There was a day, when Lily was in the PICU at CHOP, that I went for a walk in University City. Everyone around me was behaving normally--preparing for Memorial Day Weekend, eating, laughing, complaining, fighting, loving, interacting, shopping, walking their dogs and planning their lives.

It was dizzying. The night before there had been seven "Staff Emergencies." In a pediatric PICU, you hear the announcement, you hear all the feet running, you see the crash cart go by, you hear the screaming. And then you will yourself back to sleep. You turn up the TV. You make yourself believe the outcome was good, because otherwise, a child just died down the hall.

It was our own hell--Mike and I were residents in a nightmare.  But outside, the world went on. I hated it--the pettiness of it, the stupidity of it and the simplicity of it. Didn't they know? My daughter was in a hospital, on a floor where kids were crashing and dying. How could they complain about the weather? How could they laugh?

I wanted to start pushing people. If I would have had this blog or Facebook, my fury would have been unleashed.

But, the world went on, as it should.  All the pettiness and all the drama and all the minutia was a gift.  It reminded me that life is not all staff emergencies.

Because if everyone around me joined me in Hell and became mired in the same darkness, there would have been no one to pull me out.

Normal saved me.


  1. Very well said..I have had beyond my share of nights in the PICU with my daughter and can completely relate to your feelings. I would love to share your post with with others, because I'm finding most people just can't relate to what it really feels like to have a child with a serious illness.


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