There are so many nights when I want to rush through bedtime. I’m emotionally (and sometimes physically) spent, and I still have to convince two toddlers and a baby that stopping their play and laying still until they fall asleep is going to be a good idea. The worst is when my husband feels the same way as I do. That totals two exhausted parents lacking patience and vigilance against one small army of headstrong and curious children. A few months ago we had one of those nights. I was picking up toys while my husband was manning the bathtub. Sam, now 23 months, was finished with his bath and was watching his sister get a scrub down. Their splashing and giggling was stunted by a deep cry from Sam and my husband’s call for me to, “Get in here now!” I imagine every mother whispers a silent prayer when she knows she is heading into what might be trouble, and that is what I did. And when I arrived, and I will spare you the details, Sam had stepped on a rusty razor blade. We all have one of those lying around, right? A pink razor blade that has spent too long in the humid shower? Now turned rusty, I kept forgetting to take it out, and my husband decided to remove it. He had placed it on the floor so he would remember to toss it, but Sam saw it first and crawled right over the top of it. Wrapping Sam’s foot in a towel, we rushed over to the ER, which thankfully is across the street from our house. And, once there and waiting to see a doctor, all of the emotions and questions started running through my mind: Why didn’t I pay more attention? I put my child in danger. Will he need stitches? This is all my fault. Is he up on his vaccinations? What can I do to make him feel better right this moment? What are these doctors and nurses going to think about my parenting? During our talks with the health professionals, they were nothing but kind. They reassured us that Sam would be fine with just a bandage and no stitches. They confirmed he was up on his vaccinations. And they calmed our family down and assured us that accidents happen. They not only took care of our Sammy boy, they took care of our emotional well-being too. You see, when your child is in the ER, it’s not just the child; it’s the whole family who is affected and is being treated. Communication, empathy and kindness can be the difference between a good and bad experience—even when all outcomes are equal. Leaving the ER, I couldn’t help think how wonderful it is that there are people in the world who are gifted enough to take care of others when they are at their worst. Even more amazing is being treated by a professional who takes the entire person into consideration. So, thank you to all of the health professionals who we have come in contact with throughout the years. And thank you to all of those we have not. Your jobs are not easy. I know this. But, thank you for having patience and kindness for your patients each and every day. We are all someone’s mother or father or child or loved one. And remembering that in times of distress can be incredibly comforting.
Thank you to Dignity Health for inspiring this post. Please visit their website here.