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.