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Tag: children

The Birthday Party

Forty years ago, I experienced a miracle—the first of many in my nursing career. I was about six months into my first nursing job, in the neonatal ICU at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It was there that I met baby Jonathon, and it was his mother who made me a true believer.

Jonathon had come to us with severe kidney disease. He looked sickly: His skin was very pale—translucent even. He acted like a healthy infant,

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What Remains From the Pediatric Ward

I wake up in a hospital isolation room, where everything smells weird. It’s 1967 in Galway City, Ireland, and I’m four years old.

The worst smell is the antiseptic—a word I don’t know yet. The second smell is the crayons and newssheet coloring books on the nightstand. Christmas is gone, so how can these be for me?

The family lore would say that I spent nearly seven weeks in that hospital. That’s forty-nine days or 1,176 hours’ worth

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Cancer Update Number 12 via YouTube

He speaks of Kali maa, goddess of time
while chemo and radiation pin him to the clock.

As if confessing to a thievery of time,
when they neared one hundred years,

my parents said they never expected to live so long.
Their time unfolded like a painted fan.

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Acute Behavioral Crisis

“Who am I, do you know me,” she cries,
this day when earth has turned to rot and mud.
she can not see but for the blaze of anger,
she can not hear the softer voices calling.

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Look Me in the Eye

I was new.

Seventeen days earlier, a discerning pediatrician had recommended tests to untangle my five-year-old son’s cluster of puzzling symptoms—headache, vomiting and double vision. The alarmed face of the radiation technician in the booth during the CT scan was my introduction to a world where I didn’t know the rules, the language or what was expected of me.

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Aftermath

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

It’s 8:00 pm.

I’m staring at the IV tubing. We forgot to stop the fluids.

I’m standing in the resuscitation room alongside the naked, broken body of a teenage male. Unable to break my gaze on that dripping IV line, thinking, We’re going to flood him.

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