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A Day in the Life of an Aquarist. What Do We Do? What Is the Workplace of an Aquarist Like? What Else? Come and Learn More Fancy learning more about our creatures from us? We use first-party and third party cookies to improve the products and services offered in our website by monitoring and analysing your browsing habits. Only later would I understand that that absurd act was related to a desperate form of hope: the cannoli might be necessary for our future survival. The surgery was expected to last between four and six hours; Dr.

We alternately wept and were silent. The lights in the room were dimmed; we were on a bed behind a curtain, and for some reason no one bothered us. I had never felt as close to another human being as I did that night to my wife. Sometime after midnight, Dr. Isabel was doing well and would soon be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, he said, where we could see her. I remember that moment as a relatively happy one: Isabel was alive. Only the immediate outcome was relevant; all we could hope for was to reach the next step, whatever it was. In the I. We spent the night watching her, kissing the fingers on her limp hand, reading or singing to her.

For if it were possible to imagine fully that instant of passing from consciousness to nonexistence, with all the attendant fear and humiliation of absolute helplessness, it would be very hard to live. It would be unbearably obvious that death is inscribed in everything that constitutes life, that any moment of your existence may be only a breath away from being the last.

We would be continuously devastated by the magnitude of that inescapable fact.

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Still, as we mature into our mortality, we begin to gingerly dip our horror-tingling toes into the void, hoping that our mind will somehow ease itself into dying, that God or some other soothing opiate will remain available as we venture into the darkness of non-being. But how can you possibly ease yourself into the death of your child? For one thing, it is supposed to happen well after your own dissolution into nothingness. Your children are supposed to outlive you by several decades, during the course of which they live their lives, happily devoid of the burden of your presence, and eventually complete the same mortal trajectory as their parents: oblivion, denial, fear, the end.

Only after I met Teri did I manage to get my tormentful imagination somewhat under control. And, after our children were born, I learned to quickly delete any vision I had of something horrible happening to them. But I banished the thought almost immediately. A couple of days after Dr.

The more cancer was taken out, the better the prognosis would be, so Isabel had to undergo another surgery, after which she returned to the I. Then, after she was transferred from the I.

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She had fever again. The E. Undergoing yet another emergency scan, face upward in the MRI tunnel, she nearly choked, the vomit bubbling out of her mouth. Finally, a shunt was surgically implanted, allowing the fluid to drain directly into her stomach. In less than three weeks, Isabel had undergone two brain resections—in which her cerebral hemispheres were parted to allow Dr. Tomita to access the region between the stem, the pineal gland, and the cerebellum and scoop out the tumor—and six additional surgeries to address the failure of the fluid to drain.

A tube had been inserted into her chest so that chemotherapy drugs could be administered directly into her bloodstream. To top it all off, an inoperable peanut-size tumor was now detected in her frontal lobe, and the pathology report confirmed that the cancer was indeed A. Jason Fangusaro and Dr. Rishi Lulla, did not wish to discuss her prognosis. We did not dare press them. Teri and I spent most of the first few weeks after the diagnosis at the hospital. Ella seemed to be handling the situation pretty well.

Supportive family and friends came through our house, helping us to distract her from our continual absence. It was sometime in the first few weeks of the ordeal that Ella began talking about her imaginary brother. The creation of an imaginary character is related, I believe, to the explosion of linguistic abilities that occurs between the ages of two and four, and rapidly creates an excess of language, which the child may not have enough experience to match. She has to construct imaginary narratives in order to try out the words that she suddenly possesses.

Hence, her imaginary brother had to be deployed to the sunny state, which allowed Ella to talk at length as if she knew California. The words demanded the story. Ella could now talk about what was here and about what was elsewhere; language had made here and elsewhere continuous and simultaneous. Once, during dinner, I asked Ella what her brother was doing at that very moment. He was in her room, she said matter-of-factly, throwing a tantrum.

At first, her brother had no name. Since Charlie Mingus is practically a deity in our household, we suggested the name Mingus to Ella, and Mingus her brother became. Soon after that, Malcolm gave Ella an inflatable doll of a space alien, which she subsequently elected to embody the existentially slippery Mingus.

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Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor is so rare that there are few chemotherapy protocols specifically designed for it. Many of the available protocols are derived from treatments for medulloblastomas and other brain tumors, modified, with increased toxicity, to counter A. Throughout the chemo, she would also have to receive transfusions of platelets and red blood cells, while her white-blood-cell count would need to reach normal levels by itself each time.

Her immune system would be temporarily annihilated, and, as soon as it recovered, another chemo cycle would begin. Because of her extensive brain surgeries, Isabel could no longer sit or stand, and would have to undergo occupational and physical therapy, between bouts of chemo. Sometime in the uncertain future, it was suggested, she might be able to return to the developmental stage expected of a child of her age.

When her first chemo cycle began, Isabel was ten months old and weighed only sixteen pounds. Few though they may have been, those days enabled us to project some kind of future for Isabel and our family: we scheduled her therapy appointments; we let our friends and family know which days would be good for visits; we put things down on the calendar for the upcoming couple of weeks. I prevented myself from imagining anything beyond that. The chemo cycles had an inherent repetitive structure.

The drugs were administered in the same order and were followed by the same reactions—vomiting, loss of appetite, collapse of the immune system—after which intravenous T. Then there were the transfusions, visits to the emergency room due to fever, gradual recovery measured by rising blood counts, and a few bright days at home, before beginning the next cycle. In pseudo-expert lingo, Teri and I would discuss the previous night, what was expected that day.

The human sense of comfort depends on repetitive, familiar actions—our minds and bodies strive to become accustomed to predictable circumstances. But no lasting routine could be established for Isabel. An illness like A. No amount of repetition can inure you to these things. The comfort of routines belonged to the world outside. One early morning, driving to the hospital, I saw a number of able-bodied, energetic runners progressing along Fullerton Avenue toward the sunny lakefront, and I had a strong physical sensation of being in an aquarium: I could see out, the people outside could see me if they chose to pay attention , but we were living and breathing in entirely different environments. Everything outside was not so much unreal as devoid of comprehensible substance. I had a hard time talking to well-wishers and an even harder time listening to them.

Leave this field empty if you're human:. Back To Top. In this section, we will provide information about the best ways to save money on tickets for the Aquarium of the Bay including tourist attraction passes, combo packages and other discount opportunities. Tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay are included on multiple tourist attraction discount passes. A tourist pass will allow you to save money on general admission prices at several popular destinations in San Francisco.

While most passes let you pay one flat price for dozens of activities that you can enjoy over a specific number of days, others let you choose a set number of attractions.

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In addition to providing a discount, some services also include skip-the-line privileges at certain locations. The following tourist passes include admission to the Aquarium of the Bay:. For more details on how to use them and how they work, make sure to read our post covering San Francisco tourist attraction discount passes.

Each of these combo deals will save you at least a few bucks off general admission prices on both activities. Here are the current packages available:. These are just a few of the better options, but the following packages are also offered by the Aquarium of the Bay:. For additional details, check this list of Aquarium of the Bay combo deals. Alcatraz Day Trip Combos.

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These outings are usually multiple-day excursions, and they also include a trip to Yosemite Valley. Although the day tour combo package is often readily available, the evening tour deal sells out quite frequently for months at a time. This is likely due to the fact that the evening Alcatraz tour is only offered a few times per night, making those tickets more difficult to obtain. For more details on this activity, read our post covering Alcatraz tours. This discount is available to active duty, veterans, and retirees, but it is not valid for dependents or reserve service members.

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These tickets must be purchased at one of the following locations:. If you live in one of the 9 counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, you qualify for a discount on tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay. The following rates are available for local visitors:. Discounts are automatically applied when purchasing admission from the AAA member ticket site.

This is another excellent alternative to the other discounts available on tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay.