November 3 has been circled on the calendar for many months. One of the NICUs where Luke resided held its annual reunion and it is always a wonderful time. We get a chance to reconnect with nurses and doctors who really walked with us some of Luke’s darkest days. They know where we were and just how far we’ve come. They can truly appreciate just how difficult, yet gratifying, the last three years have been. We also get to hug the necks of other families who were there at the same time. Nobody knows us like they do.
There was the nurse who welcomed us to the NICU after our crazy, emergency transport from the local hospital to Dell Children’s. When the crazy was swirling around us, she was in charge and put our minds at ease. I will forever remember our first meeting.
Then there was this neonatologist whose words – “NEC sucks” (all in a British accent) – won me over. He’s a true champion of family-centered care. During Luke’s most critical two weeks, he was there. Dr. M has a very special place in my heart.
Once roommates, always buddies. Luke and his next door neighbor, Bryce, weathered many a NICU night together. I think those two single-handedly monopolized all the nurses! Both those boys are just precious in my sight. Next year, we’re putting Luke in his Aggie jersey!
Just before we left the reunion, we spied one of Luke’s primary nurses. Can you believe she’s been a NICU nurse for 16 years? I know! She’s looks so young. We loved her and her gentle approach to caring for Luke. I adore her.
Finally, before we scurried out the door, I spotted the neonatologist who discharged Luke. She IS a rockstar! Her husband is Luke’s nephrologist and they are just a wonderful couple. She gave me invaluable breastfeeding advice and took to heart our concerns and fears about discharge. Dr. S is a pretty fabulous person.
I consider it a huge win that I did not cry at this year’s NICU reunion. Nope, lots of smiles and many, many hugs. The reunion was held in the hospital’s courtyard. As we were leaving, I heard a few passersby and patients say, “Wow, look at all those cute kids. They must have a lot to celebrate.”
Holla to Will for taking all these pictures, too!
In the middle of all that happiness, we also had an ER visit. It is always a barrel of monkey around here, isn’t it? The daughter of Anna-Laura’s soccer coach had brain surgery and the soccer team gathered together a little basket of goodies for them. I volunteered to drop it off at the hospital, knowing that we’d be up there for the reunion. On a whim, I decided to take Anna-Laura with me so she could give her coach a hug. We only planned on staying a few minutes and then heading down a floor to the reunion.
A few moments before we left the room, I felt her tug at my arm, then her knees buckled and she fell to the ground. Luckily, I was holding on to her arm and cushioned the fall. I’ll spare you the details, but she passed out in my arms. Tomorrow, you’ll hear how we handled it, how she’s doing and where we go from here.
You know, because we need more drama here at Casa Whitaker.