I found myself in a very familiar place this morning. I found myself in one of your old hospital rooms on the 9th floor at Children's. I wasn't prepared. I felt the familiar walls close in on me as we were standing outside the unit. I knew there was only a matter of minutes before we would enter the unit, and it was on your side of the 9th floor.
We were doing rounds in our board meeting this morning. I had chosen the Breathing Institute. I love innovation and research when it come to breathing. I was late. The traffic had me stuck on the highway for over an hour. I was rushing into an empty boardroom, only to turn around to take the elevator to the pulmonary clinic. People know what happened to you here. People I don't even know know. They see me, and I can immediately see it in their eyes. They know you're not physically here any longer. As the medical director gave her speech, I could see her eyes slightly shifting as she saw me rushing into the room. To this day, I am amazed with the impact you continue to have on this hospital. Not one department, everywhere. You left your beautiful mark.
After visiting the outpatient clinic, we moved to the Sleep Center. Yes, it was a little uncomfortable to be in the room where you had had numerous sleep studies. The coffee maker had not moved from its place. In the middle of taking in the familiarity of the room, my fascination for future innovation in sleep studies and EEGs took over. So much cool things that will soon be available. A sleep study will be a breeze, maybe even from your own bed? I can't even wait to share with you how an EEG will look like in the future. Remember all the EEGs you battled through?
The cutest kid in the sleep lab on Halloween 2007.
And then we started to move towards the far elevators. No, no, no...We were moving up to the penthouse. I have found comfort being in meeting rooms and the coffee shop at Children's, but I haven't entered your territory, your space. How was it that I hadn't realized this could happen today? We were told we were going to meet with a trach ventilator patient. I felt a sigh when the check in lady wasn't at her desk. I knew she would have asked if you were inpatient again. I wasn't ready to tell her the truth.
And then the big hospital doors opened to the East unit. The sound of the large hospital doors hasn't changed. The smell hasn't changed. The yellow plastic floor is as yellow as before. The sanitizing soap smells the same. The whiteboard is filled with names, just not your name. I had to lean on one of my strongest friends and supporters. It was hitting a little too close to home. His hug gave me the courage to enter the hospital room. Your room looked very differently. It had a crib instead of a regular size bed. The pumps were in different places. The room was decorated with well wishes for this very cute 11 months old boy. And he smiled right at me, and I smiled right back at him. I saw a shimmer of you in his dark brown eyes. Jacob, he has spent his first eleven months of life at Children's. He is almost ready to go home. He is almost ready to enter this world, Jacob.
I felt tears burning when I left your room. I felt relief to be in the hall. I felt comfort from the hugs from your nurses and my rounding team. And right in that moment, I knew you and I still share some resilience. It might not look exactly the way it did when we had major emergencies and long complicated hospital stays to conquer, but it's still there. I made it today. I made it in one piece visiting one of the places that reminds me the most of you. A place with so many mixed feelings. A place of love and healing, a place where we finally lost you.
Jacob, thanks for helping me find my resilience today.
I love you to the moon and back,