Hospital waiting rooms are like the obituary section of the paper. They can be a complete bore, or you can resolve to find in them some redeeming value. Since our family spends a relatively large amount of time in these places (as do most families with hemophilia) we try our best to make the experience positive. This means bringing plenty of reading material, games, or the ever popular “I spy.” In the photo below our boys are doing their math and Elton is enjoying an ESPN magazine.
Today our hemophilia treatment center provided Elton with a checkup and finalized details for tomorrow’s surgery. He was assessed by a cadre of specialists: nurses, physical therapist, dental hygienist, nutritionist, and our hematologist. The following in-action photos show Dr. Valentino exercising some of his medical mojo.
Elton doesn’t try to be charming; it just happens. His smile illuminates the room and his kind demeanor naturally wins affection. We observed this happen with each person who stepped through the door. The following picture is of Laura, our physical therapist. After inflicting 20 minutes worth of pain upon Elton’s legs and arms, the kind that physical therapists are famous for, she gave him a lesson on maintaining correct posture. The fact that Elton is smiling for this photo says a lot about his character.
Tomorrow is the big day. Elton and I will leave the house for RUSH Hospital at 6:30am. The procedure is scheduled to last for an hour with about two hours of post-op. As a pastor who regularly visits people in the hospital, I’ve come to learn that every surgery is “major” when you’re the one under the knife. Elton is naturally feeling some of this apprehension. But the hard part is really behind him. It happened last week when he said goodbye to his family and stepped on a plane for this unknown place across the large ocean. With a single crutch under his arm and a small handbag on the other, he left his city for the first time, full of hope. This young man with arthritic joints and the heart of a lion has known more challenges in his few years upon the earth than most of us will face in a lifetime. Nevertheless, he awakes each day and meets them the only way he knows how: head-on.