My little boy was recently ill, and as any parent of a small child knows the probability of this happening over a weekend is very high. So it was off to the hospital on a Saturday morning to wait and see the paediatrician on call.
It was actually the first time I had been into the children’s ward at the hospital. Although it was cheerily decorated with red and blue sailboat linen while painted fishes and dolphins adorned the hallway walls and a goldfish happily swum to and fro through the rising bubbles in a tank on the counter, I still could not help feeling my heart sink right down into the soles of my shoes.
In one room the beds had rails to help the kiddies sleep safely, while another room housed a number of cots for the smaller ones visiting. Next to each bed or cot was a chair that converted into a bed for mom or dad to sleep on in order to look over their sick children during their stay. A few of the beds and cots were occupied with little people, while one boy was happy to be going home that day, another little girl ran up the passage singing a tune from Doc McStuffins while a nurse lazily chased her back into her bed. There were of course also plenty of tears as parents tried to reassure or distract.
Looking around and taking this all in, I sucked my breath in really hard and fought back tears of my own. How blessed were we to have a three year old little girl and to date we have never had to spend a night with her in the hospital? Yes, we have had hard times with sleepless nights, musical beds, medicine given to an unwilling patient, arms held for examinations, and even x-rays and blood tests. But we have never had to actually admit her to hospital and see her experience this.
The paediatrician examined our little boy and we were given the all clear, just some medicine required, no need for any time in the hospital. The terror that had been building in my stomach finally settled as we left the ward, happy to be taking our little person home to make him feel better in his own bed.
Even though we had visited the hospital with a sick child that day, it was clear that there were so many children that were much more sick than our two have ever been. Children fighting terrible diseases like cancer, parents facing impossible choices to do whatever it takes to save them, and both parents and children being so brave to walk the path which life has handed to them together.
Hug your child a little closer, give them an extra kiss, and know how truly blessed you are to have healthy children today.