Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I'm not sure that it would be an exaggeration to say that the doctors and nurses who treated Beckett in the ER on Friday saved his life. I know they told me that if I had not brought him in when I did he would have stopped breathing. Pretty scary.

I'm thankful it's over, but the whole experience made me see how lucky I am...how many truly wonderful blessings there are in my life, my sons and husband chief among them.

It also made me deeply appreciative of the fact that I live in a city that boasts not just one, but three, children's hospitals. Amazing.

I guess technically, now, there are really just three different campuses belonging to the same hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. However, each facility began as a unique children's hospital or medical program in its own right. Egleston was your basic children's hospital that was founded by a wealthy man who was his mother's only surviving child, his four siblings succumbing to early childhood diseases. Hughes Spalding was a hospital for the children of African-American families who could afford to pay for healthcare; and Scottish Rite began as a rehabilitation facility for children of all races whose families could not afford long stays in other hospitals.

Few places actually even have a dedicated children's hospital, leaving kids to receive treatment from doctors and nurses who aren't always trained to treat their small patients.

Both of my boys have been treated in the Egleston ER now and Brendan has had surgery at Scottish Rite. I can't imagine their having to go through that at a hospital catering to adults. It's such a scary thing, yet all the caregivers at Children's really are focused on helping the children through the process. And their parents as well.

I don't think I dealt with one person, from the intake coordinators to the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists, who was impatient, short-tempered, or ugly. I certainly have met doctors, nurses and others like that in the hospitals I've been in as a patient. It was so calming and refreshing not to have to deal with anything extraneous when my son was sick.

I hope we never have cause to visit Children's again. But, I'm very glad to know it's there. I'm also glad to know that it's there even for families who cannot afford routine healthcare. We're very fortunate to have insurance; not everyone is. And for those families, Children's provides close to $80 million a year in medical care that it doesn't recover.

When she was sitting with me in the ER the other day, the hospital chaplain suggested I remember the words of the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus as a comfort while sitting with my sick child.

I say, what a friend we have in Children's.


Rich | Championable said...

Holy smokes. I'm glad Beckett is okay. My son was in the hospital a few years ago... he played Nintendo 64 the whole time. And when we were driving away he looked up, sighed, and said:

"Somewhere in that hotel... is my room."

dawn said...

I love kids. Man...they can be so strong and resilient and funny.