…(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday… – ee cummings, XAIPE, 65

It was a good day. Certainly better than yesterday. And people who know tell me to take one day at a time. In chronological order: (1) my youth soccer team won its match 7-4, putting my boys 3-0 for the season; (2) my USC Trojans beat the Bears 23-17, putting them 5-0 for the season; and, (3) Jordan was alert for part of the day, smiling and nearly her same old self.

She’s still in PICU. Her vital signs are good. She slept most of the day, but when she wakes she is responsive to all tests and has very good cognitive function. She says she is not in any pain.

When I arrived in the early afternoon she was eating a big ice cream cone from McDonald’s. “It soooo good,” she exclaimed. She hugged me big and smiled gleefully when I gave her a gift from the boys on the soccer team – a beautiful plush puppy named ‘Scraps’. She nuzzled him and tucked him close to her side.

We expect her to transfer to a bed in the oncology unit tomorrow. One of the oncology doctors met with us today to tell us that the pathology was not complete, but they expect results on Monday. Dr. Mason stopped by to visit (wearing a Cal t-shirt – sorry, Doc). He is the physician who leads the Infectious Diseases group at CHLA and he is also the man who has been managing her case up to now. As expected, her cultures aren’t showing any signs of a bacterial or viral infection.

While Jordan took a long nap, Jeanette and I slipped away for a nice lunch. We talked about other things, for a change. Jeanette is handling everything so well. I am proud of her. She gives so much to Jordan and gets so little thanks from her charge. I confess that Jordan dotes on me nearly as much as I dote on her. The negative side effect is that Mom often gets no credit for “being there.” Make no mistake, though. Jordan relies heavily upon her mother. She is as stable and well-adjusted as she is because her mother is always there for her. When the going gets tough, Jordan wants Mommy by her side.

The writer in me always looks for a genre. Jordan’s story is part of the heart-warming survival story. Every survival story has a loving mentor character. This chapter of Jordan’s story is no different. Her PICU nurse Liz is playing that role of Angel. Liz was so wonderfully compassionate and patient with us last night when Jordan arrived at PICU. Her eyes were full of understanding and empathy. She took extra time to ask us if we had any questions. When she spoke, it was with the certain familiarity and comfort of a close family member. Luckily for Jordan, Liz was at her side again today. It put all of us at ease. If you’re ever looking for a real-live angel, visit your local Children’s Hospital and spend time with some of the nurses. They may not all be like Liz, but you are certain to find extraordinary souls attending the bedsides of needing children.