State-of-the-art smile

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This week was a big one for the children’s hospital I work at. After a long time coming (we’re 110 years old!) it was finally time to move into our new state-of-the-art facility. It’s beautiful, with wide open hallways, single patient rooms, a nice sized break room for the staff that’s away from all the hustle and bustle of the unit. It’s got touch screen TVs with internet access and movies for the kids to watch, and it’s got enough room for years and years to come of helping kids who need us.

It comes with some bittersweet feelings for a lot of people, staff and patients a like. We have so many kids with chronic illnesses who have basically grown up at our hospital with our staff as extended family. It was like moving away from your childhood home for some. But with all the eager anticipation, we got through it, moving one patient at a time. As a CNA, we were instructed to help prepare all our patients to move and then come over to the new building with your last patient and the transport team. So I got all my kids but one ready and watched them get wheeled down the hall and out of site, not knowing what they were seeing on the way out.

So when it came time to move my last patient, and 11 year old boy, I started getting anxious. What was out there? News crews? Cameras? We’d been warned, but we had also been inside since 6am, and hadn’t talked to anyone who’d already made the move. Lucky for me, I had a little boy with me who was super excited to see it.  And when we finally made the walk over to the new building, I was speechless. There were cameras, there were news crews, staff, and volunteers around every corner. The building was beautiful, but nothing compared to the amazing smile across my patient’s face. Wide-eyed and waving at everyone, I couldn’t take my eyes off the joy in his face, taking it in with every laugh and cheer he gave to each person we saw.

Years of planning went into this building. Months of training, and a ton of hard work. It was all worth it, we’re in a brand new place, making brand new memories and helping kids better than ever. But despite all the hard work that we went through, EVERYTHING was worth it to see that breathtaking smile light up our new building.

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