ones
were from staff members.  

I was absolutely determined the
room would be bright and cheerful.  
I brought along our own blanket and
sheets to add some much-needed
color.  I have a secret though...the
sheet is a "fake".  It only covers the
top part of the bed...Avalon's diaper
leaks nearly every night because of
the IV fluids...and I didn't want to
have to wash my sheets!
The tiny pink bundle in the middle of the bed (next to
Cookie) is actually a snoozing Avalon.  This is looking from
the foot of the bed towards the head of the bed.
View from the side of the bed...looking at the "front door"
of the room.  Next to the door is the sink, next to the sink
are the cabinets that house laundry, the room's charting
computer, and storage for us.
Our Journey:
Avalon's Army of Angels
End of the bed, better stuffie picture.