Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"Better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness." This old adage came to my mind as my family and I attended the St. John Hospital's semi-annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Graduate celebration. During this festival, children who began their life journeys with medical problems of every kind, gather together with the medical staff who treated them to celebrate life and all the victories of defying the odds as survivors of premature births.
There would be nothing to celebrate were it not for the hard work and dedication of the St. John NICU staff. Each member of the NICU Team contributes a critical part of the total care package that ensures that NICU babies get the absolute best medical care possible and that parents get the emotional and spiritual support they need during an extremely difficult period. In the deepest valley of a particularly discouraging stage of Victoria's NICU experience, the entire St. John NICU Team (doctors, administrators, nurses, tech personnel and support personnel) guided our family through an almost unbearable situation with compassion, wisdom, and excellence. We knew that the St. John NICU Team was not only treating Victoria, they were also rooting for her and they were encouraging us in a most uncertain and fearful time.
I often asked myself during that period, what kind of people devote themselves to take on the monumental challenge of treating babies born so early with a greatly reduced possibility of survival and a greatly increased possibility of loss and heart break? The answer is really pretty simple - people who care! This care is exemplified to the highest degree in the person of Dr. Ali Rabbani. Dr. Rabbani established the St. John NICU in 1970 when the survival possibilities for premature babies were extremely remote. It was evident from observing him as he interacted with the children who graduated from St. John's NICU and their families that he delights in seeing each and every child and the remarkable progress that has been made in their lives after their NICU experiences. I was deeply touched personally as I considered that every family at the celebration was able to experience the joy of victory over death because of the determined efforts of this man. Dr. Rabbani and his associates, were not content to be satisfied with the status quo of assuming that babies born prematurely were a lost cause, but chose rather to study, investigate, prepare and apply their efforts so that they could beat back the odds and give children a chance who otherwise might have become just another preterm statistic.
The love the NICU team has for what they do and for the ones they treat is the greatest testament to the difference a few dedicated people can make when they choose to light candles rather than curse darkness. Their examples serve a challenge to all of us. Are we willing to apply the very best we have to offer intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually in extremely difficult situations? Are we dedicated to strive to be overcomers or good rather than passive bystanders who allow evil to take root when the battle is long and arduous? Are we willing to struggle with the possibility that we may lose in a particular effort to do good on a specific day, but that if we persist at doing what is good and right, all will not be lost in the long run? The St. John NICU staff has lit a fire within my soul to renew my commitment to apply myself without wavering to be committed to do good. It may cost me something in the process, but it will cost others much more if I squander my talents, sit and do nothing. I challenge each of you to commit yourselves to do the same.
Until Next Time...
(Photo 1 : Victoria and NICU Administrative Supervisor Sandy)
(Photo 2 : Victoria and her very first NICU nurse, LaRae)
(Photo 3 : Dr. Casabar - Victoria's first NICU doctor, Dr. Rabbani, and Sam)
(Photo 4 : Dr, Casabar, Luz, Sam and Victoria in the front)