We have lived in the hospital for 2 and a half months. People often wonder how we do it... how we manage without going crazy. This week, with the holidays, I can't tell you how many people have said something to the tune of "I'm so sorry you have to spend Christmas in the hospital." Well, to be honest, I enjoyed our Christmas in the hospital. It was festive, joyous, and we had a whole heck of a lot to celebrate. But you know what made it really special? The same people who make every day here tolerable... who have this uncanny ability to make an ICU room feel like home... the nurses.
Now I can't speak for every nurse in the world, but I can say with 100% certainty that the nurses in The Heart Center of Riley Hospital for Children are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
So to our nurses... thank you.
Thank you for listening to me,.. when I'm rambling and don't make sense, when I'm overly excited or worked up about something, when I can't seem to find the words to express what I'm feeling. You are always there to listen and I always feel heard.
Thank you for understanding my concerns and embracing my crazy. You have a special ability to talk me down from the ledge which is no easy task. You know what I'm going to say before I say it (i.e. "So how low are we going to let her sats get before we do something?" and "Are you sure we're okay with that diastolic?") You know so well that Sawyer's mommy gets nervous and anxious about every little thing, she likes to be informed, she needs to understand what's happening -- and you all embrace the crazy I bring with me.
Thank you for talking to me about good tv shows, where you went for dinner last night, your roommate's silly antics, your own kids, and the heavy metal show you went to last week. Thank you for being people I can relate to and not just medical professionals. This is my home and you are my friends and family. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about something besides heart rates and blood gases. I also super appreciate all your Netflix suggestions ;)
Thank you for bugging me to go out to dinner or go home to see my dogs. Your job is to care for my child, but you choose to also care for me. It's easy as a heart mommy to stop taking care of myself. Thank you for picking up the slack and making sure that I'm okay.
Thank you for telling it to me straight. I'm sure it's difficult to look a scared mommy in the eyes and tell her exactly what she doesn't want to hear. I'm sure it's awful trying to comfort a terrified parent as they prepare to send their child off for what is a very risky procedure. You have a special ability to tell it how it is while remaining soft and supportive.
Thank you for blowing raspberries at my child. Thank you for holding her hand. Thank you for talking to her even when she is sedated and paralyzed. Thank you for changing blowout diapers without complaint... only laughter. Thank you for every attempt to give my sweet baby some normalcy, especially in times where nothing was "normal"
Thank you for acting quickly when things go drastically wrong. It's like you have a switch to flip when things go from smooth and quiet to terrible at the drop of a hat. I have seen nurses go from having a casual conversation at the desk to pushing epi and giving compressions in a matter of seconds. You are skilled. You are rockstars. You have proven it time and time again. Oh, and hey, thanks for checking on me during and after said tragic events. Again, not your job.
Thank you for spoiling us rotten with little gifts here and there, sneaking us chocolates and snacks, and making us feel loved in various little ways. Our Christmas tree was filled this year with special ornaments from thoughtful nurses. Our hearts are filled daily when you go out of your way to perform small kindnesses.
Thank you for checking on my child on your days off. You work long days, you pick up overtime, you're constantly on your feet, and your job can be (and usually is) extremely demanding. Yet you still take the time to check Sawyer's facebook for updates or text your friend who is working that day to see how she is. When you come in days later, I attempt to give you an update, and you stop me because you already know.... well, my heart melts a little.
Thank you for loving my child as though she is your own. You show it in so many ways every single day. I can see your excitement as Sawyer makes progress and I can see your sadness when she takes steps backward. Recently, Sawyer has found her smiles. And nearly all of you have stopped in at some point to see if you can get her to smile at you. I see your eyes when you're baby talking her. I see the love. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for loving my baby.
You all joke that because you wear red, it will be Sawyer's least favorite color when she is older. But you are so wrong. You are her family and she loves you. You have saved her (more times than I care to say) and loved her. You have been by our side every step of the way. You will never know how much, and in how many ways, you are appreciated. I thank God every single day for bringing us to Riley and blessing us with the most incredible team. I believe you are all angels, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.