I’m surrounded by beige walls, beds separated by paper thin fabric curtains, latex gloves, and more wires and electrical equipment than anyone would care to count. If my description wasn’t good enough, I’m in a hospital. Sitting bedside next to my favorite guy, my dad. He’s sadly come accustom to the hospital the past year. He walks into the radiology center saying hello to particular doctors, nurses, and secretaries. As they put in the ever dreaded IV he tends to make the same jokes as he cringes (god bless the hearts of the nurses at Albany Medical Center...you’re the real MVP’s).
Today was a little bit different of a visit then the ones we’re used to. We were told about two months ago that today, my dad would have to get a metal device attached to his head by four screws in order to do his procedure. He’s getting radiation to prevent a future stroke, and remove the Arteriovernous Malformation (AVM) in his brain. If you’re as confused as I was the first time the doctor said that, it’s basically a ball of blood vessels that is floating around in his brain. Sounds harmless, but apparently if it reaches a certain part of the brain, he could have another stroke. So we’re here today to keep my dad healthy and the four screws in his head are here to help!
I had to sit in the waiting room as my dad got the headpiece attached to his head. I wasn’t too thrilled when the doctor told me I couldn’t be with him. To the normal person, getting four screws in your head sounds bad enough, then there’s my dad who’s scared to even get blood drawn, so you can imagine my hesitation of leaving him to go through something like this. I unwillingly walked out of the conference room we were in filling out paper work back to the waiting room, starting to tear up as I sat down next to a young boy and his dad.
Being the only three people in the waiting room, we got to talking a bit. I told him I liked his bright yellow and green shoes and he said “thanks, you have Nike’s too” (he may be young but he sure does know his shoe brands). A nurse came out and the little boy moved from his dads lap to a wheel chair and was brought to the back. His dad wasn’t allowed in the room with him, so we continued chatting. I quickly learned the little boy was only ten years old, and was going in for a radiation treatment. After complaining of headaches and walking funny, his parents made him a doctors appointment, only to discover he had a brain tumor. His dad explained it as a doctors appointment that lead to a “quick MRI” which led to them being in an ambulance rushed to the hospital. His son had surgery the next day. Talk about a whirlwind of a 24 hours. At this point, I wanted to continue to cry, but for completely different reasons. I’m sitting next to this man feeling angry they wont let me sit with my dad while he gets screws in his head, while a dad is waiting for his TEN YEAR OLD son to get back from radiation, just so they can go home and come right back to the hospital tomorrow for him to start chemo.
I was so wrapped up in the story of this adorable little guy, that I never even got the chance to ask his dad his name. But I guess that didn’t matter, because what I took away was so empowering, that ill remember much more about their family than just their names. As I told this young dad why I was at the hospital he said to me “well, at least my boy doesn’t really understand what’s happening..your dad knows exactly what he’s in for.” Can you believe that? His son has a brain tumor, he’s ten years old at the hospital to get radiation, and this dad feels bad for ME? I couldn’t believe it. He later told me that he would have to get chemo treatment once a month for the next year, and depending on his blood count, maybe he could start 5th grade in the fall. Sometimes when you think you have it bad, there’s someone sitting right next to you that has it way worse.
I walked into the hospital so worried and anxious, but hopeful that this would be our last trip here. Never did I think I would get the opportunity to meet an adorable 4th grader, who may I say, had such a bright and bubbly attitude, and completely change my outlook. I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this story, but the words came out almost effortlessly and I felt it was something we could all learn from. It’s moments like these that I remember why I wanted to join Twill in the first place. It’s moments like these I remember how important it is that I give back to my community and give back. Most importantly, its moments like these that I remember to always stay positive and keep a smile on my face, because you never know what the person next to you is facing.