I teared up in the cardiologist’s office this morning. My daughter got a wonderful report on her heart repair. Reflecting on where we were throughout this year, hearing the report today, I felt so grateful. It looks so good, and her cardiologist said she doesn’t need to be seen for six months! For someone who has seen a cardiologist every other month (at least) since she was in utero, this was a big deal.
Last night I was reflecting on an experience I had last week: I drove up to the children’s hospital at shift change and watched a group of nurses and PCAs cross the street and go into the building. I felt a huge rush of love for them. I didn’t know any of them personally, but in the last year I have met many like them. And I am incredibly grateful for the work they do.
So when my daughter’s cardiologist gave me such good news today, I couldn’t help tearing up, thanking her profusely for the wonderful care that my daughter has gotten in the hospital. Her doctor said she would miss her over the next six months. And I told the doctor that I do miss interacting with everyone at the hospital. She said, “When you’ve spent as much time here as you have this year, I could see how you would miss that. It’s like a second home you didn’t want.”
And I told her that everyone there makes it a pretty good home anyway. I know my experience at the hospital is an isolated one. Hospitals can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many people. And that’s valid. But today I just want to talk about the good. Because as I watched the health care workers last week and thought about them this morning, I thought that maybe I don’t thank them enough. Maybe in all of the stress and tension, I forget to be grateful. Grateful and kind. And they have poured kindness into my family this year.
Thank-you to the Healers
There’s a parking manager, an older gentleman. He has the best smile. And he remembers me. When he saw me today (for the first time in probably two months or more), he greeted me with a knowing smile and a “Hi, how are you?” and asked if I came for a visit. He is the sweetest man and it was such a light to start my hospital hours with him every morning.
There’s an occupational therapist who I hit it off with right away. In a life where we lived next door to each other, we would be best friends. I’m so glad I met her in the NICU. My daughter failed a swallow study that most of us expected her to pass. And that was right after it was decided to keep her in the NICU, despite having planned for her to go home the day before. This friend called me to give me the news and to see how I was doing. Reflecting on her kindness still brings a peaceful feeling to my heart.
There’s a woman who sits at the front desk and helps everyone get where they need to go. I was snappy with her the day my daughter had heart surgery. I was anxious to see my daughter and the floor was slow to update the information in the computer that would allow us into her unit. That woman still sits there every day, showing people where to go, and showing kindness and compassion to frustrated mothers and fathers.
There’s a doctor who came into my daughter’s room in the NICU after a really rough night and told me (in essence) that I needed to accept that my daughter’s first few months of life were not going to look like I imagined. She buoyed me up by exuding her confidence that I could be the mother my daughter needed–one who wasn’t afraid of her health being touch and go until her heart could be repaired.
And there are thousands of nurses in that children’s hospital downtown. They are each unique and wonderful. Reflecting on them I realize that to list them all and their many good acts would be impossible. They are the lifeblood of the hospital. They are consistently watchful, tirelessly giving necessary care: working between the parents and the doctors, making sure everything is taken care of, explaining to parents while executing doctors’ orders, comforting patients and their loved ones, and never giving up. The push through hard days, difficult patients, and exhausting conditions. I am so grateful for them and their continual smiles and kindness.
Reflecting on all these people, I am amazed. They are truly selfless and strong. And they have wrought a miracle this year. They have healed a broken heart.
The Master Healer
And it reminds me of the Master Healer. The one through whom healing is possible. The Giver of all good gifts. Through Him all blessings flow. He has mended my broken heart again and again this year. Often He works through others. He is everything. And it is because of Him that I sat in the doctor’s office this morning, cradling my little girl with her nearly perfect heart and marveled at the goodness of those who practice the healer’s art.