Ho Ho Home for Christmas

I just returned from a three-day hospital stay where I had a totalĀ  knee replacement. Being in the hospital at Christmas instantly brings me back 1991 when Melissa was in the hospital through the holidays.

It happened regularly. It was like her body knew we had “plans”. It seemed like each time we made plans for a vacation or holiday trip, she would get sick. We would try valiantly to turn around her metabolism at home, but most times we were unsuccessful and headed for a week stay in the hospital. Once we even tried going on a trip “anyway”. You guessed it … we ended up in an unfamiliar emergency room and hospital working with a medical team who didn’t have a clue about Melissa and her special needs. It wasn’t their fault … it was ours. We should have never stepped a foot on that plane. We never made that mistake again.

In the picture above you can see the decorations on the hospital room window and the Santa Bear in her bed. This hospitalization happened just before Christmas 1990. We could see it coming, so we brought Melissa to the hospital “early” hoping that we might be home by Christmas eve. But we didn’t make it. So we spent the holiday in the hospital.

I was amazed at how much the hospital staff tried to make the Christmas celebration “normal”. There was a beautifully decorated tree in the lobby of the pediatric unit. Santa came by and handed out presents. The staff was dressed as elves. But Melissa knew that Christmas morning would come and she would not be running to see what Santa has left for her under her tree at home!

I felt so sad for Melissa. I knew how much she loved the thrill that is Christmas morning for many kids. But then I took a look around. And what I saw was many other children who might NEVER get home for another Christmas. Our delay that had seemed so devastating now was just an inconvenience. Even now, years later, thinking about this revelation brings a lump into my throat and tear in my eye.

I wish I could say that I have done something to help make Christmas better for children in the hospital during the holidays … but sadly I have not. This year that will change.

At this very special time of the year, cherish those that you love.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.


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