They Become Family
I was a patient at Texas Children’s Hospital for 19 years. When I was 2 months old I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). From that point on I had quarterly check-ups with my pulmonologist and CF care team at Texas Children’s. CF is a genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the respiratory and digestive systems. This sticky mucus traps bacteria in the lungs which lead to me having recurring lung infections. When I was younger I was not particularly excited about going to the doctor, but Texas Children’s had a way of making clinic visits fun! One visit I will always remember was in December 2007: I had just finished my appointment and was waiting in the exam room. Suddenly I heard jingling bells and in walked Santa Claus! Quinton, a staff member in the pulmonary department, had dressed up as Santa Claus and was visiting the patients on the 9th floor. I still have the Polaroid picture we took that day tucked in my clinic binder. Something incredible happens when you see the same people every 3 months for 19 years—they become like family. My pulmonologist, Dr. Marianna Sockrider, saw me throughout my rebellious pre-teen and teen years. She helped me understand why my treatments are so important and how each medication works. Having that knowledge has helped me take better care of myself in my adult years. Each person on my care team holds a special place in my heart. There are not nearly enough words to describe how incredible each staff member was. They were there to celebrate milestones, laugh with me and even cry with me when my disease got scary. That is the wonderful thing about Texas Children’s; their employees truly care about their patient’s health and life outside of their illness. Even now, as I am beginning my senior year of college I think back on the experiences I had at Texas Children’s and smile.