A “6 Years Ago Today” moment popped up in my Facebook feed recently. The notification took me back to another Thanksgiving when my son, Caeleb, was 7, and we were in the hospital. He had port access issues, his factor levels were all over the place, and a knee bleed was not resolving.
It wasn’t our first holiday at the hospital trying to keep the tradition alive. We were together — that was the most important thing. But it was difficult.
That social media memory gave me a flashback to those holidays in a hospital room. I stuck plastic spiders and bats on the walls and miniature turkeys on the windows. I set up a little Christmas tree and a gingerbread house with twinkling lights. I did my best to let my son know that despite hemophilia being in charge, at those moments, it would not define us or diminish our joy.
As I get ready to prepare my annual feast for my family without worries of a hospitalization, my mind returns to the sixth floor of the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. To the rooms, the strong coffee, and the faces of the amazing nurses and technicians who keep the unit running smoothly. I think about the child life workers who brought goodies and toys for the brave children so that they would know that they are not forgotten during the holidays.
This week, I’ll be baking pies and mashing potatoes. As I cook I will give thanks for the many blessings in my life: for my health, that my sons are doing well, that our family is closer than ever, that my book has been published, and that I have a safe space to call home. But I will also be thinking about the people who will be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital, ordering takeout from the local coffee shop or eating pies from the cafeteria, and doing the best they can to keep their children distracted as they undergo tests and treatments while confined to their hospital beds.
I know that I could be back there in an instant. And this holiday season I give thanks for you, the parents and caregivers who stand by their children through the worst while hanging onto hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.