Chloe and I are home from the hospital! Woo-hoo! She was dismissed shortly before noon yesterday and we made it home just in time to eat a delicious pasta lunch provided kindly by some friends from our church. These first two pictures were taken while we were still at the hospital, though--check out that awesome playroom!
I mentioned before (maybe) that we were put on the oncology floor because they were out of rooms when Chloe came out of surgery early Wednesday morning. As I spoke with several nurses about the condition of most kids on our floor, it was just heartbreaking to realize that many of them are in the hospital for 30-60 days. The children specifically in our hallway were there for bone marrow transplants as last-ditch efforts to beat cancer. They could not come out of their rooms and only one parent at a time could go in. They live for that time in almost complete isolation and because they have no immunity, they feel absolutely terrible. One nurse told me she has seen 16 year olds with bedsores because they don't want to get up, they don't want anyone to bother them, they want the lights off and the room quiet and just to be left alone. It is not a fun treatment, but it is endured in the hope of saving those lives. But remember, they're just children. For a child to be going through an experience like that is simply heartwrenching.
In light of all of that, I was so impressed with all that the hospital provided to try and make the experience a bit better for the kids. There was a lovely family lounge with a variety of toys and a working kitchen to help life feel more "normal." There was a patients-only playroom with TONS of toys where NO medical treatment could take place--a safe place to play. Chloe enjoyed it for a brief moment before we were released yesterday, especially that red tricycle! There was a nourishment room with popsicles, graham crackers, etc that I could get for Chloe whenever she needed them. A music therapist and art therapist made regular rounds. Everything was brightly painted and clean and comfortable. A child life specialist came by and asked what Chloe would like to play with--would she like to do beads, or play with clay, or do a sand art, it was amazing! One morning "Jarret's Joy Cart" came by. . . this is a ministry started by a little boy who had cancer and had a vision to provide toys for children who were sick like he was. So now the cart (fully stocked with super-fun toys, it looked like a toy shop on wheels!) makes the rounds occasionally and the patients can choose something. All of those things are meant to make a potentially unbearable time more bearable. Being there was a good reminder to me that Chloe's illness, though sudden and somewhat shocking, was truly a very small thing compared to what a lot of those kids were facing.
Our life and hospital experience in Asia was so different. Not just the cleanliness and external factors (decorations and amenities) but especially the underlying compassion that seemed to motivate the nurses and doctors that helped us. I understand that hospitals are big business, but honestly I felt that they were genuinely concerned for Chloe and interested in her health and well-being. That level of caring for the patient as an individual feels so unusual after the experiences in hospitals that I had in Asia. I am sure that many of the nurses we encountered this week were Christians, but I am also sure that odds are, many also were not. But there is something to be very thankful for in American culture that there are still some remnants of Christian values underlying our medical care so that people are treated with dignity, kindness and respect, attempting to help the sick recover. Good medical care of this kind surely reflects the Lord's compassionate heart. This kind of attitude from doctors and nurses is a true blessing from Him! I felt we were very blessed through this experience!
Well, enough pontificating! Here's Chloe enjoying the tricycle and her new stuffed pony from the B family:
And, here's hoping for a "normal" week this week! (Does such a thing exist?) Well, whatever comes, I am trusting that it comes to me through the hands of my loving Father and is all for my good. Trusting Him but glad to have last week behind us, too! Thank you Lord for watching over Chloe and healing her!