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Parents, Patients, and Bendy Straws: The Hospital Waiting Room


29C7682C-DDE0-4793-ACC1-AFEC299F49A7The waiting room in the surgery center at Children’s Hospital is a tender place. So many parents. So much waiting.

I remembered this yesterday, as we checked in for Tucker’s “last leg” of Broken Foot Summer. His hardware would be removed with what turned out to be very similar to a Black & Decker hand drill.

Let me tell you, Children’s Hospital gets it right. They make it all work. They make it as easy on us parents as possible, with updates and even text messages during surgery.

And they make it very-nearly fun for the patients, great and small. They presented Tuck with a plethora of entertainment options, including TV, movies, iPads, and computer games. I mean, really. As far as he’s concerned, the whole experience is a series of screens and long, cozy naps followed by banana popsicle slushies.

I looked around that waiting room, so aware of the spectrum of risk and worries.

My heart goes out to the parents who have fallen asleep. There are some who’ve fallen asleep sitting up in chairs, their necks cocked like a bendy straw. 73E9A227-3810-4ECE-9215-E3C273D724CC

There was one mom laying down across the plastic cushions of the couch, sound asleep in the public room. She was wearing her winter coat and snow boots, and her daughter’s personal belongings were stuffed into the hospital-issued bag at her feet.

The parents probably don’t intend to fall asleep. I don’t think they thought, “Oh, good. Once they take my child back, I’ll be able to catch a few winks.” But it happens.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that there is nothing they can fix or change for this narrow window of time. Perhaps it’s the awareness that someone else is listening for their child’s voice and needs. I think a large part of the peace is the hospital staff. There’s a partnership, a handing off, a tag team. The weary parents can tap out for a few minutes, as these doctors and nurses keep their promises. “We’ve got him. You can rest, Mom. We’ve got this.”

After the Great Reconstruction of 2015, I am happy to report: Tuck is healed and whole. God’s healing is no less a miracle through the hands of a surgeon.

If I liked something about this, it’s navigating it all with this guy.



“Here, Tuck. Let’s tie up your kilt.”

And this little beauty? She’s going in a frame.

The most expensive jewelry Tuck will ever own.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Wait, wasn’t it around Broken-Foot Summer time when you met Peter?

  2. Pen and page in hand! Glad everything is fine.

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