It’s been almost a year exactly that Greta had half of her thyroid removed, and each and every day I am grateful to the doctors and modern medicine that ensured my daughter could live a healthy life. It’s true what they say, you never value something quite the same until you’ve lost it. Food to eat, your home, a friend, even your child’s health. That picture above shows a beautiful scar healing on Greta’s neck, a scar that reminds me each and every time I see it what a gift she is to us.
When I was asked to write about our children’s hospital emergency room visit which led to that scar above, I thought at first, ‘No thank you, I do not want to revisit that time of uncertainty and pain.’ But then I kept thinking about the gratitude and appreciation I have for the hospital, the ENT doctor on call, for those emergency room nurses, and for the moment we met the surgeon who would later hand me back my daughter to take home.
I can only imagine the mess we appeared to the staff in that emergency room. Bloodshot eyes from dealing with little sleep for several weeks, a nervousness and anxiety unparalleled because we had no idea what we were stepping into. We had been seeing our ENT for an infection in Greta’s neck. She was born with a cyst, one that they found during our 20 week ultrasound. We never thought much about the cyst, we knew it was there, but out of sight out of mind. It caused no trouble, so we didn’t pay it much attention. It had suddenly become infected and the treatments and procedures our ENT had tried were unsuccessful. He looked at us that morning and we knew we would have to be admitted to the ER for more aggressive help.
We walked into that emergency room knowing that we were going to be there until the infection was gone, not sure what that would entail, or how long we would be there. We just knew that it was in their hands to make her well. And we knew we were all going to go through this together, because when a child is ill, well, the mama is ill too.
The nurses were incredible; Greta’s comfort and happiness were their main goals. I think they knew we were going to be there for a while, at least until the on call pediatric ENT doctor could examine her, review all our records from our previous doctor, and then consult with his boss on how to proceed. The nurses brought her little gifts, offered movies to watch, and most of all they were a support to us. They also knew we needed a lot of emotional support. When my dad showed up at the ER check in station, he was immediately brought back to be with us. And later, when my brother in law came, he too was brought to us, no questions asked, no statements about how long they could stay. They shared happiness with us, because we had loved ones there to hug and familiar shoulders we could cry on.
When I drive by that hospital now, I get tearful of the time we spent there; I recall the nights in her hospital bed watching the antibiotics slowly drip into her IV, I see the parking spaces outside the ER where the nice valet man let us park for well beyond what we probably were allowed, the extra pillows and blankets the nurses brought me because they just knew this mama wasn’t going to be leaving without her daughter. But more than all that, I feel my heart grow a little as I drive by because I remember walking down the hallway with Greta’s hand in mind when she was well enough to leave. We were leaving with a scar, but we discovered not all scars are bad.