Friday, April 12, 2013

Why our hospital matters

Dear CHOC,

Until 6 1/2 years ago, I had no reason to enter a children's hospital.  Not until this sweet boy was born.

Our little miracle.
Born on December 20th.
Born with Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, and two adorable clubbed feet.
Born with the spirit of a hero.

For a few years, we didn't take him to a children's hospital.
Not until last year.
And when we stepped into CHOC Children's, our world changed.

Our child was treated like a king.
The team that treats him genuinely care.
He's not just a number.
They remember him.
They ask him about different events in his life.
The nurses remember him. (Even though there are thousands of children that are treated there.)
They ask him to do his pirate face.
They ask him about his soon to come home baby sister.
There are games for him there.
There are crafts at clinic.
There is even music if you go at the right time.
There are therapy dogs that come through.  Even through clinic.
When he recently went in for an endoscopic procedure, we walked into his room, and child life had been there...and left him a look and seek book, coloring sheets and crayons, a magnadoodle, and the Disney Channel was on.

What a comfort to him.
He didn't have time to worry.
He was busy from the time he wheeled in.

And then there is my wait.
While my child is wheeled off....

I sit in a beautiful, clean waiting area.

Volunteers ask if I need anything.
Everyone that works at the desk is kind, and patient with parents who are worried and sad.
There is a screen that parents can check to see where their child is at in their procedure.

Before  we had our Kumaka, we never thought about what would be important in a hospital, we just tried to stay out of one.
But having a chronic child taught us some things.
And one of the things I have a gratitude for is those people, companies, foundations, and groups that donate money to hospitals.
I am grateful that so much thought and planning was spent on creating a beautiful hospital for my child to be treated at.
I am grateful for things I never would have thought mattered:

Themes for every floor
Shells on the cement by the valet
Choco bear welcoming us

Ryan Seacrest DJ booth
Elevators that have ocean themes
Colorful walkpaths that light up at night
Child Life specialists that put on the Disney Channel, and leave activities for him on his bed
Colorful lead vests in the Xray room
Snacks being offered to not only my child but to me
Ipads during procedures
Emergency Rooms for Children
Colorful paintings on the walls
Even colorful things to look at on the floors
Interesting architecture...not just boring plain white walls

I haven't even spoken of the doctors. 
Of the amazing care we get there.
Of the specialists that quietly walk the corridors with strength, knowledge, and a sweet smile for our kids.
Of the nurses who kindly talk to the children, take their vitals, and listen to the parents.
Of the state of the art equipment that is used to test, diagnose, and treat our babies.

These things all cost extra money...but they create a hospital of wonder, a hospital of peace, a hospital that welcomes my child, a hospital that holds my heart in it's hands and protects it. 

Thank you CHOC.
A million times thank you.

And to those that provide the funding.....thank you.  It matters.


  1. I 100% agree! CHOC Oncology was AMAZING! Especially when we started off at an Adult hospital.. I love everything about CHOC and the people who run it!

  2. Thank you for this post....our family spent a lot of time there when my daugther had a brain tumor. We got to see the bare bones of the new facility as it started - she is three years healthy. I am sure the new buidling is amazing. Keep up the good fight K!! (We actually met at one of Jack Owen's baseball games) :)

    1. Hi Joy,
      I remember you! :) Thank you for your good wishes for our boy. With the care he gets at CHOC we know he will be doing the best he can! Glad to hear your daughter is doing so well. :)

  3. Thanks for writing this post! I too was born w/Spina Bifida and spent a lot of my time at CHOC when I was little. Now at the age of 33 I can say that I wouldn't be where I am at least partly because of the care I received at CHOC.

    1. I am so glad to hear that. It warms this mommy heart to hear that someone as an adult received care at CHOC and is doing well! :) Best wishes to you! Do you still live in California?

    2. Hi, Sorry it took me so long to respond. Yes, I own a condo in Anaheim and work in Irvine :)

  4. Thank you for sharing. We, too, have spent time at CHOC with our son. We've just been told that he needs to go back for open heart surgery. Your story helps to calm a lot of my anxiety.

    1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that your boy has to have surgery. :( The love we have felt there truly calms our wounded parent spirits when we are low. The last surgery Kumaka had the tech (who gets things for the patients and helps the nurses) was amazing to Kumaka. He treated him like he was a super hero and had him laughing all the time. I will pray for your family that all goes well. Please keep me updated.

  5. Tracy your boys are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your family with us. I feel truly blessed to GET TO work here at CHOC. I am new here and I am so Humbled, Grateful, Inspired and Strengthend by what I have experienced as a caregiver at CHOC. I am inspried and motivated each day to truly give my very best because of the people here. The patients, parents and staff have totally wrapped around my heart. I have worked for many hospitals all over the country and there are some truly amazing hospitals. But this one is different... this one feels like I have come home... that all the training, skill and experiences I have been honored to recieve have been for this moment here and now to be a part of this team. I am blessed to share in your lives here at CHOC. I'm so happy Kumaka is doing well. Our children are precious. Please Keep inspireing others Tracy you are touching so many lives.
    I am so glad we can be a part of your family.
    An X-ray Technologist at CHOC

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my post!!!! We love every single person! :) I'm glad that you have found a home in our home away from home. <3

  6. My son just spent 16 days at CHOC, first at Mission then at Orange, in the PICU then in CICU. The nurses and doctors were outstanding, and very respectful of my son, a "not so typical" pediatric patient, who is 17 and 6'5". We sat in that same surgical waiting room, while our son had his cardiac procedure. Unfortunately, he was not able to leave the PICU or CICU due to his need for constant cardiac monitoring, and couldn't use or see many of the features of the hospital, but child life brought him a Wii, which was great when his friends came to visit, and a laptop - and he was able to log into our Netflix and HBO-Go accounts. He arrived at CHOC Emergency Room without a steady heart rhythm and walked out of there 16 days later. They performed a miracle on my son.

    1. I am so very glad to here that your son is better. WOW...that is amazing. So glad you received such wonderful care! Hope your son continues to do recover and has a complete recovery. :)Thank you for following our story.


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