A Familiar Place

family shot (2)What was once a very scary and confusing place is now a familiar and comforting place for me and my family. “I know this place like the back of my hand,” my 15-year-old daughter Andi said after telling me where the closest water fountain was at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center main campus. I giggled and reflected on the last three years.

Three years ago, we could barely find the ER when needed to or the neurology department on A8, which we had just been introduced to a few years earlier. We would often find ourselves lost in the building if we had to park in a different part of the garage or use a different entrance. But not any more.

Almost three years ago, my son Joey who is now 13, was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare disease that doctors argue over whether or not it’s cancer. His white blood cells ate his hip bone causing him to need a bone graft, months in a wheel chair, steroid treatment, months with a walker and then crutches and years of physical therapy (read stories posted HERE for information about LCH and Joey’s battle).

In those three years we have gone from barely being able to find the ER when needed and neurology for Andi’s migraines to knowing where the cool art is in the building, where to find a water fountain, the best items on the lunch menu, where oncology, orthopedics, physical therapy, blood draw, radiology, the emergency room, behavioral medicine, a quiet outside area and so much more are located. We can give directions to those new to the hospital. We are no longer shocked by some of the things we see like children with missing limbs, those in body casts or little ones with burned bodies. We are still saddened but no longer shocked.

We now have favorite nurses in several departments. We know staff members by name, and they know us. We know which techs are better at drawing blood and giving shots. We know which clinics have the best coffee and hot chocolate. We even know most of the valets by name because when you have a kid in a wheelchair or pain, you let someone else park the car. We know how to get massages for the patient and mom, how to get discounted meals and where to get a breath of fresh air without worrying about the neighboring community. We know what days we can find Circus Mojo performing and in which clinics.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is so big and complex that it used to be a scary place to my family. Now oddly enough, we find comfort being there. We seek out our favorite art piece, a framed quilt (read about it), when we need a good distraction. We go outside near Alvin and the Chipmunks when we need fresh air. We bring our favorite nurses cookies from time to time and stop by to see our favorite doctors or staff members just to say hi between appointments.

I think the reason it brings so much comfort is because before Joey was diagnosed and in pain, we were lost and frustrated. We needed answers and it was Dr. Neil Johnson at Cincinnati Children’s who gave us those answers and put Joey on the road to recovery. Dr. Johnson is a hero in our eyes, along with all the other doctors, nurses and staff who helped us along the way. The doctors at Children’s have also helped Andi with her migraines. Everyone there is so kind and reassuring.

We’ve learned things aren’t always as scary as they seem and sometimes the places that seem the scariest might just be where you can get the most comfort.

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Cincinnati Ballet’s Alice (in wonderland) Ticket Giveaway

alice

It’s always tea time in wonderland. Everyone is invited to tea with Alice in wonderland! When guests reach the bottom of the rabbit hole, they should promptly follow the White Rabbit (he’s got a very important date). He will escort them to the tea party, where they will be greeted by various guests. Don’t feel obliged to answer the Mad Hatter when he asks why a raven is like a writing desk (unless you know the answer). Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are sure to fly by and the Cheshire Cat is slated to make an appearance, but you never know when he’ll disappear. Guests do not want to offend the Red Queen or they might end up losing their heads!

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES

Friday, February 13 – 8:00 pm Sunday, February 15 – 1:00 pm
Saturday, February 14 – 2:00 pm Sunday, February 15 – 5:30 pm
Saturday, February 14 – 8:00 pm

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Cincinnati Ballet’s website. Tickets range from $32-$100.

Giveaway: The Cincinnati Ballet has provided Raising2tweens with a voucher for two tickets (date and time of your choice) to Alice (in wonderland) to giveaway to one lucky reader. You have three chances to win. Be sure to do each entry separately for more chances to win. The deadline to enter is Jan. 20 at noon. The winner will be announced on the Raising2tweens Facebook page and have 24 hours to respond. How to enter:

1. Comment on the blog saying who you would take with you and why.

2. Tweet this post with #raising2tweens and comment here that you did.

3. Share this post on Facebook tagging Raising2tweens and comment here that you did.

4. Like Raising2tweens on Facebook and comment here that you did.

Good Luck!