Today Swedish Medical Center invited graduates of the NICU back for a reunion to visit with nurses and doctors. Gabriel, Miri and I got to see two of his doctors, one nurse and a respiratory specialist, and some of his neighbors from the NICU.
Swedish, while being an excellent facility, still uses a somewhat cramped layout for its NICU beds, that is, seven or eight to a room, and the rooms aren’t that large. We had one neighbor baby who was born a few weeks after Gabriel, and she was on an oscillator for a while for breathing. The oscillator was the one respiratory device Gabriel never had to use, and the noise it made was loud, deep and rumbly. I remember coming in to the NICU to see Gabriel, and that thing was going, and for a while I thought the oscillator was for Gabriel, and I asked the nurse about it, and she said, “That’s for the other baby.” Another time, there was a doctor and a couple of nurses doing some kind of procedure on her, and there was all this bloody gauze being produced by it, and I wondered if I was supposed to leave (my chair was something like 36 inches from all of this).
The reason I’m telling you all of this is that today, that neighbor baby grabbed me by the finger, and led me all around the big lobby of the room where this reunion was happening. And, Gabriel was also running around with her, finding the stairs to be very interesting. This made me so happy because this was a specific wish I had in the NICU — that my son, on life support, and the other babies, also on life support, could play together. And, they did.