September 15th, 2008 – Game Day

 

  Ben and I went to bed early for a Saturday night. Well, early for me and normal for him. We were in bed by 9 PM and Stacey and James were still awake when we both fell asleep. It was decided that Ben and I would sleep in one bed and James and Stacey in the other. We both slept soundly. At 6 AM I heard/felt him slip out of bed. He had decided to get an early start. I was up an out of bed at 6:15 and he was already dressed in his David Ortiz jersey and ready to go. I got up and dressed. James was awake when I finished so we told him to tell his mom that we would be back and Ben and I went out for a walk.

           

  It was raining so I had checked the weather report and it said it would stop by noon. Ben and I borrowed umbrellas from the hotel and started to head towards Fenway Park. We had brought a sheet from home to use for a sign, but, we had forgotten markers. We had also left our rain ponchos in the car. The car was in the valet at the hotel and I didn’t feel like getting the car out just for that. I had seen a CVS store near Fenway on my travels yesterday so I thought we would stop there. It also meant that Ben could see Fenway during a quiet rainy morning. I was a little afraid I would tire him out, but, he was doing so well I thought it would be worth it. 

         

  We talked about a lot of things while we were walking. Even in the rain he was overjoyed. His one concern was that they might cancel the game. I told him not to worry about it. I also told him that even if the game was cancelled there was still a really good chance that he would get to meet David Ortiz. I asked him several times if he was ok or getting wet from the rain. He said he was fine and that the rain was only getting him a little wet. It was a misty, drizzling rain that was blowing slightly under the umbrellas. As we moved closer and closer to Fenway you could sense his excitement growing. We arrived at the corner where Gate A is and he just stopped and looked at the park. There was nobody around. We walked around the side and down Yawkey St. I told him how the street would be closed later that day and filled with people. I pointed out where we would meet Lisa at Gate D around 10:15. We turned the corner and headed toward the statue of Ted Williams and the little boy. On the side of the stadium there are banners listing the names of famous players and the player numbers that have been retired. Ben asked where David Ortiz’s name was. I explained that he was still playing and that the last player to have his name up there was Wade Boggs. He looked at the banners and said, “Someday there is going to be one for David Ortiz and the number 34 is going to be on the wall too.” I told him that was likely to happen. He said, “I can’t wait to see it.” As we arrived at the statue Ben asked me who the player was and I told him. He said, “That’s the player the taxi driver talked about yesterday.”  Told him yes and he said, “It’s really nice he is giving the little boy his hat.” I asked him if he noticed anything special about the little boy. He said, “He has the number 9 on his shirt….Hey, he’s bald like me.” I said, “Yes he is…” I choked up a little and Ben looked up at me and said, “Take my picture next to the statue.” I could tell he noticed me choking up and my eyes getting a little teary. I took a couple of pictures as he posed. He said, “ok, that’s enough.” Then came over to me and gave me a hug. We turned and headed to the CVS store to dry off and get sign making supplies. We also purchased some Red Sox plastic ponchos and a couple of car magnets. The ponchos are the wear them once and they are done type of ponchos. We never did actually use them. The car magnets were immediately put to use as soon as we had access to our vehicles.

         

  When we were in the store Ben told me how much fun he was having. He also said it was great to just go for a walk with me. As we headed back to the hotel I talked about a time I ran with a friend through a blinding rain storm and we ended up jumping in puddles because we couldn’t possibly get any wetter. He laughed and told me that sounded silly. I didn’t even have to talk him out of puddle jumping on the way back to the hotel though. He didn’t want to get his David Ortiz jersey wet.         

        

  We arrived at the hotel and created the sign while Stacey finished getting ready. Ben James and I cut up the sheet that Stacey had packed and wrote “Let’s Go Red Sox!” and The Green Drakkoman loves DAVID ORTIZ! on it with the Green Drakkoman logo. We packed everything up and headed out fr breakfast and to go back to Fenway Park.

       

  Ben was way ahead of us on the return trip. He knew the way and there were more people on the streets even though it was 10 am and the game didn’t start until after 1. As the four of us drew closer to the park Ben started to skip and almost dance his way towards Gate A. I tried reining him in, but, it was easier to just try to keep up with him. As we turned the corner of Yawkey St there was Lisa and her husband. We greeted each other and told her once again what a special thing she was doing. I know she could see it in our eyes as she looked at Stacey and I and said, “Come on let’s head to Gate D before we all start crying.” We ended up waiting for quite a while outside the Gate. The rain had messed things up a bit. They weren’t doing batting practice outside and some other things were delayed. We didn’t worry and the boys did an amazing job of being patient. While we were waiting Lisa introduces us to John Corcoran who is one of the owners of Charity Wines. It is through her relationship with Charity Wines that this was all possible. As many of you know we weren’t sure if James was going to get to meet David Ortiz. John came to us and said, “We aren’t sure what is going to happen when we get inside. Tell James to just stay next to his brother and don’t say anything like, ‘I don’t know if I going to get to meet David Ortiz.’ ‘Will I be able to…” and hopefully everyone will get to meet him.” All I could think was, “I love this man. He thinks like me.” Needless to say everything worked out well and we would all got to be there to meet David Ortiz.  

 

   Before we met him we were taken on a small tour of the stadium. The tour was really cool. We found out that the seats we would later sit in were installed in 1910. The wood was still hard and people had smaller butts back then. We also were able to sit in the Green Monster seats. I can only say one thing about them…”Wow, what a view and way to see a game.” I and the boys hope we can get to go back to a game and sit there some time.

         

    The tour was interrupted so we could go down into the park to wait to see David Ortiz. We ended up waiting for a really long time. Once again the boys were absolutely amazing. I have never, ever seen that much patience from 8 year olds. I think the adults were starting to lose it. After what seemed like an eternity we were told it would just be a few more minutes. Then they came back and said a few more minutes. A few minutes more. Then we were told that David would only have 20 minutes to send with the 20 of us. Then they came back and said 15 minutes. Finally we were told we would be lucky to see him for 5 minutes. At that moment almost in unison all the adults, except Stacey and me, said to the Red Sox Ambassador that was our guide, “No Matter what he gets to meet David Ortiz and get something signed.” as they pointed at Ben. Then one of the added, ”And his twin brother too.” I was amazed with the exception of 2 of the adults we had never met any of these people. Some of them were generational Red Sox fans who had traveled great distances to be here. They were all willing to give up the chance to meet David Ortiz for the opportunity to witness Ben meeting him. At last avid Ortiz came out through the door and Ben and James approached him. The boys said hello and politely asked him to sign the baseballs they had brought. He is 6’4” tall and exudes the power of a linebacker. At the same time you feel his power you feel this kind, gentleness and care as he greeted the children in the party. There was a sense of playfulness as he posed with the kids. Something he has to have done thousands and thousands of times. Yet the children felt like he was theirs alone. Ben gave him one of the Green Drakkoman pins and a bracelet. James gave him a cardboard envelope that contained their Little League pictures that they had autographed for him. He smiled as he looked in the envelope thinkng it contained a picture of him that they wanted to have signed. He handed all of the objects to an assistant that was standing slightly to the side and rear. James and Ben posed and then Ben asked him to sign his head. Ben looked up at him and said, “They told us we could each only ask you to sign one thing. Since I had my ball signed my ad has said his one thing could be my head because I wanted you to sign that too.” I guarantee you that David Ortiz has never signed a little boys bald head before. He asked Ben to repeat the request because wasn’t sure he heard correctly. He then looked up at me, Sharpie in hand, and asked, “Are you sure?” I shrugged as I nodded and said, “Yes.” Ben presented his head to David Ortiz with the respectful bow of a martial arts master and David Ortiz carefully steadied his head with one hand and signed Ben’s head. It was truly a magical moment and the look on David Ortiz’s face was that of a father. Everyone in the party was able to meet David Ortiz and get something signed. As David turned to go back in the clubhouse James realized he hadn’t been able to get a picture with him alone with David Ortiz. e ran to try to catch him before he was completely inside the door. I thought it was too late, but, David heard James over the noise of Fenway. He turned and listened as James explained the matter. He stepped next to James and put his arm around him as we took their picture. He then thanked James and went inside. It was about 30 minutes before the game would start. 

      

  I can tell you one thing. Ben’s head has never been photographed as much as it was in Fenway. The game was wonderful and when we walked through the aisles to get food people did double takes as Ben passed. Ladies came up to him and asked who had signed his head. One of the ladies sitting behind us took a couple of pictures of the boys and asked for our email address to send them to us. She also took a picture of us holding up our sign. Our seats were behind home plate just inside the blue seats – about 20 rows back. We were being careful not to hold it up too long when David Ortiz was coming up to bat. Just before his at bat in the 8th inning we held it up quickly. As we brought it down the young woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “NO, hold it up longer. He might see it. It’s ok.” We did and David Ortiz hit a triple. He rarely hits triples and hadn’t since August of 2007. The fans around us attributed that triple to Ben and the Green Drakkoman. We even managed to get shown on national TV. By the time the game was over Stacey had 4 calls on her cell phone. We had an amazing time at the game. I was amazed at how friendly everyone was. What a blast. I have never sung a Neil Diamond tune (Sweet Caroline) at the top of my lungs with so many people before…and I was sober too. Around the   4th inning Ben leaned across James and his mother and said to me, “I can’t wait to do this with my children.” We smiled at each other and I agreed. As I sat back and saw that he was engrossed in the game I cried a few tears. Tears of absolute joy that we were sharing this amazing day together as a family. I thought back to a day earlier in the summer when for a brief moment I couldn’t imagine such a wonderful day happening and the world was just so bright. I will never, never, ever be able to thank Lisa P., the folks at CharityWines.com, David Ortiz or Jenn H. for the gift that they made possible for our family on a beautiful, rainy, overcast day in Boston.

           

  On the ride home after the game we all basked in an after glow of fun. James asked, “Can we go back to Boston next week?” Ben said, “This was the best weekend of my life.” James added, “Of our lives.”

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September 14th, 2008 – In Boston

  I must start his post by telling you all that this past weekend was one of the most memorable, happy weekends our family has experienced in a long time, if not ever. We laughed a great deal and enjoyed each others company. I saw Stacey cry a little at least once and I shed tears a couple of times. I hope you have some time because I think this is going to be a long one.  

     

  We had breakfast at a restaurant that is in a storefront type space on the first floor of the hotel. As is often the case in large cities the first floor of the Hotel Commonwealth is made up of storefronts at street level and the first floor of the Hotel is actually the 2ndstory. In fact the entrance to the Kenmore Metro stop is in the center of the almost block long hotel façade. The Metro is called the “T” in Boston and is basically the subway system. If you ask for directions to “The Subway” you will either be given directions to a sandwich shop or told you have to go to NYC for that. The Kenmorestop is the stop everyone uses to take mass transit to Fenway Park. Breakfast was really good and our waiter had a very distinctive accent. It sounded Brazilian to me. James hadheard that everyone in Boston spoke with a very strong accent so he was listening intently to find it. We had not encountered anyone yet with a Boston accent. When the waiter brought us our meals James asked him, “Excuse me, do you have a Boston accent?” The waiter asked him to repeat his question and then laughed, “Nobody has ever asked me that.” He kindly told James that he was from Columbia and that people usually asked if he was from Spain, Brazil or Portugal. He was really sweet with James and I am sure he now has a great story to tell. He recognized us when we went there for breakfast on Sunday too.

 

            

 

   During breakfast we decided to go to the Aquarium and then the Museum of Science. E took the T and the boys really enjoyed taking the trains. We had to switch from the Green line to the Blue line to get to the aquarium. Our stop was right there when we arrived. Hen entering the aquarium building we were first directed to a side exhibit area that contained a jellyfish exhibit. It was very dark, but, seeing the different jellyfish was absolutely amazing. He movements of the creatures was otherworldly and beautiful. The boys went from one tank to the next excitedly describing to us what they were seeing. Some of the exhibits were interactive and you could change the colors of the lights to see different parts of the jellyfish. As we finished the exhibit and entered the main part of the aquarium building I turned to Stacey and said, “That alone was worth the price of admission.” We walked into the aquarium proper and the first thing we saw inside was the penguin exhibit. The boys absolutely loved seeing the penguins. When we were in San Diego one of the biggest disappointments for James was that he never was able to see any penguins. Ben pointed that fact out to James and said, “Hey, now we got to see the penguins together.” After watching them for a while we walked around the huge central aquarium tank. It is a giant cylinder and the walkway spirals around it in a gentle incline. I would guess it is at least 4 stories tall. The boys called out the cool things they were seeing. The highlights were a shark and a sea turtle. We also walked around looking at the other exhibits. We found a reef tank that had multiple species in it and contained almost every type of fish in the movie “Finding Nemo” and then some. It was really neat watching the boys interact with the exhibits reading the signs to us. Ben found one that contained Cephalopods and I explained to him that Cephalosporins were not related to the species. At least I don’t think so.  Remember he is allergic to the Cephalosporin class of antibiotics.  As we were looking at the Cuttlefish in the tank a gentleman told the boys to wiggle their fingers in front of the tank at the creatures to see if they reacted. The boys did and the cuttlefish changed colors and even flashed a little bit. It was really neat.

 

                

 

 

  Then we went to an I-Max 3-D movie about the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. It followed a rafting trip through the canyon as it looked for changes in the river over the last century. It was amazing to see the differences that the dams and farming has made to the river. Of course the most exciting parts were when the rafts and kayaks went through the rapids. We decided after watching the movie that we are going to take the boys rafting on the upper Hudson river next spring. James wants to learn how to kayak now. Ben prefers rafts. I am up for anything and I think Stacey likes the shore.  

 

 

 

   After we finished the movie we did a quick walk through the gift shop at the aquarium and talked James out of buying a Squirmle type toy. We ended up saving the souvenir budget for a later purchase. We had a great time at the aquarium and talked about saving the rest of the aquarium for a later visit. We decided that instead of taking the T to the Museum of Science we would take a taxi so we could see more of the city and just to do something different. Our driver turned out to be a wonderful man. I sat in the front of the cab and Stacey and the boys were ion the back seat. Our driver had been driving a cab in Boston for the past 18 years fulltime and part time for a number of years before that. As we all climbed aboard he said, “Once upon a time or maybe twice there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland.” and turned on the CD player in the cab. I was confused a little until I heard The Beatles song Yellow Submarine begin. He turned to me and said, “I thought the boys might like this one.” As he drove away from the Aquarium I knew the boys were a little hungry for lunch so I asked if there wre any nice restaurants near the Museum of Science. He immediately said no, thought about it, and said, “No, come to think of it there isn’t really much of anything right there.” Stacey and I looked at each other and decided there had to be a snack bar type restaurant there. As he drove he talked to us about playing keyboards in a band, studying at Harvard, the sites we were passing and the interesting people he had had in his cab over the years. He talked of freedom and how having kids would probably have changed his life dramatically, “I would have probably grown up immediately.” Stacey and I both think he was a little older than we are. He spoke of movie stars, rock musicians and Nobel Laureates. Our favorite story was that Ted Williams had been in his cab. He described him as a nice man who tipped well. Unfortunately, he told us that he was absolutely tongue tied and couldn’t think of anything to say when Ted Williams was in his cab. I thought to myself. “This guy can talk about anything to anyone and Ted Williams made him speechless.” He spoke of Ted Williams with awe and reverence. Since everyone was in baseball mode talking about Ted Williams and Boston baseball was a favored topic. It wouldn’t be until later that day that I realized why he was almost choking up over that ride with Ted Williams. We arrived at the Museum of Science with smiles on our faces. As I paid him the fare and gave him a nice tip for making the ride pass so quickly and entertaining us. He looked at me with a look of concern and love, “I wish the boy well. I don’t know you, but, I will carry him in my heart.” As I had pulled the money out of my pocket one of Ben’s Green Drakkoman buttons had fallen to the ground. I bent down and picked it up.  Handed it to him and said, “Here, this is a picture of the super hero my son Ben created that is helping him. Thank you very much for the memorable ride.” As I closed the door and turned to walk away I noticed that the money was just sitting on the seat of the cab, uncounted, and he was just looking at the little button rubbing it with his thumbs. The image of a monk in prayer popped into my head.

 

           

 

   We had a great time in the Museum of Science. The food was very expensive, cafeteria, museum snack bar food. It wasn’t awful, but, very ordinary. Ben and James had hot dogs. As Stacey and I were working on our lunches Ben spontaneously erupted and the majority of his lunch came right back up onto the tray and table. It happened so fast and silently that I don’t think another soul in the relatively crowded dining area had any idea what had just happened. Except a single mom sitting across the aisle to my left. Stacey quickly wiped it up with the abundance of napkins that we had on the table. We didn’t make a big deal although Stacey and I were both screaming inside. Ben assured us he was ok and that he must have eaten too fast and that he was really excited. We decided that since this was the first and only occurrence we wouldn’t panic. He seemed perfectly fine so close monitoring and no running around would be the order for the afternoon. We went through some of the exhibits in the museum that involved optical illusions. They were really cool and the boys were reading the instructions and trying the experiments. There was a butterfly exhibit going on that we had purchased tickets to enter. They were timed tickets and depended on how many people were in the room at a time. It was a light day so we were able to enter early. The room was filled with plants that fed different butterflies. They also had some fruit on plates. There were hundred of butterflies flying around the greenhouse type room. We walked around, stood still and sat on the benches for a while. I think we were in there for almost 45 minutes. It was really cool to see so many different butterflies. There were butterflies the size of quarters and butterflies the size of saucers with every size in between. We were all hoping one would land on us. We were not allowed to touch them, but, they could land on us. I was holding the video camera when one landed on it. Another time one of the biggest butterflies landed on my finger while I held the video camera. Of course it was the hand holding the camera and Ben didn’t see it in time to get the picture with the digital camera. We all agreed it was really cool to be surrounded by butterflies.          

 

       

 

   Next we walked through a couple of exhibits as we headed to the Lightning show in the Theatre of Electricity. I saw this show 20 years ago and I think the same man was doing it then. We were both much younger. The show has the worlds largest Van de Graff generator and some other devices like Tesla coils and Jacob’s ladders in it. It is very loud and there is a great deal of lightning. It is wonderful and the science just presents itself. Here are a couple YouTube clips that other people have online form the same show on different days. The second one is the grand finale of the presentation.    

                       

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJSNiDbob6Q        

                   

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxeLOI_kp_o        

                                 

 

 

 

   They also talked about Ben Franklin and made young girl’s hair stand on end. Ben stayed and asked the presenter about the Tesla coils. After the show the gentleman also passed out sparks. Ben, James and I took turns and stood there with our fists up in the air. The gentleman punched the air above our fist and a giant spark arched between our fists. The boys both jumped because they didn’t know what to expect. The interesting thing was that because they jumped they felt it in their feet too. It was a very massive spark about 100 times greater than you can generate on winters day rubbing your stocking feet on the carpet. Awesome!!! We spent the rest of the afternoon learning about many other things. We moved from exhibit to exhibit like we were browsing a giant science buffet. The boys would be interested in one exhibit for 10 minutes and then fritter past 5. We just let the boys control what interested them. James and I would sometimes go one way and Stacey and Ben another. The boys would get back together and show the other what they found that was interesting. We had a great time and left more to explore for another day.            

 

          

 

   We took the T back to the hotel and decided that everyone would take it easy for the evening. We picked up a Playstation 2 with a couple of games and DVD from the front desk for the boys to have in room entertainment. I cannot say enough about the Hotel Commonwealth. It is a wonderful boutique hotel and our room overlooking Fenway Park was only about $50 more expensive than most of the good hotels in Boston. If you are going to a Red Sox game and want to walk to Fenway it is definitely an option to consider that will make it a really special trip.         

 

          

 

   While Stacey and the boys were hanging out in the room I went on a walk to see how far away the Gate was that we were to meet Lisa at on Sunday morning. I walked to Fenway Park and it was a pretty easy walk. I knew the boys could do it with no problem. I arrived at Gate A in no time and asked a nearby police officer where Gate D was. He told me which direction to go and off I went. There was a game that was starting 7:30 and even though it was a little before 6 PM the crowd was inspiring. I ended up walking all the way around the outside of Fenway Park. I think the officer thought I said Gate B or thought I was a Yankees fan. I am glad that he sent me around the park because I probably wouldn’t have stumbled on the statue of Ted Williams. I realized as I looked at the statue why our cab driver had choked up earlier. I knew that the Red Sox have supported childhood cancer research through the Jimmy Fund since 1948. I had also heard Ted Williams in connection with the Jimmy Fund at times. I turned the corner and there was Ted Williams putting his ball cap on a little boy with the number 9 on his back. The little boy is smaller than Ben.

                                 

 

 

 

  I thought I did not have to read the plaque to know what I was seeing. I noticed the reverence of many of the fans towards the statue. I overheard a woman say that she visits the statue every time she comes to a game no matter where her seats are. I saw an older gentleman gently touch the little boys head as he walked past. I watched a man pick up his kids to stand on the granite and pose between the boy and Ted Williams so he could take a picture. I heard his youngest (6 or 7 years old) ask, “Why is the boy bald?” As they walked away I heard the man begin to talk about the Jimmy Fund and wondered where that conversation would take them. I cried a couple tears as I read the plaque that said that Ted Williams was known to visit Dana Farber and give the hat off his head to the children who were fighting cancer. I looked at the statue and I saw Ben.  

       

 

   I walked farther around the park and found Gate D. It was just down Yawkey St from Gate A and would have been easily visible if there were not trees, awnings and a couple of signe in the way. On my way back to the hotel I stopped and picked up Double Cheeseburger Happy Meal for James and a pizza for the rest of us. We ate and relaxed. Tomorrow was the big day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am working on Game day now…Coming soon

Ben’s Getting Sronger Every Day

7/19/2008

Ben is getting stronger everyday. He and James have been getting each other to laugh quite a bit today. We took the boys to see “Space Chimps” today. I am not sure if the marinol is making him laugh more easily and deeply or if he is just having a great time as he is starting to feel better. He is in a very different place that he was in last week.

         

  When we arrived home from the movies Aiva had returned with her family from a week long vacation. Ben was disappointed that he didn’t get to see her when he came home from San Diego and the hospital, but, glad she was off having fun. He saw their car in the driveway and immediately wanted to go to the house and say hi. When she and the boys saw each other they were very happy.

    

  Yesterday a group of 6 counselors from Double H came to see Ben and James. They had a great time. If Ben couldn’t make it to the camp they decided to bring the camp to him. It was absolutely magical to see them focus on the boys. Ben was definitely the cener of attention, but, they kept James an integral part of the visit. They brought arts and crafts projects and worked on them with the boys. After they finished the projects an impromptue body painting session took place. Ben also took the opportunity to present them with Green Drakkoman pins. Before they left the held a bear hug sessions and gave the boys each a bear that they had filled with love and hugs. I am creating a new album on picasaweb with the pictures – http://picasaweb.google.com/greendrakkoman/HHStaffVisit  I am also uploading the pictures from the med flight to the MakeAWish Trip album. My goal tomorrow is to start writing and uploading more of our adventures that didn’t make it to the sites yet.

         

  The big event tomorrow is to go to the Price Chopper on Rt 9 in Latham for a Ben and the Green Drakkoman fundraising event. Ben wants to go for as much of it as he can. It starts at Noon and goes until 4 pm. They will be having Balloons, Bracelets, Pins. They are also having an Ice Cream Sundae making contest and will be selling green items. It really sounds like it is going to be fun. We look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow. We will be heading over right after church.

7/18/2008

  As I am writing this it is 7:18 on 7/18. I just thought that was kind of cool. Ben is doing really well. He had a CT scan this morning of everything from head to hips. He is still having some issues with eating and his Gastrointestinal track. His tummy is distended, but, it has gone down some. The doctors asked him if he was in pain. His bowls are really bloated. He is well hydrated and his blood counts are good. His potassium is a low and his blood pressure is high. We have him on potassium tablets and he is starting on a blood pressure medicine. He is also still on 2 antibiotics to treat the bacterial stuff happening in his gut and make sure his sinusses stay ok. His strength is coming back slowly and we are pushing him to walk and in his wheelchair. I actually sat in the chair today at the hospital and made him push me 20 feet. It was good exercise for him.

Catching Up on the posts – Stronger Every day

7/19/2008

Ben is getting stronger everyday. He and James have been getting each other to laugh quite a bit today. We took the boys to see “Space Chimps” today. I am not sure if the marinol is making him laugh more easily and deeply or if he is just having a great time as he is starting to feel better. He is in a very different place that he was in last week.

         

  When we arrived home from the movies Aiva had returned with her family from a week long vacation. Ben was disappointed that he didn’t get to see her when he came home from San Diego and the hospital, but, glad she was off having fun. He saw their car in the driveway and immediately wanted to go to the house and say hi. When she and the boys saw each other they were very happy.

    

  Yesterday a group of 6 counselors from Double H came to see Ben and James. They had a great time. If Ben couldn’t make it to the camp they decided to bring the camp to him. It was absolutely magical to see them focus on the boys. Ben was definitely the cener of attention, but, they kept James an integral part of the visit. They brought arts and crafts projects and worked on them with the boys. After they finished the projects an impromptue body painting session took place. Ben also took the opportunity to present them with Green Drakkoman pins. Before they left the held a bear hug sessions and gave the boys each a bear that they had filled with love and hugs. I am creating a new album on picasaweb with the pictures – http://picasaweb.google.com/greendrakkoman/HHStaffVisit  I am also uploading the pictures from the med flight to the MakeAWish Trip album. My goal tomorrow is to start writing and uploading more of our adventures that didn’t make it to the sites yet.

         

  The big event tomorrow is to go to the Price Chopper on Rt 9 in Latham for a Ben and the Green Drakkoman fundraising event. Ben wants to go for as much of it as he can. It starts at Noon and goes until 4 pm. They will be having Balloons, Bracelets, Pins. They are also having an Ice Cream Sundae making contest and will be selling green items. It really sounds like it is going to be fun. We look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow. We will be heading over right after church.

7/18/2008

  As I am writing this it is 7:18 on 7/18. I just thought that was kind of cool. Ben is doing really well. He had a CT scan this morning of everything from head to hips. He is still having some issues with eating and his Gastrointestinal track. His tummy is distended, but, it has gone down some. The doctors asked him if he was in pain. His bowls are really bloated. He is well hydrated and his blood counts are good. His potassium is a low and his blood pressure is high. We have him on potassium tablets and he is starting on a blood pressure medicine. He is also still on 2 antibiotics to treat the bacterial stuff happening in his gut and make sure his sinusses stay ok. His strength is coming back slowly and we are pushing him to walk and in his wheelchair. I actually sat in the chair today at the hospital and made him push me 20 feet. It was good exercise for him.

7/15/2008 – Building Ben’s Strength Back Up

   I have the ability to make updates on the Green Drakkoman site again. I am listing thissite to use as a back up – https://greendrakkoman.wordpress.com I am going to start putting updates both here and there. In case anything happens again.

        

  Ben is doing well. He is still weak and his potassium and albumenim are low. We have to get him to eat more protein. He is walking some, but, tires quickly so we have a wheelchair for him. He will be having CT scans of his innards done on Friday. It is great to be home and I know many of you really felt cutoff because of the web site outage. It is surprising how much we come to depend on todays communication methods. As soon as his strength is back he will be getting another round of chemotherapy – the ifosfomide. Ben had to have his port accessed today so they could draw blood. He was very upset and cried a little. Then he looked up and said, “I’m ok, I was just a little terrorized because I thought I wasn’t going to have to be accessed.

     

   This weekend the Price Chopper in Latham on Rt 9 is having a Green Drakkoman Celebration. I will give you all more details tomorrow. I think the times are from 1-4pm and they will be selling Green Drakkoman bracelets, ice cream and there will be specials on green items in the store.

      

   Ben and James are counting down to their birthday. I am not sure what they are expecting because we really haven’t planned much. We have a few ideas that we are hoping to finalize this weekend.

Site Issues

Due to the incompetence of the webhosting company we are using, 1 & 1 Webhosting, I am not able to update www.greendrakkoman.com at this time. We are looking into moving everything to a new hosting provider. You may still use the guestbook at the other site and it should remain up so you can review pictures and videos on it. I will be posting links on here to sites for pictures, videos and other features. Believe me I am 10x more frustrated than anyone else could possibly be about this situation. At one point when we were in San Diego I lost my cool and yelled at a representative of the web hosting company. James was in the next room and said, “Daddy, don’t ever get mad at me. I’m glad you’ve never yelled at me like that.” I ended up talking to him for about 15 minutes about how my behavior on the phone was inappropriate.

7/14/2008 Update – Ben is HOME !!!

Everyone is home safe. We brought Ben home last night. We left the hospital around 10:30 pm. He is resting and we had some family visitors today that have really lifted his spirits. I will be telling you many stories about the last few days about some of the things that happened during the “Communications Blackout.” Ben is still very weak and unsure of walking. He ate chicken soup today and Stacey just went to get fixings for “Candy Shoppe Sundaes.” We are having to force fluids into him, but, he is doing well. Feel free to comment directly on any of the posts on here. I think this site may actually work out better for us as I get used to all of the things we can do with it. Thank you for all of the love and support during our Make-A-Wish trip. We had a small army of folks working tirelessly on getting Benjamin home. We met some amazing folks in San Diego who wrapped there arms around us and gave us the hugs you were sending our way.