Hospital life: Saying goodbye to some of your Child’s team members.


Those of us who spend longer than the normal time in the hospital know that it becomes inevitable that new “weird” associations become formed. It becomes normal to be intertwined in the lives of the doctors, nurses and staff looking after your child.

As much as these health professionals will prefer to keep all dealings with parents strictly professional they seldom do. Such a feat is only easily implemented and achieved with parents that embark on flying visits to the hospital with their children or loved ones. However, for the rest of us who have become co-opted into the “lifetime users’ league” (if ever we had an office) of the hospital wards, this is simply impossible.

Daily we witness and are privileged to share different milestones with these health professionals. They become like family to us. Some undergo their training placements and begin being supervised. Others progress into the next level, getting signed off by using our children as learning vessels while we watch them grow in confidence. In no time, and right before our  own eyes, they become qualified doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and so on.

Similarly, sometimes we are privileged to snoop out some of the gossip. Some become married,  divorced or even pregnant. Others go on maternity leave, holidays and secondments. These various experiences bring with them different emotions that we as parents become privileged to share in mostly by virtue of our perpetual presence. We then experience some of these highs and lows with them.

They in turn become our friends, standing by us emotionally when we are sad. Since our moods determine how we deal better with the challenges we face as parent carers, they make it their duty to scoop out some of our personal gossip and help us work through some of our challenges. They are happy when our children improve and shed a tear when they get worse. The funniest is the bittersweet feeling they experience when we finally get discharged. We imagine that they are sad to see us go but happy that the child is well because  they know the family will finally enjoy some stability while it lasts.

On the day I wrote this article, it was the day many of the doctors finished their placements in our hospital. Many of them got transferred to other hospitals. I imagined it to be our turn to experience the same bittersweet emotions. Unfortunately, the finality of these exits unlike the type of emotions ours evoked in them brought with it a sense of quiet dimness. In our case, we were always expected to return. However, in their case, it was final. I felt truly happy and privileged to have known many of them, yet sad to see them go.

It was a career growth for them and a good thing. I knew however that it was going to take me time to adjust to. My son although oblivious of these as a result of his health constraints was caught up in a net of endless cuddles and coos which he seemed to endure. He hated being smothered but on that day we made an exception and permitted a squish here and a squash there. They wished they could take him along. Clearly he had left an impression on them and hopefully his zest for life would be theirs to remember forever (especially now with his abrupt exit).

As for one of his favourite nurses, her departure was especially felt by me. It was a big blow because when we started to say goodbye it was only because we thought she was off on holiday. Sadly, the cat was let out of the bag when I found  her getting extra cuddles from her colleagues. That was when I realised that her departure, like the doctors’ was final. Our sweet nurse was off to pastures new, pursuing her dream of a lifetime. She was part of the team that looked after Fred at birth when he was diagnosed. The thought of saying goodbye to her felt like a snip to the umbilical bond that I attached to her endless presence. She was meticulous, professional and had an unrivalled sense of attention to the minutest detail. It was our loss but certainly a huge gain to the new hospital.

As for one of the doctors who I like to think of as Fred’s favourite in an ironical sense, he had grown to endure her endless cuddles until he began to expect them. He stroked her hair and smiled sometimes to show his approval of her. We all knew that to be a big deal in Fred’s books.

It feels like the end of an era when I think of it now. Like Dorothy said in Wizard of Oz,  “people come and go so quickly here”. It is the cycle of life. Everything keeps moving. People keep coming and going in different ways. These were people who formed a big chapter in the story of our lives. It is this chapter that was forced shut by the events of the last couple of weeks. Now we have to look ahead towards meeting new people, creating new relationships, and experiencing new challenges in not only our hospital life but in our life as a whole.

So here’s a big cheer to you all… Our crew!

We wish you all the very best of luck for the future. May the sun always shine down with a smile for you all. Thank you for all your efforts. The battle is now over for Fred but it was a blessing to have had your input for as long as we did. Ciao! or as they say in the movies “Astada vista!”.

So amidst these cheers and tears of joy I ask you … Have you ever had to say goodbye to some of those in the care team for your child or loved one?

Thank you for reading.

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