continued from: A Baby For Jill
Yesterday, I spent the morning at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I must say, it was really good to be back in a hospital again. I bet you don’t hear that confession every day… Boy do I love and miss the hospital atmosphere! There is nothing on earth like it; noisy elevators crammed with children and their electronic devices, mothers’ shushh’ing complaints and promising rewards; harried nurses in the periphery, almost silently gliding down side hallways and back corridors with mega-coffee mugs in one hand and lunch bags in the other; a gaggle of resident physicians boisterously discussing computer technology, dressed in shining-new coats of white, moving as one collective entity – from here to there they go and then they are gone; the parents and grandmothers like myself, holding Teddy’s, blankets and other ‘loveys’, ever waiting with sleep deprived eyes and worried frowns. And yet, here in this place the very walls scream ‘come play with me’ in bright, happy primary colors bathed in light from the many sunshiny windows, which is a particularly amazing feat since I have found Pittsburgh to be very much like the gray, forever rain of England or Seattle. God must bottle up sunshine just for the Children’s Hospital.
I must be getting old or losing my mind because I didn’t remember that the Hematology clinic is nestled together with Oncology. This is the place everyone wants to avoid… except for the myriads of smiling, bald children, happily greeting the staff who work here. It is a strange juxtaposition, for cancer, especially in children is a terrifying thing. But here we are ‘hanging’ with happy people, in a happy place, waiting our turn on ward 9. Baby Groot has a blood test to take. She, like many other children with Downs has a genetic disorder called GATA1. 10-20% of other babies with Trisomy 21 are born with it, in fact obtain it in the womb and are destined to be followed by other Pediatric Hematologists, in other Children’s Hospitals around the globe. They watch for leukemia. It is a possibility. Our Groot has a 30% chance to develop it before she turns 4 years old, that is a 500 times increased risk from other kids, but we are not going to dwell on this… Oh No, we are going to live and play or play to live… as Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it’ plays on my phone, Baby Groot, Mommy, and I do exercises and tummy time. This definitely is going to be a happy place. Is that a train full of kids I hear… Toot, toot, toot they go… down the hall to another sunny room of bright color. Groot is a hit, for her happy music and our not so in-tune singing draws the staff to her and we are dancing and jamming together on ward 9. It is a good day and we are happy!
Thank you God for sunshine and happy colors, and the children on ward 9.
“This message from the LORD came to me: “I knew you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart for me before you were born…” (Jeremiah 1:4-5a)