So the bleeding continues, sometimes new and bright red, and sometimes old and black and sticky. But always with that smell, like old and tarnished silverware, that will henceforth forever more send me into an emotional tailspin.
There is no plan right now. There is noone coming by to tell us what might be the problem or what might be the solution. Given that I was already an emotional wreck even in the comfort of my own home, you can imagine what kind of tightrope I'm walking here. And if there is at least some goal you're working toward, some idea of a map you can follow to lead you out, then I can hold it together long enough to follow the plan, no matter how rocky.
But this not knowing and no action and nothing to look to for answers, it is like a little drop of water beating on my forehead every two seconds while I try my very best to keep the mood light for Annika's benefit. I don't think I'm fooling her much.
Again, I forgot to pack Annika's toothpaste, the one that tastes like bubblegum. In fairness, I also forgot to pack my own, so we are both left with the crap that the hospital here has in stock. It is truly the nastiest bit of goo that ever found its way onto toothbrush bristles, with an aftertaste that reminds me of walking past a lawn that's just been coated with herbicide.
Needless to say, Annika did not want to brush her teeth with it. I made her, anyway, since good dental hygiene is especially important for the immunosuppressed. But the next night, I was just feeling so low and it struck me what an optimistic thing it is, to brush your teeth every night. A real affirmation that you're thinking ahead to those days when all your faithful devotion to the fluoride deity will pay off in good chompers when all around you are losing teeth right and left.
I just made her swish her mouth with water that night.
But then Annika took a bite of her breakfast the next morning and said, "Ouch. My tooth hurts." Wondering if there could be retribution that quickly from the tooth gods, I checked her mouth. There, dangling at an odd angle, was her very first loose tooth. And behind it I could already see the imprint of an impossibly huge tooth pushing impatiently up from her gum.
"Well, hello! Annika, it's your first loose tooth!"
She beamed and reached up to wiggle it, almost shyly.
Then we had a long conversation about whether or not the tooth fairy visited hospitals, and what kind of stash might be available to fairies doing hospital rounds.
She had the tooth out in less than 24 hours. And I've been making her brush her teeth again. I mean, optimism has got to be the best policy, right?