This year I am volunteering at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (is that a long name or what?) downtown off of Michigan Ave. I have only had two shifts so far but I can tell it is going to be one of the best experiences of my year. I am in the Cardiac CCU, which is the intensive care unit for children with cardiac problems. It is definitely sad to see such sick children, but it reassures me to know that I am helping to brighten their days. There is no age limit on the CCU- there are newborns up to adults. My focus, of course, will be on the babies and children.
So far, I have held a lot of babies which just fills my soul with peace. Babies are so special and helping them relax and sleep is a wonderful job, especially if the baby doesn’t have very many family members coming to visit and nurture them. Playing with the older kids is a blast, too. They are obviously much more interactive. So far, I have been beaten in Uno, fished Play-Doh out of a container of bubbles, and learned all the names of (and decapitated) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For the record, they are Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. Having a younger sister, I could only tell you the different ways to dress a Polly Pocket or Barbie.
Even though they are sick, these children have already made an impact on me. Instead of being able to go to school and play outside like normal children, the kids on the Cardiac CCU are stuck in hospital rooms. Life is short and you never know what it will throw at you. Be loving, happy, excited, and grateful for all the opportunities and the life you have. Life is a gift so don’t waste it!