Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gotta feel for the children - Original Post 9/30/06

I took my daughter to see an allergist the other day. She's allergic to peanuts, and we suspected she might be allergic to other allergens, so we thought it best to get examined by the best. We took her to an allergist at Duke University.

We didn't know the location of the clinic and such...but we soon realized that the "clinic" was actually the Duke Children's hospital. Now, when one walks into this facility, you see the colors of the rainbow surrounding you...you see toys and puzzles in the waiting areas...you see a place for kids. Then it hits you....you're in a hospital. A children's hospital.

We ventured to the 4th floor to check in to the allergy area. This is apparently the same desk as is used to check in cancer patients. Kids with cancer. Our wait wasn't long...the nurse was fantastic to my daughter...AND my son who tagged along. The intern entertained the kids as he examined her and asked us questions. And the doctor...the big kahoona...the main allergist there...answered our questions and attended to the kids with the most heartfelt sincereity and concern. My daughter was examined painlessly (I know..I had them "test" the back of my hand to see what the pain was like...there was none)...and they confirmed she's allergic to peanuts, but nothing else. We then ventured to the lab to have blood drawn. Again, incredible staff members. We distracted my daughter to the point she never felt the needle and said the blood drawing tickled. Amazing. My kids were laughing...they were fascinated. They were inside a hospital. There was a child being pulled on a wagon outside the lab, because she was too sick to walk.

A hospital is no place for a kid. But there are kids that need hospitals. And this hospital...as hospitals go...was incredible. Luckily, my kids don't "need" the hospital...they are well and only needed the facilities for an appointment. Other kids need the hospital. One of my good friends has a special needs child...and that makes her that much more special. (I know you're reading this).

Every fall...or maybe it's spring...a local radio station (Mix 101.5) has a radio-thon for the Duke Children's Hospital. I've given money before...just because I had it to give. I'm strapped now...and have very little to give away. But I dare you to walk into a children's hospital....no matter how colorful and how many toys you see around...and it will hit you. It will hit you hard. This is no place for kids...but for those kids that need it, this is the perfect place. You can damn well bet I'll be giving this year. For my healthy kids. For my friend's kid. For the kid in the wagon. But mostly, for the toys and colors that bring smiles and hope to those kids. And if you are hesitant to give to such a charity...just walk in the doors. Don't visit a doctor...don't even visit a sick kid. But just look around. You'll understand. You'll give.

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