There are huge perks that come along with working at a pediatric hospital. Every day that I step onto the floor I get the joy of knowing that I am working at a top-ranked pediatric facility with unbelievably strong and equally precious patients. Brightly colored walls, fun scrubs, an outstanding frozen yogurt machine…all perks. But something else that still excites me, even after years of working there, is the fact that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a haven for fame. Sure, the professional athletes that visit are there for the kids, not the nurses. But it’s still fun to think they came to see me…
I’ve always been a sports fan(atic). I was that middle school girl who would attend the practices of the nearby professional hockey team with hopes of getting that 23rd autograph from the same player. Some would call me obsessed when in my high school volleyball program next to “future goals” I proudly stated that I intended on marrying a professional athlete. Lofty goal.
So here I am, working as a nurse at Children’s and these starstruck encounters are nearly handed to me. Whether it be hockey players, baseball players, NFL players, you name it, I’m excited to have them walk by me as they visit patients and their families delivering autographs, pictures and goodies. I’m even willing to admit that I got a little starstruck when the Braves’ wives (yes, I said wives) came to visit, and I must look ridiculous when I get googly-eyed over the college football players that stop by, coming quickly to the realization that I’m not in high school anymore and these kids are years younger than me. These visits are seasonal, most prolific around the holidays, and I find myself spending that extra five minutes on my hair the day that I know Matt Ryan will be on the floor.
After careful deliberation, I decided that this obsession must cease. These people, although very talented, are in reality just people like myself and my coworkers. They are no better than me because they are in the spotlight and can throw a football 50 yards. The real heroes are those who surround me at work each and every day. The resilient children who withstand treatments, surgeries, pokes and prods and maintain a smile on their faces. The cardiac surgeons who perform open heart surgery on infants who have hearts the size of strawberries. The nurses who care for these children in their sickest days as if they were their own. The support staff, the chaplains, the physical therapists, the nutritionists, etc. that keep the hospital a well-functioning facility. These are the true heroes.
So the next time I see a strapping gentleman wearing a Thrashers uniform venture through the halls, I shall walk up and nonchalantly introduce myself and thank them for coming. Then I might just have to run to the restroom and wipe the drool from my face- oops.