To the Driver Who Avoided a Bumpy Road and the Nurse Who Gave Up Her Cab
My son and I had spent one too many nights in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as a hotel. We’d been with the most amazing physicians and nurses one could ask for, but we were tired. My husband had left to go home so our younger son could have some normalcy in his life. Being 13 hours from home is hard enough, even on vacation. This was not a vacation.
Thirteen hours from home having surgery takes an incredible amount of strength for a child. This was not our first trip in the hospital and certainly would not be our last. On this particular trip, we were fading. This was our final day at the hospital. It was an outpatient doctor visit day. My concern was that my son was struggling to walk after his surgery. He was in a lot of discomfort. How was I going to get him from the hotel to the hospital? I had no car. I’m no longer strong enough to carry him; he’s growing up. There’s no worse feeling then being a mom who cannot comfort and help her son. We’ve created plans in the past to help with transportation when there were no wheelchairs available in hotels (we’ve ridden on luggage carts many times!). I’ve learned the world is often not catered to those with disabilities. Handicap spots are not often available. Elevators fill up fast with those who can quickly get in them, and wheelchair users have to wait. People run past those who are slow, and many times there are no ramps for access into buildings that were built before laws for accommodations were passed. It can be quite challenging. We’re the lucky ones, though, who healed and regained the ability to walk. My eyes have been opened to a new world.
This particular morning, I was stressed. I didn’t want my son to see my stress. I said to him, “We’re going to get through this; we’re warriors and champions! Let’s go get ’em tiger! After today, we’re going H-O-M-E!” It suddenly became crystal clear why I didn’t make the cheerleading squad in junior high when my son rolled his eyes with a “Whatever, Mom. You’re not cheering me up!” Nevertheless, he collected his new hardware and off we went to Dr. Z’s office (another hero).
He had to leave his pride at the door because walking out into the world with new devices attached for the world to see is not easy. We rode the luggage cart down to the hotel lobby and once again attempted to gracefully climb into the hotel shuttle and ride to the children’s hospital seven states from home. I started to choke back tears; my son was in pain as we drove over the first bumpy road. Mamas can be emotional, I will admit it. I noticed the Homewood Suites driver look in the rearview mirror. He said, “Jacob, are you OK?” My son said, “It’s OK, I am fine.” He said, “Jacob, I’m going to take the scenic route. Is that OK?” At that moment, I knew he was taking care of my son. He was allowing my son to feel brave and strong, yet he was taking care of him by taking the scenic route. Suddenly, all the roads were smooth — and not one passenger on the shuttle became upset because their ride took longer than it should. Grace was happening.
When we arrived at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it was cold and misty. My son stepped off the van and was bent over, struggling to walk and visibly in pain. I couldn’t find a wheelchair anywhere. People were rushing by us. This hospital was busy. It felt like an eternity trying to find a wheelchair. In the meantime, security wanted me to check in, but I was concerned about my son (Thank you, Mr. Security Guard, for being so protective of all us. You too are a hero!).
I walked back outside of the hospital with my son to see if there might be a wheelchair and a staff member in scrubs who was getting into a cab, jumped out of the cab and said, “You need a wheelchair. Your son is struggling.” I said to her, “It’s OK, you’re finishing your shift, please go home. Cabs are so hard to get.” She said, “No, it’s my job to take care of your son.” Tears started flowing from my eyes. I couldn’t help myself (again, mamas can be emotional). She immediately ran and found a wheelchair and helped secure my son. She gave him a hug and just like that, was gone in a flash. I never got her name to thank her.
Grace often comes from those who love us — our spouse, friends, family, pastors. I don’t ever take their grace for granted. They’re my village who get me through each day. However, the moments of grace that are unexpected — like the shuttle driver who had his eye on my son and the vigilant hospital worker — are angels on this earth.
These are my Mighty December gifts!
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