I arrived in Denver at 8:30 PM and by the time we got to Brian and Austyn’s home, the two little ones were asleep. I began rehydrating myself (I’ve been here before, the altitude sucks all moisture out of me) and tried to follow the instructions for the following day. Austyn wrote the them on the white board on the wall in the kitchen, at the bottom of the board was written; 7:30 surgery, arrive at 6. This would be Emery’s 15th surgery. But this would be an easy one and I was there to be a distraction.
At 4-something A.M. what appeared to be a 5 year old blob crawled into my bed. We hugged and kissed and pretended that we would fall back asleep. Mom and Dad finished getting ready, they packed a “Just in Case” suitcase, dressed Emery while attempting to keep her asleep. Mom came over for one final hug and kiss and Dad instructed us that we needed to go back to sleep. The front door closed and the 5 year old blob named Liam and I stayed in bed. At 6 we threw off the covers and made our way downstairs for movies and breakfast.
7:30 finally arrived and I watch my phone and computer knowing that Austyn would be posting something. Around 7:40 I text her asking how they were doing, she responded with okay. By 8:30 the text came that it was over and Emery was doing great. I told the 5 year old and we laughed and clapped and jumped up and down. “Mom, Dad and Emery will be home before you get home from school!” We clapped some more, packed Liam’s lunch box in his back pack and headed off to school. When I returned I had a list of things I wanted to get done before the patient arrived home. First was cleaning up the kitchen. As I opened the silverware drawer this is what I saw:
Then it hit me, this is not normal. None of this is normal. Who categorizes a surgery on a 3 year old as “an easy one”? How many 5 year olds wonder if the next doctors appointment will force him to stay at grandma’s house while mom and dad figure out how to divide their time between a hospital room, work and home for an undetermined amount of time? Who has written on the a white board in the kitchen, Surgery at 7:30 arrive at 6? How many homes have an abundance of child syringes in their silverware drawer? Nope, this just isn’t normal.
We’re not alone in our journey, Children’s Hospitals around the world are filled with sick children. Children whose lives are not normal. Families who not only carry the burden of knowing what the next medical procedure will be but also the weight of how they will ever pay for it. If you know how to extend the day by about 24 hours, that would be helpful. If you know how to clone these parents so they can actually get through a day without being exhausted, that would be helpful. If you could just make their child well, or at least normal, that would be greatly appreciated.
What can you do to lighten their load – write a simple note, include some cash and mail it off to them. Don’t wait for tax deduction, or a non-profit to collect, or someone to set up a donation hot line; find a family in need and start helping! It takes cash to fill the gas tank for those doctor appointments. Medications are expensive.
If you live anywhere near normal give out of a grateful heart. Give because you are fortunate enough to not have mounting medical bills. Give because you have time in your day to sit on the sofa and watch a football game. Give because you want to help someone who didn’t ask to be dealt the hand they’ve been given. Give because you are grateful for the somewhat normal child that runs through your house and the biggest problem you face is choose where to go to eat.
Give because you care…those who live in the not-normal world will be ever so grateful…but don’t expect a thank you card, they are way too busy for that!