Both Maggie and I meet numerous people during our hospital stays. It is not unusual for us to know two or three other patients when Maggie is admitted. There are a number of “frequent flyers” (regular patients) at UCSF Children’s Hospital, and both parents and kids get to know each other.
On Saturday we went to Crissy Field to support one of those kids. Justin is 14 and has Cystic Fibrosis (CF) which is a crappy disease. He has to spend long stretches in the hospital but he makes the most of it. He is well known for the Wii competitions held in his room. Unless you saw him in the hospital though, you would NEVER know this kid has anything going on. He is an active 14 year old that has a ton of fun.
On Saturday, the “Great Strides” walk to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research was taking place at Crissy Field. This disease should be cured. Researchers are making "great strides” toward a cure and Justin’s family is very active in raising money for research. They recruited many walkers to participate and were having a barbecue afterward. It was a fantastic day, so Maggie and I headed down there. Dad was going to join us a bit later after giving his sister and her friends a whirlwind tour of San Francisco.
There were a gazillion people at Crissy Field. I looked around for “Team Justin,” pushing Maggie through the various awnings and parties set up for other walkers. There was a huge group or fraternity boys and sorority girls in one group. Just as I pushed Maggie through their group, the pizzas arrived and we were completely surrounded by frat boys. Note to self – never get between fraternity boys and free pizza. They quickly parted ways so we could pass, but it was a funny few minutes.
I found Team Justin when I saw a nurse from the UCSF PICU. She recognized Maggie and came to retrieve us. There were burgers, hot dogs grilling, and walkers returning for the feast. I spoke briefly with Tina, Justin’s mom (who serves on the Family Advisory Council with me and other parents). I caught up with Chriss, the nurse manager whose kids went to school with mine.
As I chatted, I started to suction Maggie and found the suction machine would not suck. Really? The machine has one function. I could not get it to work. I called to see if Steve was home and could grab the other, but he was still touring. We had to leave. Maggie was doing ok, but I had maybe 10 minutes to get to a working suction machine, which is just about how long it would take to get home. .
I said my goodbyes. Rob, Justin’s dad said,” Aren’t you going to eat.” I told him I couldn’t. I used to (jokingly) say that everything in my life sucked except my vacuum, so I quickly reformed that saying to fit the situation and took off.
We did get a picture of Justin and Maggie, though. Justin is holding his friends dog “Starbucks”
If you want to participate in the Great Strides Event on your area or get involved in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, check out http://www.cff.org/great_strides/
Unrelated but important note: Today is my 24th wedding anniversary. I am a very lucky woman because I met and married the right person for me. As I waited for Maggie’s bus this morning at 7:00AM, chatting with the night nurse who was leaving and the school nurse who was arriving and trying to get the dog to stop barking I thought “who would have thought this would be my life 24 years later” And then I smiled. Better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health. We have had ‘em all. Happy Anniversary, dear.