‘I Wish They Could Go Home’

Last Tuesday, I had to take my middle child, Ted, to see a specialist at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. We were referred by Ted’s primary care provider, Cindy Burr, who works for UnityPoint Health located here in Muscatine. You see, Ted was born with a heart murmur, and during a well check, Cindy noticed that he hadn’t quite outgrown it.

Over the years, we’ve driven past the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, but this was our first appointment, and I have to tell you that place is incredible. It is truly designed to put children at ease who are visiting for a variety of reasons. The check-in process was a breeze and I was pleasantly surprised to know that they take care of parking, so that was one less thing I had to worry about.

Ted had a cardiogram along with an EKG, and I found that the staff member, Candie, was very kind and patient with him. Turns out, asking an active 6 year old to lie still is a bit more challenging than I had realized!

The great news is that Ted’s heart is totally healthy and the doctor shared that the murmur will indeed be something that he out grows as he continues to get older. I shared with the doctor that I too was born with a murmur and was something that I outgrew.

As Ted and I were waiting for the elevator to take us to the parking ramp, he noticed a family entering the hospital with pillows and blankets. I shared with him that this was the hospital that the Hawkeye Football Team waves to each game. I also told him that at the same time that we were preparing to leave the hospital several children were going to be there, including possibly some from Muscatine County.

Ted paused and said, “I wish they could go home.”

I was flooded with emotions and immediately thought of my friends Cory and Kendra Daufeldt who’s late son, Hayden, spent so many days at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It also made me think of all the stories Cory has shared with me about the caring staff that took care of Hayden.

I’m extremely grateful for the health care systems that we have in Muscatine, along with those a short drive away in Iowa City. Rural health is a tough business, and sometimes it can be challenging to recruit young doctors and nurses to work in places like Iowa. For those that have made the decision to practice medicine locally, I hope you know just how appreciative I am of you.

Ted and I pulled out of the parking ramp and drove alongside Kinnick Stadium so I could show him exactly where children go to watch the Hawkeye games and take part in the Wave. While he may only be six-years-old, I think that experience will be a lasting one for Ted.