Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 9: Georgetown Hospital

Spend a little time on the pediatric floor of any hospital, or in the pediatric intensive care unit and you'll get a refreshing jolt of what life is all about. It helps put things in perspective.

We had a delightful show in the auditorium at Georgetown University Hospital. Several of the pediatric patients were brought in, and kids from the hospital's preschool -- the Koalas -- were there.

A couple of these young patients had received intestine transplants (one of the specialties at GUH), the thought of which makes my own bowels churn. But despite the discomfort they may have been feeling and the fact that several of these kids have spent more time in hospitals in their short lives than at home, they smiled and giggled and sang along as if they weren't attached to IV poles.

After the show, I had the honor of visiting a young woman in her room because she couldn't make it down to the auditorium. She is 27-years-old and is physically and developmentally a young teenager. Her mom and dad had that deep look of love and slightly-weary-yet-fully-grateful smiles that parents of chronically ill children get. It's that look of, "I'd go to the ends of the earth for my child, but I've really about had it with these visits to the hospital." They were so appreciative to have a brief break of music and laughter.

These visits always bring me back to Willa's stay in ICU almost two years ago -- the origin of the song Let's Stick Together. Those nurses and docs who do this day after day are truly heroes. And the parents who never get a break are living saints.

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