People Watching at the Children’s Hospital

Dear Reader,

My son who has had daily headaches for six months now finally went to see a new neurologist this week. This was an appointment we had made 6 or 8 weeks ago and had been anxiously awaiting. The appointment was at 8:30 am and near the big city (Boston) so we left really early to avoid traffic. Which of course meant that we had oodles of time to waste before my son’s appointment. But we had brought books so he and I settled down in chairs near the entrance to wait for a while.

Now I should say that this facility, while affiliated with a major Children’s Hospital is not actually a hospital but a satellite clinic. It does contain lots of different doctors from lots of specialties though.

The first sorts of people to come in were employees scurrying off to their offices. And then slowly patients and their parents began to enter. Some were confident and clearly knew where they were going. They did not seem stressed or overly hurried and presumably appointments here were a regular part of their routine.

And then there were the parents who looked overwhelmed. They looked around a lot more and more often than not stopped by the information desk for directions. Many were pushing strollers or carriages. And I wondered what sorts of specialists all these tiny people were seeing today.

And I remembered what it was like for us when one of our children got their first serious illness. My daughter was only 19 months old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I think we probably looked way more overwhelmed than most of these parents when we went to her first appointments after being released from the hospital.

But now I don’t feel sorry for us anymore. Even though the words “pediatric neurologist” just seem like they shouldn’t have to exist, we have come to terms with our children’s health issues. Not to say that we are happy with them but that initial shock has worn off. It is cliché to say “I don’t care if it is a boy or a girl so long as her or she is healthy.” But what about if he or she isn’t healthy? What then? Is it still okay? How do you deal with it? Maybe others are not phased by such things but for me a big part of my daughter;s diagnosis was just coming to terms with the fact that my child had a chronic illness, something that will not go away.

And now, it is kind of okay. Not that I wouldn’t do away with the medical conditions if I could. Not that they aren’t bad. But I can accept the fact that my kids aren’t physically perfect. That’s not so important anymore.

I hope also those other rushed parents, particularly the ones with baby carriers, feel the same way.


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