I have chosen to share a story about a blanket. To fully appreciate the importance of this blanket, I will have to take you back to the beginning.
When Oscar was born there were “weird things” that I noticed but I was re-assured that they were normal. And of course you assume everything is normal. For example, my daughter Olivia was a big baby born at 9lbs 2oz. When I found out that I was pregnant with a boy I was terrified that he would be even bigger than Olivia. Needless to say, I was surprised when he was only 6lbs 1oz at birth. A perfectly typical weight for many children, but he was 3lbs lighter than my daughter… I found this strange. I had no difficulty breastfeeding Olivia, and I previously talked about my struggles feeding Oscar….”every child is different” I was told. So when he moved funny once, I questioned whether this was normal or not. I couldn’t remember if Olivia had done this also. But when it happened a second time, I decided to take a video and send it to my aunt who is a very well respected pediatrician.
My aunt said that we needed to take Oscar to the closest pediatric hospital (I was still ignorantly in denial that this was anything serious). So my husband and I drove an hour to the closest hospital and my friend came to stay with Olivia. From there, everything happened so fast. A few days later my son and I were transported via ambulance to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for an EEG. We were only supposed to be there for the test and then return back to the other hospital.
We finished with the EEG and were walking back to the waiting room when the EEG technician ducked into a room and quickly returned giving me this beautifully quilted blanket. He obviously knew something at that moment that I didn’t know. Technicians aren’t supposed to communicate test results. But he knew, he knew it was bad. He knew that we wouldn’t be going home. He knew that I (we) needed that blanket. I will never forget his kindness.
Soon after the outpatient neurologist told me that we would be staying. A while after that the inpatient neurologist told me that Oscar’s results were “worrisome” and that we would know more in the morning. I had my son, my diaper bag, and that blanket, that’s it. I was in denial and freaked out all at the same time. I was fortunate that my cousin worked at the hospital and she sat with me long after her shift was over until my husband could join me after dropping Olivia off at my sister’s house.
This blanket has a navy blue border with Tinkerbell (from Peter Pan) all over and the other side is totally pink. Someone not knowing the history of this blanket may find the design to be a strange decor choice in my son’s room. This blanket is one of the most precious things to me. It represents the kindness of the EEG technician who knew that I needed it, but was unable to tell me why. It represents the kindness of the people who spent hours making it and donated it to The Hospital for Sick Children. For the last 18months since I have had this blanket in my possession, I have thought many times about contacting the people who made the blanket to thank them. It is one of those situations where saying “thank-you” never seemed good enough. I didn’t quite know what to say or how to say it so that they would know what it truly meant to me. I have thought about it for 18months and this week I finally had the ability to say thank you to “Project Smile Niagara” for the beautiful blanket they made and donated to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
There is empathy, kindness and compassion all around. Not everyone has those qualities, but so many do and so many people need it. Be kind.