This is not serious. While this post is more serious than usual, our current health saga is not. Rest assured for anyone who heard we’ve been hanging out at the hospital (or is hearing it for the first time), this is no big deal.
But it’s been a pain in every sense of the word.
It’s our son’s third day in a hospital and 11th since we started dealing with the angry toothache that got us here. What began as a minor filling six months ago, became a massive root canal that should have been treated last week. Except there is swelling that won’t go down, even on antibiotics. So here we are for now. I’ll spare you the details.
We’ve learned a few things along the way, though, and they’re worth sharing here.
- Count your blessings. We know this is true, but there is nothing like spending a few days on a children’s hospital ward to remind us to take nothing for granted. Our son couldn’t eat today or yesterday until 3PM. Another kid in the teen room told him, “That’s nothin’. I haven’t been allowed to eat since last week.” Another guy got to be bat boy for the Cubs and meet all the players. It was pretty obvious this kid has spent a lot of time at the hospital and has a long road ahead.
- Give back. Did you know there exists an army of people devoted to easing sick kids’
fear and pain? Of course there are nurses, doctors and staff taking care of physical needs, but everyone has worked extra hard to ensure our son feels safe and secure. There are teen coordinators whose sole job is to keep teens busy and happy. They’re charged with delivering devices, toys and games and hanging out with teens. There are art therapists with full carts to make any Pinterest mom drool. And the volunteers? People come here every week just to help, bringing whatever talents they have. Volunteers deliver toys, crochet blankets and show up every week to do bedside magic shows. Every day there are dozens of them in just this one hospital. It feels like there’s a lot of darkness in the world right now, but there’s a whole lot of light on the hospital children’s ward. God knows we need more good souls these days.
- Don’t bother asking why. When you’re the unlucky one whose standard medical ailment goes awry, it’s easy to ask, “Why me?” Of course our son did–he’s 11. But I’ve had to interview dozens of healthcare workers in my marketing work, and nearly all of them enter the field because of a nurse or therapist who mattered. I don’t know much, but I know this truth: all of our experiences add up to who we become.