Truth behind the Costume

Kathleen - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Entered on February 19, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I always thought I had pretty good luck. Nothing out of the ordinary, but nothing ever went wrong. But to my dismay, my luck started running out. A series of unfortunate events preceded what was possibly the scariest week of my life.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling dragged out and nauseous. This continued with a fever until Tuesday when my mom took me to the doctor. After a short hour there, I was rushed to the emergency room with critical standings. I spent a delirious two and a half hours there before going up to the dreaded fourth floor, the pediatric intensive care unit.

I spent the night with Susan. She was in her thirties with a son of her own and an ex husband. Her shift began when I arrived, at seven o’clock pm. Our conversations throughout the night consisted of me rambling on about friends and family as the pain killers set in. She sat patiently listening to me and relating her own life experiences to my own. She could have been at home, but she was on night shift, taking care of me.

When I woke up in the morning, Peggy was there at my bedside talking to my dad. Her morning shift was not extremely early, but today was different. Today was Christmas Eve. After dozens of nurses poked and jabbed me, an unexpected visitor arrived. I had seen him before, but I wasn’t expecting to see him now. Louie from the Lookouts was there with three others handing out gifts. I didn’t understand. Their day off on Christmas Eve could have been spent with family, but instead they opted for a day visiting the children at Erlanger to ease the pain of the holidays. Their smiles and light hearted laughs brought hope. What I didn’t know was that these random acts of kindness would continue all day.

Once discharged from the ICU, I was moved down to level three only to be followed by a flood of gifts. As I saw Santa move through the halls I knew he would be to my room soon. Not to my surprise, I got a teddy bear. However, I got much more than that. Not just the physical gifts, which were more than I could have ever imagined, but also the look on every person’s face that walked through the door to room 306. The dozens of strangers that had spent time raising money, taking their time, to make me feel better was more than I could ever ask for.

Christmas was a day I will never forget. It wasn’t the same kind of happy I was used to. When I started thinking about how horrible everything was, I reached for the big white teddy bear Santa had brought me, and I knew then I believed in the greater good of everyone. The kindness of others is inescapable, no matter where you may hide.