Today at work, our PR lady, Joann interviewed me about all that was going on in my life because she wants to publish an article in the Texas Medical Center Newspaper. When I was talking to her, we both became a little emotional and it made me start thinking about all the wonderful people in my life and just how blessed I have been by my friends and family. So, throughout this blog, I hope to mention all the amazing people in my life when they come across my mind. But, I think I'll pick-up where I left off.....
I loved all my clinical experiences during nursing school, which made it kinda hard to pick what I was going to specialize in when I graduated. THEN, I did my PEDI clinicals at Shriners Burn Hospital for Children in Galveston upon the recommendation from my cousin Karen. She knew that I would love this place. My heart was instantly in love. I was at a place where you couldn't tell which race a child was, until you met their parents. All the children were bald because the scalp is one of the best places to take donor skin from and it heals quickly, so usually upon admission, we would shave their heads in preparation for their upcoming surgery. The rooms were hot, the wounds were hard to look at, the parents were devastated, the children were amazing and resilient. I learned so much about life on this unit. I will never forget the gut-wrenching cries that a mother would let out when her child had died, it is a sound I never want to hear again. I will never forget all the selfless people that work there. I will never forget watching patients that were 99% burned walk out of our hospital. I witnessed miracles everyday. I would often call my mom when I was on my way home from work and I would just sob. I didn't understand why these kids had to suffer so much. It was heartbreaking and rewarding all at the same time. There will always be a few patients that I will never be able to forget.
Two patients in particular taught me about a mother's love, it is like no other. One patient was extremely sick during Christmas time, which makes the situation even more depressing. This patient didn't have good odds, and one of the doctor's on Christmas day told me to call the priest because this kid would be dead before the day was up. I tend to get a little feisty (most of you are familiar with this), and I said, "No sir, I will not be calling a priest, this kid will not be dying today because he has presents to open." You see, his mother had all the Christmas presents she had bought him shipped to our hospital and she would remind him daily that Christmas was coming and how much he was going to love his presents. This mother never gave-up, she never lost her hope. Hope is one of the most powerful things in this world, you just can't lose it. I am proud to tell you that a priest never had to come because he recovered and is living a happy life today. I witnessed a true miracle that Christmas season watching him beat the odds and prove every human doctor wrong, the mighty physician upstairs had a different plan for his life. I watched this patient's mother look at her son every day and no words can express how much love she felt for her child, she would give her life in the blink of an eye to save her son.
The other patient was very sick, but his mother also never gave-up hope. On Mother's Day of this particular year, it was found that the patient had become blind. I listened with tears in my eyes as the doctor delivered this news to the mother. Without hesitating, this mother said, "Can I give him my eyes?" I had to leave the room to go and sob in the bathroom. I had a glimpse of the love Christ has for each of us, and I realized how much my own mother loved me. I called her just a balling and thanked her for loving me so much. You see, my mom would lay down and give me her liver this very minute if she could, she cries more than I do, and me leaving this earth would hurt her deeply. Strangely enough, this is one of the best mother's days I had ever had, I finally "got it," and I realized that I wanted to be a mother with all that I am. I wanted to have this bond, I was full of love to give to a baby, and I yearned to love a baby the way my mother has loved me. I still couldn't believe that this mother said EYES, not one eye, both of her eyes. She was willing to be completely blind so that her son could see. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later, her child needed to go on dialysis because the patient's kidneys were no longer functioning. Again, this mother asked, "Can I give him my kidneys?" Wow, what a woman. This mother and patient could not have been more different from me, we had very different religious beliefs, different languages, different race, different beliefs on marriage, the list goes on, but at the same time I could totally see how we were the same. Love knows no boundaries. I have never told anyone this, but on the day that my son Benjamin died, I kept seeing this patient and his mother's face in my mind, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I wanted to write this mother and tell her, thank you for making me want to be a mom so bad, even if it was only for three days, it was the best three days of my life and it was well worth it. I am proud to be the mother of Ben and Jacob. I would have given my life in exchange for theirs, this I know.
Switching hospitals to the Houston Shriners Hospital where we do orthopaedic surgery and therapy, I learn a ton from these families too. So many of them were born at 27 weeks gestation like my boys, and many of them have cerebral palsy. I am blessed to know some amazing families and parents that handle having a child with special needs flawlessly. I had one patient that I took care of a couple of years ago, and I miss taking care of this family a lot, but they heard about my need for a liver transplant. They contacted a church friend that sent Paul, Thomas, and myself these prayer shawls that are meant to feel like "Jesus is hugging you," when you need a hug. They are so kind. This same family made a donation to Shriners in Ben and Jacob's names after they passed. These people are amazing and I only know them because I was their child's nurse. If you think the world is only full of badness, think again, the world is packed full of compassionate, loving, kind, giving, accepting people. Don't let the nightly news get you down. Sometimes I want to start my own news broadcast about good things going on. There are days where I really miss Marvin Zindler.
More to come later. Thanks for reading.