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A cause near and dear to my heart <3

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February 14, 2013 by vlittle528

This year I am taking a chance and making a real effort to raise funds for 36 hours for kids. Macaroni Kid and Children’s Hospital could really use your support to make this the best year yet! If you want to join our team, or simply donate, please visit HERE to do so! And thank you so very much!
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Two years ago, an annual event became even closer to my heart. Every year since my son had his surgeries at Children’s Hospital, we have joined Alice 105.9’s 36 hours for Kids marathon. My kids proudly take their money and put it in the piggy bank and we listen and watch (and cry) for a little while. And let’s not lie, I have a lookie-loo or two at Steve, who I was immediately fond of after he played with my son the first year we went. The second year, he remembered my son, and they gave little fist bumps or whatever and I thought it was too cute. And yes, my husband is aware of my little mini-crush. Anyway, back to topic at hand.

THE KIDS! The brave, strong and courageous patients at Children’s hospital in Denver. I have done what I can through the years. I have made them holiday treats and Halloween favors, and we always join the radiothon. I don’t do it to be able to say I did, or for the tax deduction or for any other reason than they deserve it. And it feels good. I can’t think of any cause that is more deserving (and more symbolic) of hope and miracles. Children’s hospital has touched my life (and the lives of many of my friends) in more ways than I can list.

So many things happen each day behind those doors. Did you stop to think about victims that may have been treated there after the Aurora Shooting? Have you thought about how many nurses have had their hearts stolen from a sweet angel, only to have to watch them die? Or on the positive side, how many doctors took a chance, hoped for a miracle, and watched their patient walk out of doors they never thought they would? Did you stop to think about the nurses and doctors in the ER who see so many passed out moms that they actually have staff on just for that? Yeah, don’t ask how I know that.

Back to the beginning. Two years ago as I was listening to a heart-breaking story, I glanced up to see a fellow blogger who looked simply exhausted and torn down. I asked her what she was doing there, figuring she was covering the event, when she said her son was having a surgery. She walked away, and as she did I saw her pull her shoulders up a bit before getting on the elevators. To me, she represents strength and determination, though to what extent she will never know. And I will never really be able to tell her because she doesn’t see herself that way. She just does what she does for her family. Looking at the elevator she just got on, I pulled out my last five dollars that we were going to use for McDonalds and put it in the piggy bank. She may not let me bring HER Mcdonalds, but it will get to her in some way.

My mind will never forget that first time I left my son under anesthesia. My heart physically hurt as he cried into silence, my husband pulling me away. I fretted and prayed. I thought it couldn’t get worse. But it did. Watching his sweet and trusting eyes silently asking me why, why was I hurting him this way nearly broke me. I felt his pain, I took it in myself in a way I think only a mother can. But it still wasn’t enough.

And the next time we were there, I quietly rested on a hospital bed next to his. I was eight months pregnant and exhausted but he thought he was on an adventure that I kept calling a sleep study. I listened to him breath like he did every night since birth. I listened to him stop every hour. I listened to him snort and start again, like I did every night for almost two years. And then I watched a team rush in frantically and set him up on tubes and tell me about warning signs and the doctor would be in and not to take him off the oxygen. I left the hospital with another surgery scheduled and a tank of oxygen. I learned my son had apnea worse than a 90 year old man and stopped breathing for various amounts of times at least ten times an hour.  I didn’t sleep for a week, even less than I used to. I kept wondering if every night was the last. I wondered how we managed to keep him this long.

The next visit was full of prayer that it worked. And when I heard the receptionist call my name in the middle of the surgery, for a second, a split second in time, I almost fainted thinking they lost him. But no…they had found the real problem and needed my permission to fix it. Yes please. And now my son is healthy. Healthy, happy and sleeping thanks to Dr. Stevens and Dr. Friedman.

And then there were the smaller scares. The crinkle cut fry that got caught in my son’s throat. The spray and wash that burned his little eyes. The dog bite under my daughter’s eye (that you can’t even see they did such a good job stitching it up). There was the ER visit after an airplane ride gone bad had cut the back of my daughter’s head open (you can read about that story here). The caring, kind, and understanding staff was beyond amazing. Though I really am sick of being the one waking up in a too-short bed wondering how I got there, I am grateful that they bothered to catch me and put me there. I even went there earlier in the year with my nephew when he got bit by a dog. They have a great staff member there that assists in distracting little kids from what is going on. They explain the procedure to them, and then help distract them with games and other means. I wish they had this as a night-service if I ever need it again. Maybe after this fundraiser they will (fingers crossed). It saddens me that my daughter has been there often enough that she reminded the ER doctor that he was supposed to give her a popsicle AND a toy. But I am extremely grateful for the popsicle and toy, I am grateful that we don’t feel scared when we have to go there. We feel comfortable, we feel secure, and we feel taken care of.

There are things you never know, you will never see, unless you stay at the hospital. Things that mean SO MUCH to the families that are there. The games that take the children’s minds off their illnesses for just a few minutes, the teen rooms that let the teens feel “normal” for a little while. The family rooms that allow the exhausted parents to get some sleep so they can function clearly without being too far from their children. The state of the art equipment help miracles to happen. The doctors and nurses truly care; and they keep searching and trying and never giving up. There are stories you hear in the cafeteria that give hope. There are volunteers that do anything they can to put a smile on the faces of the children. From the smallest medical procedures to the largest, the “normal” to the precarious and terrifying….there is hope. There is love. There is strength. And sprinkled all throughout, there are miracles. Many of these miracles are made through teamwork. Teamwork and help from unexpected places. While you are there you feel an unspoken bond with the other families. Riding in the elevator, you see pain in so many eyes. The heart wrenching cries as some leave without their children. The permanent look of exhaustion on the faces of those who are there for the long haul. And the fear that just isn’t spoken out loud. Staying there is an experience I will never, ever forget.

Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids runs from February 20-22 and aims to raise more than one million dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. One of the top radiothons in the nation, Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids is a three day, 36-hour live broadcast from the Boettcher Atrium at Children’s Colorado.  Alice 105.9 will break from its regular programming to focus on the children and families who have had personal experiences at Children’s Colorado. Interviews with past and present patients of the hospital and audio montages of children’s life-altering and inspirational stories are broadcast live, and listeners are encouraged to call in and make a donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals .

Follow online at  www.facebook.com/childrenshospitalcolorado and Twitter www.twitter.com/ChildrensColo. And please…join Macaroni Kid in raising money for this fantastic cause HERE.

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