Thursday, October 30, 2008

October: Down syndrome Awareness Month (Post #17)- If Hospital Walls Could Speak

I  was just up at the hospital to pick up a prescription for Reid... and as I came up over the hill and began looking down at the lights of the hospital, I was flooded with a thousand different feelings, moments, and experiences that that hospital held for me within its walls. And that's just me...just imagine how many others, it is really powerful when you think of it. So many stories are held within its walls... stories of birth, and hope, but also heartache, and grief. Next to church, I would say it is where most prayers are lifted up. A place that even those not accustomed to prayer find themselves on their knees. I know I have done my share of praying within it's confines.

When I saw the lights tonight I focused in on the room that I knew to be the one Reid stayed in after his heart surgery in August of 2007. Sobering really. I was reminded of the kindness the doctors and nurses bestowed on us...and the plastic walls of Reid's crib which were plastered with pictures of him and his brother, Toby and I loving on him, and of his little friends that he had made in his 7 1/2 months of life. I was reminded of the day he was born, same floor just different wing, and the anguish I felt after hearing the news that they believed he had Down syndrome. I remember both Toby and I nearly buckling to our knees when our cardiologist who after going over Reid's heart condition and drawing diagrams began to leave the room, but decided to open the door again and stuck his head back in to say, "Congratulations". We hadn't heard that except from family...not yet, and tears began to fall. It is very fitting actually that Dr. Loo is in the heart business, he has a HUGE heart himself. You can't imagine how much we needed to hear that.

As I continued on my way tonight to run my errand, I saw the children's wing that has been under construction for quite some time and drew my eyes to the area where I knew a very special beam was placed...a beam I had signed in honor of our family and the doctors who helped Reid through surgery. It was the last beam to be placed and the hospital asked for the community to come out and sign it...we had great reason to participate as we had just brought Reid home after a 2 week stay to repair his heart. I am so glad we took the time to do that, I will always look in that direction and know that under all the plaster and paint...that steel beam has our names on one else would of known that unless I shared it...just another story that hospital holds captive.

I parked and scooted up the stairs toward the pharmacy but not before taking in the spot where the picture that is posted was taken. The morning of New Year's Eve 2006 we were bringing our baby home to continue our story (and yes...sorry east coast visitors those are indeed flip flops in the dead of winter). Our story is now 22 months in the making...and as the story goes it looks like we will make another extended stay at this particular hospital in late November or early December for heart surgery #2, one that was not anticipated and certainly not welcomed, but Reid's little body is deeming it necessary so we must.

As I write this I have two friends who have their sweet little girls in the hospital, Presley... who is fighting pneumonia and Zoey who is fighting a childhood enemy, leukemia. I ache for them, the only chapter in your child's life where a hospital should be included is the first chapter...of birth. We could do without the rest, most certainly the moms of these precious little ones would agree! Please click on their names to find your way to their blogs and...please pray for them as their stories continue to unfold. 


All 4 My Gals said...

Thank you for commenting so that I could be blessed by coming over and visiting your family. They are PRECIOUS!

Nan P. said...

Cheri, you have brought tears to my eyes. Hospitals are strange places, so full of humanity in all it's facets. And when children are concerned, it's all so much harder.

My work often takes me into them all over Dublin city, and I do believe that this particular job came my way (just 3 years ago)to prepare me to an environmnent that was virtually alien to me. I never walk into any of them, and talk to clinicians (doctors, surgeons, nurses) in the same way since Cathal's birth. I have so much admiration for these people.

Let us know more about Reid's surgery when you can. Cathal is due for THE BIG ONE in spring - he needs to strenghen up before it, as it will be a "tripple" repair. I must say that sometimes I do get panicky at the thought. And that is not like me, I am always so positive!

I'll also send good vibes to the Presley and Zoe.

Thank you for this post.

(It could almost count as 2...)

Kele said...

Were in this together girl. You know we will all be praying up a storm for Lil' Reid this winter. And I can't thank you enough for all the prayers for my Presley.

JaybirdNWA said...

What a happy little boy you have there. May the Lord bless you and your family. And may He provide continued protection for your son for this upcoming surgery.

Becca said...

Wow. Amazing memories. Brought tears to my eyes to read about the cardiologist telling you "congratulations." So much can be missed with the accompaniment of other issues, but that one word must've been so beautiful to hear. I'm sorry to hear that Reid will have to have more surgery. I'll be thinking of you guys! Samantha's heart surgery was up at Philadelphia Children's, and the doctors and staff there were really amazing--I had been expecting our hospital stay to be depressing, being in an environment of sick children, but it was truly an uplifting, positive place, to help heal the psyche as well as the body.

Jeanette said...

Wonderful post. I remember walking the halls of the hospital when our little one was in the NICU and thought to myself, "No one knows that we are worried about our baby"... then I thought "I don't know what THEY are worried about." You are right, there are hundreds of stories in those walls. We are praying for both Presley and Zoey.

Mel said...

Although we are a long way away, our experiences have been very similar. Our 3rd child Luke was born on 19th Jan 2008 and has DS. We are in the process of moving so that our precious wee man can have access to the therapy he needs. Your boys look gorgeous :)