Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Kisses mama!  in the exam room 

So last Friday was our appointment.  Our big appointment.  The same one that had my stomach in knots and worry on my mind.  I told B I was sure I would start crying during this appointment because of the emotional buildup and pent up anxiety.  And that's really saying something because I'm not a crier.

Part of what made this appointment feel so big was just the trek itself.  The hospital is in Dallas, about 5 hours away.  My mom and stepdad flew down to drive with us.  Because of her lack of arms and hands I can't just hand Lamp a sippy cup or some fishy crackers whenever she wants them, thus making it that much harder to travel with her solo.  Therefore, the extra effort of hotel rooms, arrangements for sister, parents flying in, a long drive to a new appointment at a new hospital left me feeling completely overwhelmed.  Not to mention the reasons for the appointment in the first place.  However, I had been told by our referring doctor what an amazing place this was.  She had trained there herself.  This place is amazing, you'll see.  It's just not real life, she said meaning that in a very good way.

As Lamp and I walked through the doors early Friday morning I could sense immediately that this hospital was indeed unique with it's clean and childish-yet-modern decor.  I was met at the front desk by kind volunteers who told me where to go.  As I turned the corner in search of the elevators a man, a Doctor, stopped in his tracks.  He asked me what I needed and then walked the 10 feet with me back the way he came to the elevators.  He pressed the down button for me and told me to take a left when we got out.  He exchanged some sweet words with Lamp and of course commented on her cuteness.  Then he put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, smiled and told me, Have a good day, then nodded and left.  As I retell the story now it seems obvious to me that it was more of a prophetic assurance than a gesture of good will.  That small kindness set the tone for the rest of our day.  God bless strangers who give that sort of kindness so freely.

Once we moved past the initial sign-in desk, we were taken back to the waiting room where I saw more than one kid with missing limbs.  I wanted to jump for joy.  HOORAY!  We're here!  We're in the right place!  

There is so much more to say than I could wrap up in this small post, and admittedly so much more than I even want to say out loud.  Sometimes the specialness of a situation can be diminished by sharing it too freely.  But the highlights include an orthopedic surgeon whose kindness and love of children radiated from his core and a visit with a mother and her beautiful limb-different daughter that was nothing short of a blessed balm of healing sent straight from the heavens.

It wasn't until later as I was giddily recounting everything to B, who couldn't come due to work constraints, that it hit me and I said, I feel like I just made a visit to the wonderful Wizard of Oz.  There was this magical out-of-the-ordinary-ness about it that is exactly what made us feel so at home.  While other people in this setting might have seen oddities in so many children with limb differences, comparable to talking scarecrows and walking tin men, I saw familiar faces of people who knew.  My people.  Our people.  And a wonderful wizard of a Doctor who felt just as at home.

In short, it was a very good day.  I am filled with a new energy made up of equal parts optimism and hope.

As we were leaving our appointment, making our way to the front door tears started to well up in my eyes.  But instead of a knot in my stomach there was a smile across my face.

They were happy tears.


19 comments:

  1. oh, wow.
    that is so amazing & fantastic! i am so happy you could have such a great experience, and so grateful there are people who are passionate about their professions and helping people and children. that is so encouraging, and sounds like just what you needed.
    thanks for sharing.

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  2. yessssssssssss!

    i love that wizard of oz doctor!

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  3. oh, yay! this is all so great to read!!! i love the wizard of oz comparison. it makes me think of that scene where they're all being made over and the lion's mane is curled and tied with ribbons. i think i've felt similar feelings at our visits to the portland Shriners. it's so wonderful to step into smoothly running systems and know that they absolutely understand.

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  4. There are happy tears in my eyes right now. I am so glad for you.

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  5. I started tearing up just hearing about the helpful doctor in the hallway... i know how uplifting just a simple smile from a stranger can be when you are filled with nerves on your way to a big appointment. so glad you had a good appointment and a safe trip. Hugs!

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  6. I am so happy to hear things went well for you and little Lamp. Hip Hip Hooray for a great day!

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  7. I still can't get over how lovely that photo is. What a perfect rosebud mouth!

    I'm so happy the big appointment went well! It makes me determined to be that helpful doctor in the halls for some stranger in my life.

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  8. I love everything about this post. Your intial Mom worry, the stress of travel, the feeling of getting somewhere safe for Lamp, the mercy of strangers, the happiness of having a group of people who listen and want to help by suggesting some good changes for your family, and finally, a mom who walks on the clouds. Magic.

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  9. Thank you for sharing even this small part of your experience. Praise God!

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  10. This makes me so happy! Not only are you getting great care for Lamp but you had this heartwarming, encouraging, we're-not-alone experience that you might have needed more than you even realized.

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  11. YES! Tears and more yeses!

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  12. Linda P.5:25 PM

    Since I live in North Texas, I am about 99% sure I know which hospital you went to! My husband and I even have a friend from college who at least used to work in the orthotics dept there. I bet he still does.

    My daughter had some extra skin removed between some fingers at this hospital. I don't want to mention the name in case you don't want it mentioned, and I could be totally wrong, but I bet I am not. : ) I am so glad you had a wonderful experience. Can't wait to hear more!

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  13. Linda P.5:44 PM

    Hi, again, Miggy. Above I said our college friend worked in the orthotics dept., but I think it is actually prosthetics, or maybe the departments are combined. (I actually don't know.)

    You sounded so positive and encouraged in this post. I wish I could just HUG YOU!!! : D

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  14. I love this post. So happy!

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  15. I love happy tears!

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  16. Anonymous9:25 PM

    How awesome! Can not wait to hear and see the details :-)

    Alexandra

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  17. I am totally crying. I used to hate going up to the hospital for one more this or that, but I have to admit that I love the way people look at us and treat out little one when we are there. We are not different or strange, but part of the "club". I am so thrilled for you guys. What a big step in the right direction!

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  18. So glad your first visit was so encouraging... I know exactly what you mean about being in the majority - feeling like your "normal" is everyone else's too... it's so refreshing.
    Also - I loved reading that another mom knows the difficulties of traveling with a child with limb differences. When we were driving to this hospital in Dallas from west texas - I realized early on the challenges of trying to give my child a meal or a sippy cup or even a toy. I remember trying to stay safe on an interstate while also passing back chicken nuggets one at a time. Exhausting! Flying was so much easier because I could help him manage toys and food and drinks!
    Loved this post and glad you found a safe place. I always feel like I'm somehow "home" when I'm at that hospital - just feel safe.

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