Halloween Brings Back Memories of a Hospital Staff’s Kindness

Reflecting on his son's past hospitalization, a columnist is filled with gratitude

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by Joe MacDonald |

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On Monday, the preschool at my church celebrated Halloween, complete with little goblins, ghosts, and other assorted creatures. The children bragged about their costumes, saying, “Look, Pastor Joe, I’m a princess. Look, Pastor Joe, I’m a ferocious Samurai warrior.” They looked terrific, and I asked them if they wanted a trick or a treat. Since no one opted for a trick, I passed out candy to the kiddos. It’s safe to say that everyone had a great time.

As I stood with my pumpkin basket in tow, I couldn’t help but think of Halloween 2013. My youngest son, Caeleb, was 7 years old and in the hospital with another joint bleed due to hemophilia. Unfortunately, this experience proved incredibly awful, and he found himself stuck in bed, unable to go trick-or-treating.

We felt down in the dumps because I knew my boy wanted to be out ringing doorbells, hoping to receive as much candy as possible. But this year, he couldn’t do the things he enjoyed. A horrible spontaneous bleed into his right knee prevented him from celebrating a night of ghoulish mischief.

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Memories of My Son’s Hospitalizations Are a Matter of Perspective

As sadness filled the room, we received a surprise from the nurses and other medical staff of the sixth-floor special pediatrics unit at the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. They told my wife, Cazandra, and me that if Caeleb couldn’t come to the candy, the candy would come to Caeleb.

So one by one, each person stood at Caeleb’s bedside, and he had to say the magic words (“Trick or treat!”) to receive a piece of candy. For a few brief moments, the pain of the bleeding episode subsided as Caeleb did what many children across the country did on this All Hallows’ Eve.

To say their generous efforts lifted the spirits in the room is an understatement. The compassion shown by the men and women who watched after our child in the hospital was a work of art. Their care reminded us that the physical health of their patients, our children, was a top priority. Yet they never forgot that, while attention to medical needs was essential, they treated children who wanted to run and jump and play.

Coming to our rooms to deliver candy was one of many ways that the hospital staff went above and beyond expectations. I got a sense that, for many workers, their profession was not only a job, but a calling.

Many years have passed since we had to spend holidays in the special pediatrics unit, but I still remember the love and kindness shown to the many children who were in the care of the fantastic medical team.

As we celebrated the magical mystery of Halloween this week, I vowed to never forget the incredible people who loved my son and paid attention to all his needs. Their compassion and love kept spirits high. May they know that we appreciate them for all the random acts of kindness they show to children and families in need.

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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