Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Field Trip

I saw something really interesting at the hospital yesterday. Jordan and I were there for an ortho visit, and I noticed a group of about 15 kids around kindergarten age who looked to be touring the hospital together. I knew they weren't patients because I saw them boarding a school bus to leave. I really do hope they were there visiting a kid from their class who was a patient there. However, my first thought was that they were on a field trip. "How nice that this is their field trip," I thought, "rather than their real lives."

Some kids are only visiting this life of hospital visits. Some kids go through life with runny noses, ear infections, and nothing more. These kids can visit a children's hospital as outsiders, be led around by a friendly hospital volunteer, maybe try on a doctor's white coat, listen through a stethoscope, maybe have a few laughs over trying on non-latex gloves and blowing them up like a balloon. They can learn about doctors and medicine the same as if they were visiting a museum.

Other kids are constant patients undergoing testing, surgeries, PT; being fitted for braces, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches. Some kids' lives have stopped altogether as they undergo chemotherapy. Strange how different life can be if your roll of the dice is to have a chronic medical condition. I would have loved to save Jordan from this life of hospital visits and therapies. But somehow we know something the field trippers don't know--how fragile life is and how thin the line is between them and us.