Friday, September 27, 2013

visiting our friends...

Since moving to San Francisco we've wanted to go visit the unit at UCSF where Josh spent a good deal of time.  So yesterday we baked a huge batch of cookies and dropped by the unit.  It was so great to see so many of the friendly faces we grew to love over the years...and not just the amazing nurses but also, child-life specialists, receptionists and social workers.  We love them all!

I think it's been a year and a half since Joshua's last procedure, but it feels like it was just yesterday, its all too familiar.  I am so glad that we were able to have a friendly visit, with no agenda other than saying hello!  I wasn't sure if Josh would have any memories of the hospital but he did. As we walked down the hall & passed a family eating area he said, "Hey mom, that where we ate pizza!".  He was right!

The first person we saw was our favorite nurse of all time, Janet! Just thinking of her makes my eyes well up with tears.  She was really excited to see Josh & told him about when he was a tiny baby.  Janet was our nurse quite often during the Norwood. I tell ya she's the only reason I didn't have a breakdown during that long hospitalization.  When I think of all she did for us I can't help but think of the night before Joshua's Norwood, when the doctors spent the better part of the night trying to get an IV in my newborn baby.  I think as a mother I would have rather been water-boarded the entirety of the night than have any baby lay there getting poked for hours on end.   But thankfully, Janet was there.  Not only did she preform her duties as a nurse, but she also lovingly sang to Josh and stroked his head during the whole process.  To her it was nothing, it's just who she is, but to me it meant the world. It still does.

Another person we were thrilled to see was Beatrix.  She was his child-life specialist and his friend.  There was a time after his most recent surgery that Josh checked-out emotionally.  He wouldn't talk to me, look at me or smile, at all.  It was really hard to see him this way and I just wanted to make everything better for him, but I couldn't.  During that time Beatrix was his friend.  She'd bring him games, toys, books, and new fun things all the time.  She was always an advocate for him & I was always so grateful for all the help she provided while we were there.  It was so nice to chat with her & let her see how well Josh is doing now.

Before we left we had one more stop, the step-down unit.  I was so excited to see Martina, one of his nurses who has treated Josh through all three surgeries and after two of this caths.  Martina has always been a good friend to me.  She is a great nurse, soft spoken, gentle and kind to her patients, but I always loved having her as Josh's nurse because I really enjoyed talking with her.  She asked me yesterday to remind her what Josh's condition was, when I told her she said, "I thought so, but he just looks so pink!".   We heard that from a few of the nurses, they were all happy to see how pink & healthy he looked.

They were also really happy to see the other kids too, they were shocked that "the baby" was so big, and they couldn't believe how big the girls had gotten either!  The girls used to cause quite a stir walking into the unit together, especially during the Norwood, Callie just turned 2 & Abby was 3.  They were just so little and cute.  They filled the air with laughter and happiness whenever they came around!  As we walked into the hospital yesterday Callie said, "Whoa, this reminds me of when I was a baby!" she's always had a great  memory.  Likely she's recalling when she visited him more recently, but so cute.
I'm so glad that we were able to visit with some of our dear friends, my heart is full.  Josh will start being seen at the hospital regularly for his pacemaker, so we'll most definitely drop in more & hopefully we'll get to see others who we didn't get to see this time around.  There are so many people who mean the world to us there & others who have since left. I just can't help but feel grateful to everyone at UC (past and present) who played a role in Joshua's care on any level.

It won't be long until the new Children's Hospital is finished being built in Mission Bay.  I can only imagine how it'll be to have this amazing staff in an amazing facility.  Great things are in store...great things!

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