The past few years, I’ve spent far more time than I would ever hope for at our children’s hospital. But every time I’m there, I find myself completely humbled. And grateful. I watch parents walking their kids down the hall. But instead of holding that sweet chubby hand, they’re pushing an IV cart. And instead of heading out to the parking lot to take their baby home, they’re coming back in with another week’s worth of clothes.
Last week we were back. Little had testing to do that we’d been looking forward to since he was a week old. Back then was rushed to ER and admitted to the NICU with RSV. They coincidentally discovered he has VUR. (I think the acronyms are supposed to make things less intimidating, but as a parent it just makes you feel even more helpless that you can’t pronounce your own baby’s conditions.)
Since that week spent in the NICU, Little has taken a small dose of antibiotics every day of his life to reduce his risk of a kidney infection. (Yes, we considered this carefully, looked into alternative treatments, you name it, but we decided to follow our doctor’s advice given the high grade of his reflux. Being treated at a world-class hospital certainly helps instill confidence in your doctors.)
This was the day we would find out if we could finally set him free (that his kidneys had matured and self corrected) or that he would likely need surgery to correct the problem (which they anticipated due to the severity of his case).
As I walked through the halls of the hospital, I couldn’t hold back the tears. But it wasn’t thoughts of surgery—or even potty training this 19-month-old firecracker (which was the first step if he still had the reflux)—that had me coming undone. It was thoughts of my friend at another children’s hospital not too far away. You see, she had rushed her sweet little boy into the hospital a few days earlier and I knew he was in the midst of testing that was far more serious than anything we were dealing with. I couldn’t help but see their faces in the families I saw everywhere fighting quiet battles.
We were lucky. The tests (which involved us pinning him down to a table screaming while doctors put things in places nobody should) showed that Little’s reflux was gone. His body did the work for him.
My friend wasn’t as lucky. The tests (which were even more invasive than Little’s) showed that her little boy has Leukemia. His body is working against him.
I can’t explain why things work out the way they do. But I do know that I admire the positive attitude my friend and her family have had this past week as they’ve figured out how to manage a new way of life. I just ask that you send thoughts and prayers their way. And give your kids an extra tight hug today. Because we’re all so blessed for the time that we have with these precious little ones.