Disclosure: Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center is a client of Influence Central.
I am thankful to have two happy, healthy daughters. The only reason either of them spent time in hospitals is thanks to a robust sense of adventure and competitiveness, landing us in the E.R. a few times.
However, I grew up familiar with a 24-inch-long, keloided scar that ran the length of my dad’s upper leg, from his hip to his knee. It was the result of childhood soft tissue sarcoma that was deeply-embedded in muscle, tendons and veins. My dad spent time in hospital, while doctors and nurses removed all traces of the malignant cancer. The scar didn’t scare me, and my dad was happy to answer any questions we kids had about it, because, he taught us, cancer can strike anyone at any time, even little kids.
My daughter Alexandra, my dad’s first grandchild, was much more empathetic than I was. I remember her feeling very sad, seeing my dad’s scar, instantly imagining him as a young child, sick in the hospital. My dad assured Alex that hospitals that specialize in caring for children are the most amazing places, and kids there feel happy, very well-cared-for, safe, and loved. My dad had a gentle, reassuring nature, especially with my daughter, and she was satisfied with his answer.
My dad’s experience with cancer, and his love for children made him a lifelong supporter of our local children’s hospital. A philanthropic, and fun-loving man who adored his kids, nieces, nephews and grandkids, my dad enthusiastically donated to our children’s hospital so that little ones, at their most fragile, during their most vulnerable time, could be properly cared-for by “The Best of the Best”, he’d say.
A couple months after my dad turned 50, cancer once again found its way to him, by way of a brain tumor which would have killed him if they didn’t do what they could to remove it. He suffered many complications from the surgery, and spent 4 months in the hospital in intensive & critical care, in and out of a coma. When he finally returned home, he was only a shell of his former self, the surgery having jostled too many things around in his brain, and the cancer still progressing.
My dad’s cancer advanced slowly over 4 years. I’ll never forget the moment my father passed away, because I was in the bedroom right next door, nursing my not-yet 2-month-old baby girl. I was rocking her as she fed, softly singing to her, when I heard my mother wail. Immediately, I knew my dad had passed on. But never did I break from song or take my eyes off my baby’s sweet gaze. I continued to smile, sing to, and nurse her, because I was a mom. But the tears silently rolled down my cheeks.
Every parent dreads one day receiving the diagnosis that his or her child bears a medical condition or illness. Regardless of the severity, caring for a little one with a chronic or complex health condition requires patience, time, and energy. Not to mention, the difficulties related to hospital stays with kids who may be confused, scared, or in pain, anguished parents who would trade places with them in a second. Fortunately for families in need, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center cares, and works each and every day to make a positive difference in these children’s lives.
Located in downtown Boston, Floating Hospital offers pediatric services in every field – from general pediatrics to the most complex cancers, heart diseases, and traumas. Specialists in the hospital prove among the most talented and highly trained in the country and because their community hospital affiliates, you and your child can experience Floating Hospital’s unique approach to care, conveniently close to home.
Through Floating Hospital’s network of pediatric affiliations, children with less-complex conditions can remain in the community under the expert care of on-site pediatric hospitalists, specialized physicians who only care for children in an in-patient hospital setting. If more advanced care is required, patient transfer and care management are quickly and seamlessly coordinated.