Click...I unsnapped Corbin's car seat and he quickly swooped his arms around to play with the red button on the buckle. He was completely starving, tired, and oblivious. I wrapped him in Big Blue so he wouldn't catch a cold and we headed towards the hospital. It was so different, but exactly the same. As the doors parted to allow us into the bright lobby, I noticed a volunteer getting a tour....the irony was definitely not lost on me. We made our way under the waves of iron cascading from the ceiling with tiny crystals...dreamcatchers...dangling in the light. "Last name"...Bray..."First name"...Corbin..."Has he ever been here before?"....no.
But we had. Just before I got pregnant, Richard and I began volunteering at this very hospital. I rocked the babies in the PACU and he helped cheer up the sick kids. We wanted to give back some of our time and also share in an experience we believed would bring us closer together...help us appreciate all the gifts we had. I remember going in one Friday night and comforting a very tiny newborn. He was covered from head to toe in Vaseline. There was a stack of Vaseline containers against the wall next to his bassinet with a sign instructing the nurses to only use them on him. He had a congenital skin disorder that caused his skin to just flake off. Without the Vaseline, it would be painful. No one was allowed to use his Vaseline because the parents could not afford it and were frantically taking donations so that they could care for their new baby. I can't remember his name, but I'll never forget his face. On the other side of the hospital, Richard had seen a little girl, around 2, sitting on a nurse's lap at the station. Katie Bug. She was playing with the screen in front of her...helping the nurse take her white blood cell count. She knew exactly what to do...all she wanted to do was play with the other kids in the toy room, but unfortunately, her count wasn't high enough.
By no means am I trying to compare our situation to these, but it just felt ironic that I could suddenly understand the worry these parents must have felt. We checked Corbin in and waited. He cruised around the lobby...kissing the stuffed animals in the gift shop and banging on the glass at the cars outside. Finally they took us up. We walked and walked and walked...went through several doors with keypad locks...and made our way to a door with a sign reading "endoscopy" on the outside. I didn't expect to walk into THE room. But we did..machines everywhere, nurses everywhere, and a tiny TV playing cartoons to distract Corbin. We soon found out that we had to stay while they put him to sleep and then we would be escorted back to the waiting area while the procedure was performed. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I won't describe it..I'll spare you the details..but I will say that we both cried the entire time...words can't describe the image, especially when its your child. The procedure took about 45 minutes and then the doc came to talk to us. He was anything, but sensitive. Probing on why we saw an allergist, why we thought there was a problem. I left feeling as though I might just be imagining Corbin's issues. Gotta love doctors with great bedside manner. Turns out that everything was normal, no tissue damage and no sign of anything out of place...but we are still waiting on the biopsy results. He was confident it would come back normal and we should just keep giving him different foods to see if he has a reaction...and if he does, just keep giving that particular food to him to see if he gets used to it. Must be easy to say when he's not your child.
We went to recovery, where Corbin was understandably screaming and fed him. He ate just like normal and once he was all dressed in his favorite PJs, he was a happy boy. We took him home and it was as if it never happened. He was happy, took naps, ate like a champ...he was a lil' trooper. Seeing us now, you would never know. Seeing Katie Bug's parents...you would have no idea. I've become so aware of the people around me...wondering what their personal struggles are. Could they have a baby at Levine's? Could they have just lost their job and worried about how to feed their family? I saw a woman yell at a cashier yesterday at our grocery store because she wasn't moving fast enough. What if that cashier went to see her sick child before her shift? Would that have ever crossed this woman's mind? Probably not. I wish that woman had seen Katie Bug. It's funny how the smallest thing you say to someone could make or break them...people you don't even know. As we walked out of that hospital that day, we both needed a small pat on the back. We came home to a nice meal from my mom and a good friend's company that night. She'll never know it, but her words will stay with me for a very long time. Life's funny like that. No one is aware of their true impact. I try to tell people when they look nice....when they've said something funny...when they've helped me through another day. Actions may speak louder than words, but sometimes the words are what help us get back up the next day.