By Brenda Grabast
BEIJING, China — Well, I have to say today has been a challenge, and it’s only 1:30 p.m.
Derek was supposed to go in at 8 a.m. for an EEG, but he wasn’t liking the idea too much. He panicked. And not just a little. When the doc brought out the wires for the test, Derek started crying.
It wasn’t until the doctor brought out the “goop” to make the electrodes stick to his head, that Derek did it. Those of you that know him, know what he did when he saw the goopy stuff. Derek has ‘visual aversions’. When he see’s something he doesn’t like, he gets sick.
We came back to the room, and got cleaned up. The nurse brought in some ‘happy’ drugs to relax Derek, so the next try wouldn’t be so bad.
She also said that I would need to cut Derek’s hair. It was going to be too thick for the electrodes to connect properly. So, they called in a gal that does hair cuts for EEGs.
I’ve always thought certain people look good with a clean-shaven head. And some that did “Mr. Clean” to their heads should not have. Well, we have three weeks until we get home, and I hope his hair grows back fast!
The second attempt at the EEG went well. I won’t know what the results are until the head neurologist comes back. Throughout all of this, Derek missed his occupational therapy and phyical therapy this morning. Hopefully, his medication wears off before his speech therapy this afternoon.
We ventured off the property last night for a short walk. We went down the street, but that’s as far as we made it.
The street we would have to walk across to see the river, is like Kellogg in Wichita. The exceptions are that there are no traffic lights and no “walk” sign. People don’t slow down for pedestrians. It’s every person for themselves.
We were there only about five minutes waiting for a clearing in the traffic, and Derek wanted to come back. There are some beautiful sculptures and buildings. If we do ever manage to get across, I’ll get some pictures of them.
Our next journey will be to see The Great Wall.
• Notes to self — Bring more books to read when in the hospital.
• Carry extra Kleenex’s for possible “Derek” moments.
• Enjoy a clear blue sky.
Today was our trip to the Great Wall of China.
With a bus loaded with patients and their families, we were off for a two-hour drive. There is really beautiful scenery on the way.
I found out we are inside the second ring of the Beijing. The first ring is around the oldest part of Beijing. Each time they built onto the city, they build a river around the new section. Each addition completely circles the previous city limits. They are working in the seventh ring right now. There were construction cranes everywhere.
When we were almost 15 minutes from The Wall, our tour guide came back to Derek and I and said we wouldn’t be able to walk up to the wall.
The Wall, of course, is built on top of the mountains, and the only way to get to it is to ride a cable car. Since the majority of that area is original equipment, it is not handicap accessible. There was still scenery to look at and we were in a valley, so it was still beautiful.
Derek has a Russian helper. He is here with his daughter for treatment.
When we were getting ready to get off the bus at The Wall, he came up to me and said “I do it,” and motioned like he would pick up D. So, I let him.
He reminds me of Ivan Drago from “Rocky,” so that’s what I’ll call him. Ivan’s wife smiled and patted Ivan on the back, then flexed her arms. I said “Thank You,” in Russian, and they looked at me funny. Then he smiled and said “You’re Welcome.”
So, we just ran around the parking lot and shopped. I took a few pictures, but it was so hazy at the top, you can barely make out the guard towers.
On the way back, they took us by Olympic Park and showed us The Birds Nest and the Torch Tower. Once we were back at the bus stop by the hospital, Ivan’s wife walked by me, smiled and nodded at her husband.
I said “OK,” and he scooped up Derek, and took him off the bus. Before I could thank him, they were half way down the street.
Evidently Derek has that “I Should’ve Been A Cowboy” look going for him. We were turning around to head back to the hospital, and Ahamad’s (Derek’s therapy buddy) older brother put a cowboy hat on Derek. He insisted that the hat looked better on Derek than himself, and that Derek should keep it.
So, momma’s little cowboy has a brown cowboy hat now. We wheeled through a little shop on our walk back to the hospital, and there they were — Skittles!
So back to the room, tuckered out from the walking and rolling around all day. Derek wanted to watch some cartoons, and don’t forget about those Skittles.
As he was watching Thomas the Train and munching, I was unpacking his bag. He hollered for more. I mixed drinks for tomorrow, and he hollered for more. I noticed a little red and saw he was missing a baby tooth. A quick finger sweep confirmed it. Not only had the skittles pulled out a baby tooth, but he swallowed it too.
But he wasn’t choking, so that’s good. Just a little bump in the road, but this too will pass. OK — I couldn’t resist that one.
As we got close to the hospital, I spotted The Temple of Heaven, a 40-minute walk. Maybe we will venture there.
Hopefully we start seeing some changes in Derek soon.
I am trying to be patient, but so far, he is losing his teeth, has gone bald, and has started signing with a southern twang. LOL. I couldn’t resist!
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Great Bend Tribune will follow the journey of Derek Grabast of Hudson for innovative stem-cell treatment in Beijing, China.
By Brenda Grabast