I spent my morning volunteering at 57357 Hospital. As mentioned yesterday, I wore my Cookie Monster t-shirt which was a definite big hit. I plan on dressing for the kids, so I will wear this shirt daily, next time with my red and white checkered pantaloons, and another day with my bright yellow jeans. My aim is to look like a clown and be as bright as possible, to hopefully for a moment anyway, distract at least one child from their immediate surroundings.
Today wasn’t easy by any stretch. However, dealing with the children proved easier; this, I think it’s because though they understand and fear pain, I’m not sure they possess the same fear of dying as held by adults. Let me know if you have another theory.
It was the exhausted and heart-broken faces of their parents that would catch my breath.
Two stories. First is M, a little person patient. We coloured, and practiced her reading skills. Mickey Mouse, because we’re both at the same reading level. She is 9, and has already lost her mother. At one point she left to eat and I found myself asking where she was, because I didn’t know she had gone to eat. A few moments later, she found me and asked if everything was okay (because someone had told her I was looking for her). Two things regarding this: 1) The children have their own little community. They spread news to one another faster than I thought possible; and, 2) I went into a little panic because I thought she left without saying goodbye. So, I have to actively detach myself. I want to know that her treatment is successful but I have to let go of this seeking of information and just remember her in my prayers (& donate). If I do anything more, I won’t survive even one more day volunteering with these little hero/ine/s.
Second, is the mother. Her son goes into a state of terror when approached by anyone in a mask, myself included. When she gave me the green light to try and approach him, it was clear that he wasn’t open to it. I looked at her and asked her if she was alright and she began to cry. All I could do was not cry, sit with her for a few moments and then give her her privacy. This is where the pain is. Alleviated a little by the reporting we have to do after every shift. We take note of the child’s name, file number, what we did with them, how much time we spent with them, and what their emotional state was; each evening, these reports are read through and where there is a requirement for extra emotional and psychological support, it is provided.
At the end of my shift, I circled several areas and finally found her and S. Because I wasn’t wearing a mask (we were in a hallway), he was amenable and even smiled at me. I explained the follow-up, and asked if I could take her son’s information, which she allowed me to do. In my little few-sentenced report, I asked that the mother also be spoken to for her own health and well-being. Little rays of hope, inshAllah.
This Hospital is run exclusively on donations. 57357 is their bank account number, hence why they named themselves this very thing. Please consider contributing if you can; www.57357.com is where you might help the little people humans and their families.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. The resilience of little persons.
2. The medical field.