We have been so blessed by Shriners Hospital, I feel it is time to devote a post to the topic.
I had such peace on our first visit to Shriners, peace that we had found the right place for Ellie's orthapedic care, peace that the staff at Shriners would look after our Ellie. It's not just medical care they give, they treat the whole child, support the family, support the child emotionally.
I am amazed at the friendliness of the staff at Shriners. Everyone offers a smile, a kind word, or gives directions--if you're looking around as if you're lost. They take the time to answer questions or find someone to answer them for you. You may wait a long time in the waiting room, but, when you are with the medical professionals, you will never feel rushed. In the waiting room are video games, toys, a play kitchen area, crayons, and sometimes a volunteer with an activity.
I don't ever remember specifically giving money to Shriners, but I can now say it is money well used. I learned, too, of international clinics. There were several children in the hospital when Ellie was who was not from the United States. A sponsor had paid their airfare, while Shriners took care of their medical needs. One parent is allowed to stay in the hosptial with the child and receive meals along with the child.
The Fish Bowl
In the Fish Bowl, there is a library and other activities area. Here children go to have meals, so they're not always in their room. They may watch movies, have craft time, listen to music, or meet the pets for pet therapy.
The hospital has an outdoor play area, with adaptive equipment. Children in wheelchairs can use the ramps to "climb" higher. Children with braces or other orthotics can use the adaptive swings.
The hospital sits on a lake. There is a shaded sidewalk, grass, and a gazebo on the lake. These are nice places for parents to relax during a child's long surgery, or a lovely place to walk with your child when you just want to go outside.
When Ellie had her surgery in Tampa, we were blessed with the company of my parents, our pastor, and associate pastor. While there my dad called his cousin Betty who lives in Tampa. She came and sat with us, too. During our hospital stay, Betty's daughter Kelly came to see us. I had not seen Kelly in 17 years. She used to come spend summers with my grandmother.
Not only was our visit with Kelly that day a blessing, Kelly has continued to bless us. We now have a place to stay the night when Ellie has appointments in Tampa. I get to visit with a cousin I probably wouldn't have made contact with, and we have a homey place to stay.
And, the day before Ellie's "cast away," Betty and Kelly had a birthday cake for me when we arrived in Tampa.
Kelly even has a guest house behind her lovely little bungalo. So, we get some privacy along with some company.