Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Magic Kingdom

As I have written before I work in a hospital for children with developmental disabilities.  Over the years I have seen so many children benefit from the services we provide. 

I remember one little boy who was about 4 years old.  He came to the hospital unable to speak English by way of his uncle.  The uncle was living in Oklahoma but the child's parents were still living in another country.  I can't remember now where he was from.  Anyway, by allowing the uncle to have temporary custody of the child we were able to admit him to our hospital for treatment. (It was a kind of bend the rules kind of thing in order to help a child).

When the little guy came to us he was unable to walk.  But he had the cute factor working for him and of course everyone fell in love with him.  I can only imagine how hard it was for his mother to send him so far away.  The little guy was with us for several months.  He picked up English at a rapid rate and before long he was walking with the help of AFO's (braces).

I remember the day his mother was to arrive to see him and take him home.  Everyone was excited to see what her reaction would be when she saw her little boy walk for the first time.

As soon as the mother arrived she had no more stepped into the lobby when they brought her little guy to the end of the hall and he walked to his mother.  He was beaming from ear to ear while his mother wept.   There wasn't a dry eye in the place including mine.  That was 25 years ago.  That little boy is a grown man now.

Before we built our new hospital 10 years ago the administration offices were right in the middle of the hospital and we were able to interact with the children.   The older kids would pop into our offices during the day when they were not in school or therapy.

At our current hospital the children live in hospital units, which are regular homes that have 6 children in each.  Each house has a fully equipped nurse's station and an exam room.  

Administrative offices are in a separate building along with the therapies.  The rehab. wing is across the hall from us so we still see the kids when they come over to attend therapy but they don't have the opportunity to just come in and hang out.  So, the downside is we don't get to know the kids as well as we could in the old hospital.

I think everyone who has worked here has fallen in love with a child at one time or another.  Many of our staff have become foster parents or adoptive parents of children that were in state custody.  About two years ago one of our speech pathologists adopted two children.

My second year here I fell in love with a little girl named Stephanie.  She was barely a year old.  She was blind, autistic and MR.  Every chance I got I'd go get her and bring her to my office where she'd sit in my lap and I'd play my Mickey Mouse musical watch for her.  She loved it.  She was a twin but her twin brother had no issues.  The mom was overwhelmed and had not bonded with her daughter.  She had 6 other children and was struggling with making a decision to give her daughter up for adoption.  I wanted so much to adopt this little girl even though I knew it was the most impractical thing I could even consider.  I was already a single mother of two and I knew someone else could give her more than I had to offer.  But fortunately, with a great deal of support from her doctor and our staff, the mother overcame her fear and took her little girl home.   She is now in her twenties.  She remained an outpatient and we were able to watch her grow up.

So many children...........this has been the most wonderful place to work.  I'm going to leave here with memories to last a life time.


Olga Hebert said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories.

Aunt Betsy said...

Made me cry. I bet you have hundreds of wonderful memories.

Deb said...

This brought back lovely memories. I worked a newborn & pediatric unit and like you we all fell in love with some patients.

Thanks for the beautiful story.