153 Days 197 Weeks Ago

Among the lessons that Liam has taught me is that if you are open to it the universe will amaze you with its timing.

I’m writing a speech about our story. Wait, let me start at the beginning, after writing an essay to apply and being interviewed by a recruitment committee I was asked in December to join the Women & Infants Hospital – Hospital Wide Advisory Council for Patient and Family Centered Care. You may recognize the hospital name since it is the hospital where I am employed but more importantly and the focus of my application essay is that it is the hospital where Liam was born and spent his first 153 days in the NICU. This is an oppurtunity to work with the administration and faculty as well as former patients or their family members to craft policy to support patients and their families and I could not be more excited about it. I am truly humbled to have even been asked.

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Last month after hearing one of the council’s founding members (It was founded in 2007) give her own patient story, the call for volunteers to give their own stories went out and me all ginned up on new-found self-confidence (thanks a lot fatherhood, and supportive blog readers) I answered the call. So next Thursday I am on the agenda. After opening remarks by a senior administrator of the hospital I will give my first ever Powerpoint presentation. I get to tell Liam’s story.

I get to tell our story.

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I’m not nervous about it since I have a pretty good grasp of the material. If anything, I’m nervous about having too much material and going on and on and on. Believe me, you get me going about my family or about hospitals and boy can I ramble.

With the meeting now about 9 days away I’ve really been trying to think about Liam’s time in the NICU and what I could take away from it that would be pertinent to a Family Centered Care Council. What better time than this morning then to receive the most wonderful email from the hospital’s patient liaison. Apparently she had found something I would like on her camera’s memory card. A whole bunch of photos she took on a very special day.

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She was thoughtful enough to take pictures of us on the day that Liam came home from the hospital. Pictures of us fighting our way through the crowd of my co-workers and boss and even a hospital vice-president wishing us luck, of my parents swarming us before we could come anywhere close to the door, of the host at the podium and how excited she was to be the one to discharge Liam, and of my reaction to the day. That one is my favorite photo given that in my recollection that whole day was a blur anyway.

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Look how far we’ve come.

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She didn’t know I was writing my speech at the time, and she had no idea how valuable they would be to my mindset, and recollection, and to my Powerpoint presentation, she just sent them because she found them, with a note reading “Sorry it’s been so long in coming…”

There’s no apology necessary Evelynn. They came right when they needed to.

7 comments

  1. I am so happy that you will be doing this work and just know that you will be an effective and important contributor to it — not just because of Liam but because of your unique ability to tell your story and to empathize with others. I’ve done this work for a long time, working on family-centered collaboratives in special needs healthcare improvement, and like you was plucked from relative “obscurity” to speak about my own story. I have found the whole experience amazing and world-opening — you will, too. I think what I — and others — realize is that effective change in the way things are done happens incrementally but is pushed along by parents and families as we tell our stories and make room for others.

    Go!

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth. It is the people I have met through blogging and you specifically that have inspired me to get so involved and I am thankful and excited about it all.

      Tell Sophie that Liam, Karin and I say Happy Birthday! Have a great day tomorrow and congratulations on being a Mom for 18 years!

  2. Oh Man, I just cried my eyes out, those pictures are amazing, the joy, the excitement, the expressions on your faces, wow! what a way to start the morning, my co-workers are mocking me, but they have no idea what emotions that this post has brought upon me this morning after having gone through much of the same experiences as you and Karin. I scan back at some of our pictures from our discharge day from time to time and it joys me that you have shared your special moment with us as well. I am truly taken aback this morning, you amaze me my friend! Good Luck with your presentation and I hoipe to see you soon, we need to brew and plain out just hang out man.

  3. I’m so moved by those pictures. I hope you guys are proud of yourselves. (I know you are proud of Liam). And I absolutely know that telling your story will be immensely helpful to others.

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