Watching Fourth of July fireworks from the hospital gave us strength

The colorful celebrations provided our family a welcome moment of respite

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner image for the

For years, long periods in the hospital proved challenging for my family. My youngest son, Caeleb, required many extended stays because of breakthrough bleeding episodes related to hemophilia.

We often tried to find ways to break the monotony of the sounds of medical machinery that frequently rang and clamored, bringing us back to the world of the hospital. Many times we started with positive attitudes as we helped Caeleb recover from what he described as thousands of needles searing into his right knee and ankle.

Independence Day proved helpful in relieving our hospital stress. For several years, our Fourth of July parties consisted of looking out the windows of Caeleb’s hospital room to catch the beauty of firework festivities in areas of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The incredible nurses on the sixth floor of the University of New Mexico Hospital, home to the special pediatric unit, somehow placed my son in the best rooms for viewing the city’s sights. We had some of the best seats in the house for watching the fireworks at Balloon Fiesta Park and the many light shows that kept us entertained.

During the fireworks, to my surprise, we were able to escape the sounds of machines and the extreme pain of a bleeding episode. Our eyes gazed at the majestic scenery right outside the window. For a short time, we felt transported to another place and were awestruck with wonder. Each color that magically appeared in the night sky reminded us that hope could appear, even amid the chaos of chronic illness.

Recommended Reading
A strand of DNA is shown .

Hemophilia A, B gene therapies now at Loma Linda University Health

Finding hope in the show of colors

As I reflect on the wonders we’ve seen in the sky, I can’t help but think about the incredible beauty that came into our lives because of a chronic bleeding disorder. The fantastic light shows remind me of the astonishing number of friends I’ve met and continue to meet in the bleeding disorders community. They fill me with gratitude.

Each event I attend, such as conferences held by the National Bleeding Disorders Foundation and the Hemophilia Federation of America, offers much-needed support and connects me with people who have experienced the same struggles as my family. When I’ve discussed with my blood brothers and sisters how I felt watching the Fourth of July festivities from our hospital room, they acknowledged my experience and shared their own family’s struggles to find respite from the cacophony of buzzers, beeps, and whistles in the hospital. These discussions always make me feel that I’ve found my tribe.

As we celebrate another Fourth of July, I’m overwhelmed with memories of some tough periods. At the same time, I remember what gave my family strength during each hospitalization. Some days, Lego sets helped pass the time; on others, spades and other intense card games provided refuge. The Independence Day fireworks celebrations always lifted our spirits, allowing us to escape, if only for moments, the confines of a hospital room.

This Fourth of July, I wish you all a safe and joyful day. May we experience hope as fireworks light up the night sky. May we draw upon the strength of family and friends on our darkest nights so that we see colors fill the heavens. Most important, may we continue being a family that supports and loves one another.

Happy Independence Day to all!

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.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.