Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Moment Residency Became Worth It

Last Saturday, Philip and I had the opportunity to attend Hearts of Hope, a fundraiser for Midwest Heart Connection, an organization dedicated to supporting families with children that have congenital heart disease.  

Unfortunately, the only picture I have from the evening is from the sports bar where we went after the event to watch the Husker game!  GO BIG RED!  Someday, I'll become a good blogger and learn to photograph the things I write about.
Our family became linked with Midwest Heart Connection when our nephew, Patrick, was born with pulmonary atresia and a VSD.  Thanks to the dedicated staff at Omaha Children's Hospital and the support of Midwest Heart Connection, Patrick continues to flourish and keep us all on our toes as a healthy young boy should!  Like the rest of the children in this tearjerker video, Patrick's heart is a work of art!

The evening started off with a cocktail hour and silent auction.  As Philip and I made our way around the room, it became obvious that he knew the Children's Hospital staff in attendance--and they remembered him.  He was on the receiving end of a bunch of warm hugs, handshakes, and questions about what he has been up to since finishing residency.  (As a pediatric resident in Omaha, most of his time was spent at the Children's Hospital, so he got to know the staff very well.)  It was endearing to hear the various doctors and nurses say how much they've missed him and tell him that they send as many Lincoln patients his way as they can.  

As we approached our table for the evening, the young couple seated there immediately stood up.  The wife beamed at Philip and gave him a big hug.  The husband gave him a strong handshake.  Philip introduced me to the couple, and the wife gave me a big hug.  "Phil took care of our baby when she was born two-and-a-half years ago.  We had no idea what was going to happen, and Phil took such great care of her.  He really helped us to get through that time."  We had a great time visiting over dinner, and I learned that their little girl is doing great today.  Throughout the rest of his residency, the family had several hospital stays.  Whether or not their baby was his patient during their stay, Philip always made it a point to stop by and check in when he saw their name on the admission list.   

At the end of the evening when we were saying goodbye, the wife gave me another bear hug.  While Philip and the husband were exchanging goodbyes, she said to me, "I am so glad Phil is a pediatrician.  His patients are so lucky to have him!  He is going to make such a difference in all of those families' lives."  

I put my hands on her shoulders and said, "Oh, you have no idea how much your words mean to me!  Residency was a long haul, and there were several times when I thought, 'Why are we doing this?!'  Tonight, after meeting you and your husband and hearing your story, I know that this is why we did it. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for telling me how much Philip means to your family.  I know he loves his job, and getting to meet you has made all of the long hours so worth it."  I let them know that their daughter is in our prayers and told them to take good care.  

As we left the parking lot, I squeezed Philip's hand and told him, "I am so proud of you.  Thank you for taking such good care of their family, and not just their precious baby.  Tonight has made all of those crazy years of residency so worth it.  Now, I'm so glad that you get to be a pediatrician.  It's so special that you get to walk families through all of the stages of their child's development and care for the whole family along the way."

He squeezed my hand back with a cute little tear in his eye, "Thank you.  That means a lot to me."    

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