This time for our stay in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) we were in a different room, one where I had a clear view of the nurse and doctor station. You don’t sleep there, so I tend to spend a lot of time watching people. They work long hours and never really sit; they cover each other to eat but that seems to be about it. I’m not even sure if the doctors sleep at all. I feel like I see them walking around the whole time.
The nurses don’t just react to the alarms, they react to the kids. They do their best to make them happy; they know exactly what to say and do for them. They also have so many staff members who come in to do different things. We saw probably 12 doctors, including specialists, residents and fellows. We had music therapy, child life services, religious services, nutrition, service coordinators, respiratory therapists and palliative care. We knew nearly all the doctors and nurses there, who have been there for years. Each one came in to see her. Amazed this was the baby they watched for four months and were never sure what the outcome would be. Some still had her picture in their office. Some had tears of joy in theirs eyes as they watched her. I hope they realize my daughter was here today because of them.
I watched the other parents walk up and down that dreadful hallway, to use the bathroom or to get a coffee or something to eat. Each one had that look of despair. They were tired, scared and overwhelmed. I can recognize it, because I live it. I don’t know how many of those families had been there for the first time or were repeat visitors like myself, but I hoped they realized what good hands they were in. I prayed for them and their children. I prayed for the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists as alarms went off all night.
I realized the staff in the PICU has it rough because they have to see all these sick kids and one delay or one wrong move, something bad can happen. They don’t just see simple cases; they see the most complex ones, and they power through as a team. I know what watching my daughter has been like for me physically and emotionally. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them. Some of these kids, like my daughter, they have as patients for a long time. I’m sure there is some attachment there. Even if the kids are there for a short time, it must be hard to see what they see and know it’s up to them to get them well. It’s obviously a different emotion as a parent, but still very emotional for this staff. They probably go home to their own families and can’t help but think, what if that was my kid?
I’m very thankful for those who sacrifice their physical and emotional well-being to help others. They are true heroes in my eyes. If you pray for the sick, make sure to include a prayer for those who take care of them, because they could use those prayers as well.