My two-year-old daughter was hospitalized with croup last week. It was a terrifying initiation into the world of ER trips. I was left horrified by watching my child fight for her every breath, and exhausted from the trips back and forth to the hospital as she recovered.
However, the experience, as frightening as it was, was also sprinkled with blessings. There were little rays of sunshine that broke through the clouds of fear throughout our hospital stay- plus I learned to look a little more on the bright side of things too.
It started with the PA in the urgent care clinic. She was kind, soft-spoken, and calm as she explained that she would have to call 911. She stayed with us as we waited.
Next was the ambulance ride- the EMTs had a little stuffed bear that they gave to V to hold (and keep for later). It’s hard to tell how scared she was at the time -she couldn’t talk and could barely breathe- but I’m certain that the bear was at least a little bit of a comfort for her.
One pleasant surprise was that we recognized one of the nurses working in the ER. “Hey, I know you!” she cried. We realized we knew her from a community yard sale we had both participated in. Our children had played together all that day. How nice it was to see a familiar face among a whirlwind of medical staff!
We were also incredibly grateful that we got V to the hospital when we did. Another nurse told us that she was only about 20 minutes away from needing a ventilator when we brought her in. “They only breathe like that for so long before they just stop breathing. ” I told him that I felt awful that I didn’t bring her in earlier in the day, but he replied with reassurance: “No,” he said, “You did the right thing. You did what they told you to do. You did the right thing.”
Then there were the workers from the Ronald McDonald house at the hospital- I cannot say enough about what an encouragement these ladies were. From the explanation of available services, to offering to bring V a high chair and a box of toys to play with, they were sure to keep everyone’s spirits up. One older lady representative with a missing tooth came in and told me they were bringing cheer with a gift of characteristic McDonald’s striped socks for V. “Praise God she’s getting better!” she cried, and threw her arms around my neck. I nearly cried because it was just what I needed at the moment.
While we didn’t need to make use of the Ronald McDonald house itself, the charity also provided a lounge on the pediatric unit for families of sick children. They had a kitchen area stocked with convenience meals and a comfortable living room area to rest in. I got to nurse the baby in that room (she wasn’t allowed in V’s room) and the available food right down the hall kept us from having to leave V for any length of time.
The pediatric unit was beautiful, and the staff was so good with V. They even had a little playroom for children to use when they were feeling up to it. I cannot say enough good things about how kind and compassionate everyone was when caring for her.
The whole thing made me realize how good we have it. V was only hospitalized for two days. Two days! I have friends who have had their babies in the hospital for weeks, even months on end. And beyond that, I have three normally healthy children. How blessed we are that our need for medical help was relatively short-lived.
Finally, there was lots of help and offers of help from our family and friends. It was so nice to know that our other children were being cared for while my husband and I took shifts at the hospital. We couldn’t have done it without the help we had.
I’m not trying to be over-dramatic by recounting the events in such detail. However, I think it’s worth noting how God provided such specific encouragement throughout our hospital stay. I was so incredibly grateful for each little blessing when I was feeling so strung out and worried.
Oh- and our little one is doing SO much better now. You’d never be able to know it happened at all. 🙂