I am not a parent but I can only imagine the emotions – the stress, guilt, and plethora of things that a parent goes through having a child like me, a child with a disability, with serious health issues. Not only did I have orthopedic issues with my CP, I had eye issues, tons of PT, OT and speech therapy, as well as typical childhood problems like frequent ear infections, along with epilepsy. My parents have told me about the sweet thoughts and dreams they had for me while they were expecting. I am well aware that the path we’ve all been on as a family is not what anyone would have expected when my parents were young teens. But I am thankful for it. For every minute.
Growing up I was in hospitals a LOT! Having CP means that doctors, and hospitals were a key part of life. From specialist to specialist, appointments, surgeries, and unexpected moments…I was no stranger to hospitals. For the most part growing up I didn’t find hospitals a scary or negative place to be. In fact, at times hospitals were comforting. When I think of my childhood memories, automatically the first thoughts are in a hospital somewhere. Growing up my dad was in the military which meant I was given access to great specialist and hospitals wherever we were from D.C. to Tennessee and Oklahoma. I also had the opportunity to be seen at Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. As I grew, family locations and dynamics changed but my parents continued to prioritize my health and travel from city to city and state to state to provide me with the care I needed.
Now at 25 years old. I find myself reflecting and being grateful for the sacrifices that all of my parents and family made and continue to make for me. From a young age my family did what they could to make the hospital as much of a comfortable place as possible. Because of this some of my most peaceful or comforting memories bring me back to hospitals. I remember snuggling and watching my favorite movies in the hospital after a seizure. My favorite book series was read to me by my dad during a long hospital stay for bladder reconstruction, my step dad taking days and hours off of work to get me where I needed to be and my Nana taught me to embroider when I had a major spinal surgery (something I still enjoy today). I remember my sister foregoing her summer plans as a middle schooler to spend her days at home with me when I was in casts for 3 months. I wrote the first draft of my wedding vows in rehab after seeing how Cole spent days beside me in the hospital for my hip replacement.
The hospital has been a place of safety, support and a symbol of improvement in my life. To my parents and my family it may not have always felt that way.
My parents always worked to get me the best medical care possible, always push me to do better, archive more.
For that. I am GRATEFUL