“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?”
Or when you’ve been driving for nine hours on an interstate riddled with seemingly permanent orange cones and your copilots are a 95-pound Golden Retriever and an 11-month-old baby, both with a tendency to drool.
But – thanks to one stubborn GPS narrator – that’s how my life as a new resident of the Gem City began.
We did (finally) locate our apartment that night; it was an emergency trip to Dayton Children’s Hospital a week later, though, that helped us find our bearings.
It is a generally understood law of the universe that if you have just relocated cities by 300 miles, your child will spike a high fever before you’ve secured a pediatrician. (And said fever will appear at approximately 4:59 p.m. On a Friday. When it’s raining.) The first result in a Google search for pediatric urgent care directed us to Dayton Children’s.
I don’t remember how long we waited, what movie was playing on the lobby television, or how many other families were consoling tired children. I don’t remember what my son’s temperature was, or what I was wearing, or what car we took to get there. What I recall is the doctor who treated my son’s ear infection – and, in the process, allowed me to heal, too.
I came to Dayton for the potential of a new job and its proximity to my Tennessee roots, but in many ways, I came to Dayton to center myself after living in the fog of a community hardened by perpetual winter and declining industry. For my husband and I, moving to southwest Ohio – knowing only each other and nothing about the region save for what we’d seen on a recurring Weather Channel special about the 1973 Xenia tornado – was truly a leap.I don’t remember the doctor’s name; but I remember her kindness. I remember how I involuntarily smiled when I heard her Kentucky accent, how I nodded when she said she knew no one in Dayton when she landed here, how I was comforted when she mentioned her young daughter, who was just a few weeks younger than my own. I remember her favorite color was blue and that she loved Halloween and – as she scribbled her cell number and a “Call me any time!” on a prescription notepad – that she understood what it is to be somewhat unmoored, but in exactly the right place, all at the same time.
She could have berated us for traveling with a sick 11-month-old or rolled her eyes at our first-time-parent selves for utilizing urgent care for a mundane ear infection. Instead, she reassured us that all three of us were in exactly the right place.
And, indeed, we are.
Click HERE to see some of my favorite elements of Dayton Children’s new patient tower. If you’re in the Miami Valley, be sure to check it out in person at their Community Open House, June 11, 1-4 p.m.
Note: This post was written as part of Dayton Children’s new patient tower grand opening, for which participating bloggers received complimentary tours and a few hospital goodies. All thoughts and opinions (and genetically problematic ears) described here are my own.