Notes on A Move

Our family is exhausted and ecstatic, with just a touch of dazed and confused nostalgia. We moved from Pasadena to Santa Monica last Friday. Actually, the accurate description is that we moved Friday through Monday. Over the nearly 20 years we lived in Pasadena, we accumulated an awful lot of stuff. Moving from a large place to a smaller place is not fun. But the last batch makes its way over today and then we will officially be “out” so we can focus on moving “in.”
We love our new place. We love the neighborhood, which reminds us of the wonderful days we spent living on Mentor in Pasadena, in walking distance to all of our favorite eateries and shops. We have that again, and the kids are enjoying it. Luc set out exploring on his bike yesterday. He discovered a fine cafe just a few blocks from our house. We had dinner there last night and we toasted his good taste.

Jordan loves the new location. She asks me every day if we can go to the beach. I keep telling her we need to get settled first. She understands but she’s itching to try out “her ocean.” She gets so excited about change. I think she really loves the newness of it all. Sometimes, it causes a little overload.

On Saturday, Luc and I made several trips to Pasadena to haul our things across Los Angeles. When we arrived in Santa Monica in the afternoon, I knew immediately that something was not right. Jeanette’s face was serious as she dialed her cell phone. I asked what was wrong.

– Jordan was slurring her words and couldn’t tell me her name.

I looked up the staircase to see Jordan standing there. She looked a little worried, but she was able to talk to me and she sounded ok. Jeanette told me that after a few minutes Jordan was able to communicate again, but for a bit she was completely disoriented and her words were unintelligible. Jeanette could tell that Jordan was trying to talk, but all that came out were incomprehensible sounds. Jeanette asked her to say her name using the phrase, “My name is ____.” At first, Jordan’s words were just a stream of sounds. Then she focused and the words that came out were, “My name is Lucas.”

It’s been a long time since Jordan displayed this kind of mental malfunction, and previous episodes usually led to time in the hospital. These are the signs to us that something is afoot. We know the drill. We immediately call the hospital to consult with the oncologist on call. As we expected, they wanted to examine her. The two girls spent the rest of the day at Children’s Hospital while the team ran tests. Jordan was back to herself in no time, and she cooperated with everyone. Her blood work and her CT scans looked good. She was released from the Emergency Room at 10pm. Luc and I bought her some Tamales from El Cholo to lift her spirits. It put us all on edge, but Jordan seems fine. Just to be safe, the doctors delayed chemotherapy this week. She meets with her regular doctor tomorrow.

We don’t know why this would happen now, when all signs seem to indicate that the tumor is shrinking and she is preparing to go off of chemotherapy for an extended period of time. It can be the result of scar tissue. It can be the result of healing. My personal theory is that it’s akin to restarting your computer. For a minute or two her brain detects a crash and reboots. While it spins back up, the synapses misfire a few times. But once it’s all running again to speed, she’s her old self again.

On Sunday, after we loaded up my truck, Jordan won the coin toss and got to ride back to Santa Monica with me while Luc stayed with his mom and loaded up her Jeep. Jordan and I had a lovely conversation. Half way home, I had an idea. I told her I had a treat for her, but it wasn’t something she could eat. She loves surprises and she fidgeted in her seat waiting to see what I had in store. We passed our exit on the 10 West. I kept driving. We entered the tunnel that leads to PCH and a few seconds later the beach came into view, kissed by amber and pink rays of the dusky sky. It was a beautiful afternoon and as soon as Jordan saw the ocean her face lit up with a smile.

– Your treat is the beach!

I told her it was just for looking, we couldn’t get out. She didn’t mind at all. We drove up PCH for a bit, cruising into the Palisades before looping around and heading to our house. Jordan grew quiet, but it was a good quiet. She soaked up the sun and sand and surf. When we finished unloading at the house, we sat out on our balcony and watched the sun set while Jordan resumed her litany of observations and questions for me. I poured a glass of wine and answered the ones I could, deferred on the ones I couldn’t.