They are all so colorful. All different sizes as they float by as if not a care in the world. I studied these fish for quite some time before hearing my mom’s innocent voice float in one ear and wishing would go out the other, but instead hanging on to those words that told me today was the day I was having surgery. The fish play a big role in my memory of Children’s hospital because they are there almost to distract people. It only works for a few minutes until you have people like your parents telling you to keep up or else you will be late. As I continued my walk I saw the gift store which seemed to be overflowing with what I liked to refer to as “feel good gifts”. This store I knew I would be revisiting later in my stay. We got to the room and waited until a nurse called me in to put on one of those ugly polka dot hospital gowns. I slipped it on and walked out almost ashamed of what I was wearing. I heard a voice tell me its ok and it will be done in no time. This was my nurse. Her vanilla aroma almost enveloped me but I loved it and it made me feel safe. Knowing it had to be done sooner or later, before I knew it I was asleep.
My parents broke the news to me that I needed surgery when I was in first grade. There was no way around it and I couldn’t put it off for too long, so they made an appointment. I remember thinking why would a seven year old have to have surgery, and never fully understood the concept of what was happening or what needs to be done. Although I wished there could be a way of avoiding this, I was told the surgery was necessary. Many thoughts raced through my mind the day I went in. I realized it was something that would be done for good and won’t have to worry about later in the future. The thought of someone cutting into me did not sit well so of course right before I was about to be brought into the room I sat there, in fear. My mom was by my side reassuring me that everything would be ok, which is what anyone would say to calm someone down. I knew I was brave and just wanted to have this done as soon as possible so I gave in. As they wheeled me into the room, all of my thoughts were gone and I layed there motionless.
I came out of surgery in some pain which was expected but something I didn’t consider. Though it hurt it was not as bad as the next couple of days to come. I didn’t know how to function and whether I would go back to my normal self. The TV was always on in my room flipping through channels to try and find something to make me sleep. You would hear the soft voice of the nurse come in and give me my medication and try to get me to eat when none of it looked appetizing. Taking the smallest bites of the red goopy substance, I did it so that they would leave me alone. I must admit though, food was made upon request, which I was a fan of. The pain continued and my brother throwing a ball at me was something I was not willing to put up with. Although I was weak, I just wanted to walk again and start moving. Typical hospital socks with the smooth yet slippery bottom and small sticky pads made small but measurable strides on the patchy floor as I would try and make my way to what I refer to as “the playroom”. This is where visitors came to see me sometimes as I would sit in embarrassment and try to show them I was back to my normal self. The recovery process I knew would be a struggle but also a journey and all I wanted to do was get back to the fish and gift shop I had seen the day I walked in but not by means of a squeaky wheelchair.
The frog was blue and purple and lit up in its stomach. This was the ring I got the day I was released from the hospital. Out of all the gifts in the shop I chose this. I think the fact I could have something that I can put on my finger and distract me from worrying about pain was just what I needed. As I walked out the sparkling fish caught a small corner of my eye and I immediately went over to the tank. I watched them dance in the water with no worries and the surrounding kids in amazement just like me. I knew these kids might be here for different reasons but the fish was something that could divert their attention, and make being at a hospital a lot easier.