The paradoxical hospital

I’m sitting in the same place I’ve sat many times before; the hospital cafeteria. One floor below me, Ella is laying in a giant MRI machine that is capturing pictures of her brain. Her second time, and though I know the routine and what to expect, watching your baby fight the mask meant to put her asleep with all her might then dramatically falling asleep, tears still rolling down her face, remains one of the hardest things.

This hospital, Sick Kids, is much like a paradox; it simultaneously reminds you of how different life is for your child, and yet how lucky she actually has it. Every person here loves a child who was born too soon, or is sick,  or got hurt, or struggles with their feelings. And everyone is battling something. Even the staff have their share of stories; some full of light and hope, and others, darkness and sorrow.

I know Ella will be ok; her MRI is routine and she’ll be fine. But after leaving her in someone else’s hands for 80 days and 80 nights, I don’t like having to do it again. To leave and wander aimlessly through the hospital,  clutching my Starbucks for dear life, Ella’s spotted stuffed cow in my bag.

The air around this place is different, as if the universe is trying to protect those on the outside; a warning to not take things for granted. My heart beats a little bit faster for no reason other than it’s remembering the past.

We are so lucky to have this hospital in our city, yet I hate how often we find ourselves here. It’s a strange feeling, both gratefulness and something else, something that is not anger anymore, just uncertainty.

And that is a place I find myself in often; uncertainty, and I’m learning to be OK with that, and to accept that feeling.

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