December 11, 2013
I know it is only Wednesday, but it has been a long week so far. I attended the funeral of a very special young man yesterday. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to spend a small amount of time with him. I loved him and love his Mother. His story has been all over the news this week. He was a fighter and like Christian has left a lasting legacy on earth.
Today, I had the pleasure of visiting Children’s Hospital of Alabama. I was blest to have a good friend drive me to Birmingham. My friend’s Mother-inlaw arranged for us to have a special tour of the hospital. She met us off campus to drive us to the hospital, Corbin Cullum was also able to join us today. It is always a blessing to spend time with Corbin. I was not expecting to be treated like a VIP. We were greeted by Andrea from Children’s of Alabama’s Hospital Foundation and she was present during the tour. The CEO, Mike Warren came to say hello and gave me a beautiful book that includes all the art work throughout the hospital. The best part for me, was our tour was led by Dr. Ray Watts, the Chair of the Hematolgy/Oncolgy Department. The facilities were amazing and so impressive. The Hematology/Oncolgy inpatient floor and the Peds ICU and the Emergency Department were exceptional. I so wish our patients in Chattanooga could have a similar facility. We have the incredible professionals delivering care, we just need a new facility on a much smaller scale.
After the tour, I was escorted to a conference area and greeted by one of the Chief Pediatric Residents, Dr. Adam Johnson. Adam and I met by chance earlier this year while he and his wife were visiting Chattanooga. I am thankful that he made it possible for me to be there today to share some of Christian’s story.
So, today I received the gift of standing in a room full of Pediatric Residents, some Medical Students and some Attending Physicians to share a story.....a very brief glimpse into Christian’s journey. I specifically talked about what Christian and I started referring to as, “The List.” “The List” was short and you had to be pretty impressive to make the list. Chris and I added a couple of Residents to the list after Christian was critical. I also briefly talked about how Christian wanted to change the world and I told them that I thought that was happening, but just not like she planned. I encouraged them to make a difference, even if it was just by smiling at someone in the hallway. I gave everyone a copy of Christian’s Personal College Essay and left some to be shared with those not present. I then shared a quote we received in a card from one of the PICU Intensivist after Christian died, “We are thankful for Christian’s too short life and were blessed to know her. She was a teacher in more ways than one...about life and medicine.” In conclusion, I offered a challenge...”Everytime, you enter a patients room, no matter if they are 2 months or 24 years old, think about, am I going to make this patient, this family’s list? Spend some extra time, I promise, you will walk away the one blessed.” And then as everyone was preparing to leave, I forgot something important...I introduced the first Resident to make “The List,” Dr. Jennifer Hamm, she is now a Pediatric Hematolgy/Oncolgy at UAB. Tonight, I am thankful for the blessing of the opportunity to share some of Christian’s story to a room full of people that were intently listening to every word I said. I truly think everyone present wanted to hear what I had to say. I pray they all walked away inspired. - Robyn Bryant