Thankfulness pt. 1: Levine Children’s Hospital

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving and I like to use this time to reflect on the things I’m thankful for.  I’m trying really hard not to re-write the last Thanksgiving post I did.  So what I’ve decided to do is break up the things I’m thankful for into a series of posts (as of this writing, I haven’t decided how many).

Today I want to express for an important place in our lives: Levine Children’s Hospital.

LCH

I often joke with people that LCH is our home away from home, at least it was during Nolan’s first year of life, between 2 surgeries and the occasional admission.  Lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on LCH and how much it’s meant to us.  If you ever go there, it’s actually a pretty cool place: it’s bright, cheery and colorful with chairs in the lobby that look like bacon and lots of fun art throughout the building.  The staff is friendly and there’s even a radio station in the lobby where lots of well-known recording artists come to visit.  It’s a cool place, even though no one really wants to be there as a patient/family member.

We had so many staff members there who treated us and Nolan was so much dignity and kindness.  I will never forget nurses going above and beyond to ensure Nolan was so well cared-for: not just medically, but as a human being.  They would give us meal tickets daily to make sure we could get something to eat, they would stamp our parking passes so we didn’t have to pay for parking, the doctors would include us in daily rounds.  They answered my phone calls and my questions, whenever they were asked.  They held conversations when appropriate, and turned down the lights and let me sit quietly with Nolan on those evenings when I was just plain exhausted.  It is a special place and I can’t speak more highly about Levine Children’s Hospital.

I’m lucky now that I can work next door to LCH, so I’m in an out of there whenever I can, and I help them with whichever program I can.  I do that because I’m proud to be affiliated in any capacity with Levine Children’s Hospital, but I do it moreso because of all they did for us and for Nolan.  It’s my way to give back.  In fact, this Halloween I had the opportunity to participate in a Halloween Carnival at LCH where the patients and their families can come trick or treat right there in the hospital.  I was so on that, because I know what it’s like to be in the hospital during holidays (Christmas and New Years, in our case) and I know how surreal it makes things.  And I really appreciate how hard the LCH staff works to bring some normalcy to kids’ lives.  But I needed a costume because, I mean come on, it’s a kids hospital…you HAVE to dress up.  Then it occurred to me: I am going to dress up as Dr. Peeler, Nolan’s heart surgeon!  I got a picture, made a mask, got some surgical scrubs, and even had some help from a Nurse Practitioner in borrowing Dr. Peeler’s actual lab coat:

Peeler Costume

Yeah it was funny and a lot of the LCH staff were really tripped out by the Peeler look-alike.  It was fun, and I participated in the event for the kids and their families.  The costume was a silly way for me to thank Dr. Peeler for everything he does for heart kids and our Nolan in particular.  We are so dependent on his skills.  Again, thank you Dr. Peeler!

We’ve been really blessed to have seen Nolan making some really wonderful strides during the 2nd half of this year: walking, eating more by mouth, being more vocal, even starting preschool one day a week.  These are some major steps he’s taken to becoming all Nolan can be. When I lay Nolan down to sleep at night, I always try to take a moment to just watch him and take a moment to admire how far he’s come.  I just want to use this post to say thank you to the staff of Levine Children’s Hospital…keep on being the best.  Because every night I get to lay Nolan down for bed means one more day I got to spend with my wonderful son.  And we get that time with Nolan because of your work.  I know sometimes you get really tired and stressed and it can be emotionally taxing…but from the bottom of my heart I appreciate your work to give my son his life and to give us an opportunity to see him thrive.  That means so much to me and if I could I would walk the whole building to personally thank everyone who has worked with us for their smiles, empathy, professionalism…heck, even for the chocolate milk in the nourishment rooms (SO good).  Every moment we make with our son is because of the hard work the LCH staff put into him.

So this Thanksgiving…each and every day…whenever I lay this sweet boy to bed, I want to thank you…

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About Chris Perez

My name is Chris aka HLHS Dad: I’m married with 3 sons. I love photography and the New York Yankees. I’m an admitted pizza snob and amateur balloon animal maker. Every now and then you can catch me being serious…but most of the time I’m quoting random commercials or lines from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Posted on November 17, 2014, in thankfulness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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