Being a Partner: A Patient Visit

Mother and daughter listen to Marshall tell a story. The daughter sits in a hospital bed surrounded by stuffed animals and blankets.
| Marshall Glass

It was a bright, cool Monday morning, and I was heading to Banner Thunderbird when I received a text that one of the other Partners wasn’t going to make it last minute, leaving only Mike and I to do service that day. Parking my car, I was a little nervous about spending all that time going in and out of these young patients' rooms trying to entertain with only two actors; it seemed like an intimidating and exhausting endeavor  But I confidently clasped my Banner volunteer badge onto my shirt and, shaking off any doubt, I strode into the hospital, determined to put a smile on every soul I came in contact with that day. 

The day sped along beautifully, each room more fun than the last. Eventually, we got to a room where the patient and family were non-English speakers. In this case, Mike and I, only able to speak English, decided to go in and sing songs. The patient was just a toddler, and so we busted out all our classic children's songs: Wheels on the Bus, When You Wish Upon a Star, Old Mcdonald, etc. We were having a blast, and the sweet young child just smiled and clapped along. While singing our preplanned last song, You Are My Sunshine, I finally turned my attention to the mother of the patient and realized that she was crying. 

Big tears streamed down her face; not a sad face as I first suspected, but a joyous one. A beautiful smile beamed across her face as she tenderly gazed upon her child smiling and clapping in the hospital bed. A realization welled up inside me that this was not a common occurrence for this patient. When Mike and I sang the last phrase (“Please don't take my sunshine awaaaaaay!”), the mother instantly gathered up her child into her arms, held her close, and just sobbed with joy. Mike and I stood there in awe, sharing in this beautiful scene between mother and child.  

I’ll never forget that image of mother and daughter holding each other close, laughing and crying in that small hospital room.  A beautiful reason why I love this job!