A lead partition separated us from Jordan after the radionuclide tracer was injected.

Here are the rules, Jordan. After we give you this medicine, you can’t talk. You have to lie still.

Jordan squinted one eye as she often does when processing a request. This was new information. We didn’t know that she’d have to go for nearly an hour without talking or moving around. Jordan can tolerate pain that would make a Hell’s Angel cry, but going silent for a long stretch of time is a real challenge.

– Do you understand?

Jordan looked over at me. Her face was lined with an expression I’ve seen before. It’s the face that says, “Dad, can you help me out here?”

– I have an idea, I said. Let’s play the quiet game. Can you beat me?

Odd as it may sound, Jordan loves the quiet game. She frequently loses, for the reason stated above, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. As anyone who’s read her journey knows, she loves to compete.

Jordan didn’t answer me. Instead, she laid down and let the nurse inject the radioactive isotope into her bloodstream. Then, she remained silent and still for a full hour. In fact, she dosed off and enjoyed a nice nap for a bit. When I woke her up with a kiss and a friendly greeting, she lit up with a giant smile. She knew she’d beaten me.

We’re at CHLA today for a PET scan. The doctors want to get better imaging of Jordan’s brain and they’re hoping for clues on why she’s having so many seizures. Unlike the MRIs to which she has become accustomed, the PET scan uses nuclear medicine. The isotope goes into her blood stream and behaves much like glucose. The scanner maps where the brain takes up the most of the tracer. By identifying where the brain is most active, the team hopes to isolate areas where tumor or indolent tissue may be affecting Jordan’s normal brain function.

After the one hour wait was up, Jordan rose and made her way to the scanning tube. She was still a little groggy and I figured she wanted her mom to be with her as they administered the anesthesia, so I stayed back in the room. A few minutes later the lead door opened and the nurse told me Jordan was asking for me. I found her smiling again.

– Dad, you know I always have to hold your hand when they give me the sleep medicine.

I was only too glad to oblige. As her eyes rolled back and her face relaxed, I got a little misty. Even though she’s comfortable and far from harm, it’s always hard for me to watch her fade away. But I was smiling, too. I’ve never known anyone who is as full of life as she. It isn’t a radioactive isotope that makes her a superhero. She was like that before.