The Smallest Of People Getting The Biggest Support

, , , , , , , , | Hopeless | December 20, 2017

(I work in housekeeping at a hospital. My job is pretty simple: clean rooms, mop vomit, and pick up trash. One day I’m making my rounds, getting trash from patient rooms, when I pass by a mother who has just found out her newborn son has some serious medical issues and they don’t know when he can leave. She is sobbing as she goes back to her room. My sister was a NICU [Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit] baby when she was born, and I know my mom had a hard time when she was told the same thing. I want to comfort this mother. My heart is racing as I go into the room. I just keep thinking, “Should I say something? What would I say? Am I allowed to even talk to patients on a personal level like this?” I enter the room and the mother is still sobbing. I decide I have to say something.)

Me: “Ma’am, I know I am just a housekeeper, but I want to tell you about my sister.”

Mother: *looks at me, surprised, and smiles* “Go ahead, dear.”

(My heart is racing and I am terrified.)

Me: “My sister was a NICU baby like your son. When she came out the doctors broke her arm, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, and my mother was told she probably wouldn’t live long. On her first birthday we took her in for another appointment; doctors were amazed that she was alive and healthy. They told us she probably would be mute. It took her a while, and she does have speech issues. But she can talk. There have been many other things they doubted her on. But what I’m saying is that her whole life doctors have doubted her, and every time she has jumped over the hurdle and proved them wrong. Don’t give up on your son before he has the chance to do the same.”

(The woman breaks into complete tears and asks me over for a hug. She then asks, as I’m pulling away:)

Mother: “How old is your sister now?”

Me: “She is 16, going to her first homecoming next month.”

(The woman cries, holding me, for five minutes.)

Mother: “Thank you. Thank you so much. I needed to hear that he would be fine and you have given that to me.”

Me: “It will not be a easy road. But with your love and support he will jump through those hurdles, too.”

(I have to leave to get the rest of the patient trash. A week passes by. I am cleaning the lobby when the child’s father passes me and recognizes me.)

Father: “Were you doing trash last Thursday?”

Me: “Um, yes, I believe I was.”

Father: “You gave my wife the words she needed, and she has completely changed her feeling on the situation.”

Me: “I’m so glad to hear that! How is your son?”

Father: “He is still in the NICU, but he should be getting out in the next couple of days. My wife and I have been reading up on how we can help him grow up strong like your sister. Thank you so much, and tell your sister thank you, as well.”

(That day was the moment I had been waiting for, for the last year. Four months later, it is still amazing, and I still cry at the fact that they remembered a housekeeper. I guess the quote is true: “People may forget what you did for them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I don’t know their names; I don’t even know the boy’s name. But I really hope their son is well and is a strong, happy four-month-old. I’m glad I could be the light in the mother’s life and make the difference for her.)

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