Today, I am at the hospital riding out Hurricane Harvey while Houston gets inundated by water. There are many things to be grateful for in the face of this devastating hurricane:
- Elana, Elana, Elana. Her ability to watch Ryan while I am required to serve at Texas Children’s is humbling in the least. She is covering me as she usually does and covering more than her fair share and loving on Ryan as a great mother while I work. It’s not lost on me and while I am here I feel awful about not supporting her at home during this weather, but fundamentally I am grateful for her. I love her!
- Praying with staff who are desperate for news of safety for their family and their homes. During these prayers and times of gathering around the units, I find that there are people who are handling so much trauma, so much uncertainty, so much crisis during this time and yet emerging resilient. Their strength and their love reflected in tears is beautiful inasmuch as the grief is heartbreaking.
- Assisting physicians do free writing as a way to manage their own stress and overwhelming emotions. Today, I got to watch a physician lead his own fellow physicians into places of vulnerability, and it was a privilege to be there for support and encouragement and listening.
- The pictures of Ryan that Elana sends that sustain me with smiles and comfort.
- All the people and friends who have contacted me and sought out to send their prayers and thoughts my way.
Today was my birthday, and of course, Hurricane Harvey had to join the party. So I got called in to work for the day and stay through the storm, however long it will be. It’s not exactly my dream birthday. I mean, work anxiety on Friday and staff worry and leaving the family behind. Not exactly dreamy.
But two things happened that made the day great.
First, I didn’t get called in on Friday night so I got to hang out with Elana and Ryan and spend quality time with Ryan this morning. Elana was sweet. Ryan was active and playful and imaginative. We played in the pooled water in the park. I got to be surrounded by my family, even in the face of rain and thunder and cloudy skies. I love my family.
Second, I got to work and walked into the PICU and got to be treated to 40 people wishing me happy birthday, one well wish and smile at a time. Someone bought me pizza (thanks Jill!). Someone brought me a soda. The nurses were wonderful and appreciative and I was humbled by them. I got to spend quality time with night shift staff and be treated to a cup of coffee, laughter, and collegiality and friendship. Even some families I know got into the act and made me feel wonderful. It felt like family, and I was surrounded by them.
The joy of my immediate family and welcome and care of my PICU family made for a great birthday, full of encouragement and love.
I might be at the hospital, sleeping on a cot, with the heavens pouring down rain, but it’s been a good birthday because I have been surrounded by my family. Love it!