Three days ago we took a journey down memory lane. We already had an appointment scheduled, so we loaded up the car and headed to the medical center. I hadn’t been there since Samantha was discharged. Travis had only been there once, to visit a member. We decided to take a whole day and focus on the memories and making a difference.

Our first stop was HealthBridge. I think this was the most painful part of the journey, probably because our time there was also our most painful of Samantha’s illness. If you remember, I hated it there. We felt so isolated in that environment. And while I am still impressed by the wonderful work they do with children, it was the worst part of her hospitalization. In a regular hospital there are doctors and nurses who come around regularly, and there are cafeterias and folks in the halls and a lot of hustle and bustle going on. Maybe not always in the rooms, but there is someplace ELSE to go while you are still there. HealthBridge is not designed that way. There was a small visitors kitchen with a fridge, microwave, and vending machines. Otherwise we had her room and the outside. We enjoyed exploring the neighborhood a bit, but I hated leaving for very long. Being in the room made me crazy.

Our return visit brought so many memories. Memories for me included the day I had to move out of her room alone. It was one of the worst days of my life, packing and hauling things to the car by myself, crying and worrying, not knowing at that point if our daughter would live or die (but strongly suspecting that she would die). I kept doing the “bargaining” prayers with God, trying to come up with something I could do to somehow “earn” her life being saved. I know now that was unreasonable but I also know it is a normal part of the grieving process. At the time my fear was so overwhelming. Sometimes the NOT knowing is worse than the worst possibility being true.

The reason we went to HealthBridge was because the therapists there had mentioned that they are always losing boppies (they are a half-donut shaped pillow used for breastfeeding). We had brought ours from home to use for Samantha’s physical therapy, learning that they have other uses besides supporting the baby at the breast. It helped her to sit up while they did arm and leg exercises with her, and even helps with tummy time. The therapists had told us that while they tried to keep a few on hand, sometimes parents would take them home by accident. So they were always looking for them. We had a couple of boppies from Allison that we wanted to donate to the hospital. While we found the environment frustrating, we were very impressed with the therapists there and the work they do. We had a small way to help, so that is what we did.

After we left, I cried. But somehow, it was the last time I cried that day.

Stay tuned for Part 2