When you think of heroes you often imagine those that keep up safe and protect us. At least I do. I think of firemen and police officers and all of the brave soldiers who live and die for our freedom. Today I witnessed a different kind of heroism. It is a little lower key and less showy than burning buildings and gun fights but in its own way these little acts of heroism require just as much courage. The courage to put aside your fear and think of others first.
I am sitting here in room 315 of Schneider Children’s Hospital. Ryan has a bunch of leads glued to his head and a gauze wrapped cap holding it all down. The leads are connected to a box which has been placed in a Shark Tales back pack. He wears the back pack, which is connected by a long cord to a plug in the wall, to the bathroom but that is as far as he can go.
We’ve gone about twelve times.
The doctor is trying to get a better handle on what kind of seizures he is having. The seizures are less frequent than they were in the past but the memory loss and other effects last longer now. It is a little disturbing.
Anyway the poor kid was in the admitting office for three hours, then on to the lab where they hooked him up. After about forty-five minutes of that we got to his room where he and I would spend the night. He immediately asked for his guitar. I told him to play softly as the little girl in the bed next to him was sleeping. He was softly playing Margaritaville and signing along when three staff neurologists stopped by. They were just listening to him play. Eventually they had to go off and do some work (at least I am assuming that’s what they did – they may have gone off to buy Jimmy Buffet CDs) and then he attracted a few nurses. All in all about ten people stopped by to listen and sing-a-long.
Here is this child who is hot, itchy and uncomfortable. He wants nothing more than to home and he is afraid to move because he thinks the leads will pull and hurt him. Yet he still finds it within himself to play his music and let others enjoy his talent. He patiently answers questions about his guitar, his lessons and his preferences in music.
When everyone had left and he put down the guitar he reached over and rubbed my shoulder, “don’t worry it’ll be ok,” he said.
He may never learn square roots or what happened at Pearl Harbor. Philosophy and geometry may always remain a mystery to him. Yet somehow this extraordinary child knows when his mother needs reassurance. He knows that he is loved beyond words and he knows that sharing his gifts and his love is his primary purpose. He knows so much and I have so much to learn.
He is truly my hero.