Our lives are so fragile and quick to change. God, of course, is in charge. Our job is to trust His plan - to have faith.
In an instant, lives can be lost or shattered or forever changed. And when this happens, the real test of faith begins. I have not experienced this. I never want to experience this - nor do I want anyone whom I love to experience this. I want to believe I’m strong enough without having to find out.
Some of the people who have been there - and who are there - are the subjects of this work. I try to tell their story - to get the compelling shot without bias.
Of course there are permissions to get and releases to sign. Some children cannot be photographed because they are wards of the state - the babies who did not ask for this life, but who are living it, nonetheless. I photographed children with colds and sniffles, one little girl having eye surgery to correct crossed eyes, a young boy with three broken limbs and a shattered pelvis, and several children going through routine medical procedures.
But routine is the least of it. Someone has to make it not hurt, to make it not scary, to help the parents deal with their child’s pain. Enter the Child Life Specialists.
Empathy, sympathy, compassion, love and the Golden Rule. These are the qualities of the child life specialists – medical staff who are trained to distract their patients with bubbles, books, cartoons and funny faces. Aside from the doctors and nurses, these “special forces” are those who make all the scary stuff not so bad. Wouldn’t we all love to have these guardians at our side?
I watched one little girl’s fear subside as she was prepared for surgery, taken from her mother’s arms, walked down the hall and into the O.R. – all with a little help from Dora the Explorer on an iPad.
A hospital is no place for a child. But this is no ordinary place. There are balloons, playrooms, therapy dogs, lots of love and attention and top notch medical care. We should all be thankful for this children’s hospital and have faith that if it is ever our turn to be in these parents’ shoes, that we and our children, too, will be just fine.