Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Los Angeles Zoo and CHLA

Grace, Luke and our friend Nati got to go to the Los Angeles Zoo, courtesy of Children's Hospital Los Angeles to meet Rhonda the Rhino, who also had cancer. The kids got to hand-feed Rhonda. And if you didn't know, the mouth of a rhino feels like the mouth of a monster-sized, super-slimy slug. We would have never guessed that a rhino's mouth feels so very, very, very WET. And it sneezed a lot on us too.

The kids thought she was great. They were fearless feeding her and Rhonda proved to be very friendly. We also got to pet a harbor seal and a sealion. After our special visits we were given a private tour of the zoo with our own docent, Ms. Vikki, who drove us where we wanted to go in our own golf cart. The kids liked the cart rides as much as anything!

The following week the Zoo was opened to all the families of CHLA. It was after the main zoo had closed and included free dinner, free dessert, unlimited carousel rides. It was AMAZING. First, having kids who can't get out often is really isolating. But everywhere we went we were with other families just like ours. In fact we knew someone everywhere we turned. That felt amaing. Then they had it at night. Grace sunburns easily from her chemo, so having it a twilight took a load off my mind not having to worry about the sun. Plus, since everyone was a CHLA family, we all understood that none of us could be there and be sick, so we didn't have to worry about sick kids sharing germs with our immune-compromised kids.

Everywhere we went families were laughing and giggling. All of us needed a break, and all of us were thrilled to have it, especially with each other. It was really a great time. Grace was literally running around the zoo the whole night with her hands in the air yelling, "best day ever!"

And it was.

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