This past Saturday the NNICU nurses of the MUSC Children's Hospital hosted the Neonatal Nurses Reunion. They filled the horseshoe with bubbles, ducklings, Disney characters, and cupcakes. Invited all the children who've ever stayed in their incubators, hooked to respirators or under the phototherapy lights, to come play.
Sheryl Bey, a NNICU RN, remembered a little girl from 15 years ago. "I didn't think I could remember that far back," she says, "She was premature, weighed 1 lb, 15 oz., and that was a big deal back then."
My nephew, David, had a two week stay in MUSC's NNICU right after birth. Elevated bilirubin levels caused brain damage, but since, in his hearing aids and leg braces, David has amazed us all. Walking on a treadmill during Physical Therapy and saying "Bye, bye" to his Speech Therapist. He's just the smiling child that makes this event rewarding: Lets the nurses see the positive side of their care.
Fellowship plays a huge part in the Nurses Reunion. Nurses reunite with their patients. Parents get to re-thank them. And to meet others that have been in their shoes.
From the crowd, we heard my sister's name, turned, and recognized--thanks to facebook, of course--a little boy named Sullivan who was diagnosed with the same rare hearing disorder two weeks after David. In silence, the two boys made friends, pointing and smiling.
Music played the whole time. Twice I heard "What a Wonderful World." Once by Louis Armstrong, once reggae-ed up. How could the lyrics not resonate? "I see babies cry. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know." I was filled with promise. Of growth, what could be. Of David's possibilities.
When is a day not full of wonder?