PICU. Do you know what that is? If you don’t…then phew…be glad. If you do, then you probably have been in one, know of someone who has, or work in the medical industry. The PICU stands for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and as amazing as our local PICU is, I hope you never have to go there…ever…for any reason.
For parents whose children are in the PICU for an extended period of time, seasons pass, holidays come and go and you lose all concept of time. Self care goes completely out the window. The question becomes did you wash your hair this week instead of did you wash your hair yesterday? You sleep in 30-minute increments and feel like Chap Stick and a new change of clothes is the best thing since sliced bread. Your ‘home’ is split up in many different locations, because honestly, your home is wherever your children are. So home becomes the hospital room you find yourself in as well as the home you long to get back to. You don’t get to see your other children sometimes for days. You’d do anything for an uneventful, ‘normal’, boring day like the ones you used to take advantage of.
The world keeps moving on, all around you, and you actually don’t care. Your main concern is now survival, for your child, the rest of your family…and for yourself. Fear, worry, loneliness and isolation are all the norm. Quite honestly, it is a parent’s worse nightmare come true.
There is light in the darkness, God is still good, and people are giving and generous. In this exasperatingly, unfathomable place you find that hope is your lifeline, compassion for one another is engrained in you like never before, and small acts of kindness make your heart smile and bring a refreshing to your weary soul. Beauty is given for ashes, and this crazy roller coaster called the PICU makes sure of one thing, that your life will never be the same.
This is why it is so important for us TO COME TO THEM and to help shine light in these difficult, sometimes very dark days. To do our small part to let them know they are not alone, that the ‘outside world’ or maybe we could say in this situation the ‘mainland’, is cheering them on, thinking of them, and sending them much needed help. Providing the basic necessities and a simple smile lets these battle-weary parents know others truly care.
This is why we show up once a month at INOVA Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, VA with lunch and ‘all the necessities’ that parents might wish they had from home. We also show up with plenty of hugs, a smile, and hearts full of compassion and concern. If you added up all the days Julia Grace spent in the PICU, it would probably equal more than a year. When a mom comes into the parent lounge and I say to them, “I’ve spent many a nights here too, how are you doing”….there’s not only instant safety to share worries, hopes, and fears, but a mutual understanding that connects us for life.
Would your company, church, team or family like to donate items to help SJGF shower some much needed TLC onto these weary families going through so very much?
Learn more about how you can give back through our ‘SJGF PICU Family-Care Outreach’. Everything we do takes a village, and we are so thankful for ours!