Last week I was driving to Trinity’s school volleyball game which was being played at a Catholic school in Orange, when I saw it. As I was on the 22 freeway heading towards the school, I saw the big red building coming up on my left. A place I used to spend a lot of time. A home away from home. Children’s Hospital of Orange, CHOC.
It wasn’t the first time I have driven by CHOC since TT passed away, but it was the first time I acknowledged that I really missed it. I thought to myself “How could you miss a hospital?” I guess because it was the place I took Tiara to get her well so I could once again bring her back home. I always knew that once she was there, she would get the help she needed.
The hospital staff became my friends and suddenly they were just gone from my life. I knew the lady who worked the early shift in the Starbucks and she knew my order by memory. The security guards recognized me and every time Tiara was admitted we were always greeted by a familiar face in the Emergency Room.
I knew which PICU nurse or transport nurse would be able to get a new IV on Tiara. I knew the Respiratory therapists. I knew who was best dealing with the ventilator, who cut the prefect size strips to protect her skin while on Bipap, who would put the extra effort into loosening her secretions, who believed in adding saline for suction and who tried to avoid putting her in the vest because it was too much work.
I had my favorite doctors, nurses and maintenance workers. The doctors that always listened to me. The ones that would compromise with me when we had a difference of opinion and the ones who irritated me because we had to do it their way first and once it didn’t work out, THEN, they tried my suggestion. My favorite nurses, male and female. The nurse that had a melt down after we had to change a million (exaggeration) diahrrea diapers in one day. As soon as we would clean Tiara up, it would happen again. I don’t mean a little clean up, I mean bed sheets, blankets, legs, gown, everything. She literally got tears in her eyes and then we started hysterically laughing. Every visit after that we would reminisce about that time “she lost it.”
They became my friends. They knew so much about Tiara and our family and I learned so much about each of them. I knew who loved to ride their bike, who was obsessed with dogs, what Netflix series they were currently watching and was was vegan. Who was divorced, who was a single Mom, who was going onto to become a Physician’s Assistant, and who hated the night shift. I knew which maintenance worker would clean Tiara’s room the best and who was the quietest when they took out the trash.
They are my past but I grew to love so many of them. I miss them. It’s like a club I once belonged to and am no longer a member. I have been kicked out because my big, sassy girl with the perma smile is now safe and healthy in Heaven.