In the early days of raising Nate, there were a lot of medical appointments. I shuffled Nate through the halls of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Christopher’s Hospital, and A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children, with my son in his stroller or walking slowly as he clutched my hand.
Our days were filled with long waits and pre-assessment procedures that included blood test, x-rays, and more. This was all before the actual examination by the doctor, which had its own set of dilemmas. An entire visit was tiring for my little boy and for me, which left us in tears.
Once we checked out at the reception desk, there was a sense of relief, as I rushed us to the car, and raced home through the traffic, exhausted from the excitement of our day. Once home, I would prepare a quick snack, before we landed on the sofa to doze off for a few hours.
“Things had to change,” I told myself. I had to make “Doctor Appointment Days” enjoyable for us. So I made the decision that I would be optimistic about the day. I would no longer look at it with dread, but an opportunity to spend quality time with Nate. Also, instead of returning home afterward we would do something fun, such as going to breakfast or lunch or maybe to a park.
At our next doctor’s visit, we did exactly that. We hopped in the car, and went to a restaurant, where we ordered pancakes. Nate smiled in delight as he stuffed maple flavored pancake in his mouth. He was so happy.
On the following appointment, instead of rushing out the door, we went to the playground, located on the campus of the hospital. The day was beautiful, with an autumn foliage that colored the atmosphere. The leaves were shades of red, yellow, green, auburn, and purple. The sounds of children playing on the swings and the sliding board filled the air. Nate happily laughed as he made his way through the crowded children, as he requested me to push him on the swing, and help him down the silver sliding board.
Seeing my son happy, was great. And to capture the moment, I headed to the hospital gift shop, purchasing a disposable camera (there were no cellphone cameras back then). There was a feeling of happiness, as I snapped pictures of Nate and the beautiful fall backdrop.
As I watched Nate smile in delight, I learned that this is what life was all about. It was about seeing my son happy, no matter what. I could no longer let our medical appointments dictate our feelings, instead I had to “Make the Best of Our Days”