Last year we took a portion of the books collected through Books for Charley to the Avera Pediatric Specialty Clinic. This is the clinic where Charlotte had her visits with Dr. Sami (cardiology), Dr. Will (pulmonology) and Dr. Nanton (GI). I can't say enough about the people that work in this office. Each and every one of them will FOREVER have a special place in our hearts. I could go on about them for a whole post, but I should probably get back to the point!
The books that we donated to the clinic last year were used to stock a little “library” in the waiting room of the clinic to help keep kiddos occupied while they wait to see their doctors. Remember the cute little "Charley" book shelf that the clinic purchased?? (melt my heart!) Anyway, since they aren’t routinely handing the books out for patients to take home, they still have a pretty good supply (after all, we gave them more than 200 books!). When I contacted the clinic manager about this year’s donation, he suggested that I check with the inpatient pediatric unit and try to spread the love around a bit to children who are admitted to the hospital. Well, it turns out that the pediatric unit has something that they call their “treasure room” where kiddos can pick out special “treasures” to take home with them when they leave the hospital. They were very excited about adding books to their collection and we were excited to be able to help!
Lucky for us, Charlotte didn’t have to spend much time admitted to the hospital here in Sioux Falls. There was the infamous croup/banana allergy overnight stay and then a 5 day admission for RSV last winter…but that was really it.
The peds unit was the last place that we held our little Charlotte in our arms.
I have made no attempt to hide my anxiety related to stepping foot into the hospital since that day and I have no intentions on doing during our last few days in Sioux Falls unless Mr. Mister decides that he wants to come and play early. It's just too hard. There are too many memories - too many "triggers" that I fear could push me over the edge. Having said that, it will come as no surprise that I needed to make some special “accommodations” for our book drop off. Thankfully the Child Life Specialist for the unit was very understanding of my distress and agreed to meet me on neutral ground. Thank you SO much Twila for being so helpful and understanding!
Last Friday morning Matt helped me load boxes into my car, the valet at work helped me move said boxes to a cart, and the cart helped me get the books to our drop-off site -just thought I should reassure all of you that I wasn't lifting or carrying any heavy boxes!
Here is the trusty cart that helped me move all of those books.
1, 2, 3 boxes filled to capacity!
Check out that adorable butterfly box! Our pharmacy department secretary put it together for a collection that they did at work...and get this...she had no idea that butterflies were so meaningful to us. She just thought the paper was cute! Crazy how things like that work out.
Any guesses on how many books I managed to squeeze into those boxes??
THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY!
I'm pretty sure that any expectations they may have had about the number of books we would be donating were blown out of the water! In fact, I have a friend who works in peds and she told me that they had to do a little "spring cleaning" in the treasure room to make space for all of Charley's Hearts books. I wish that I could go check it out...but I'm just not there yet.
It's hard to explain the emotions that come along with making these book deliveries. As much as I love seeing the results of our heart friend's donations...there is just something special about personally making the delivery and giving back to a place that took such good care of our little girl. I feel proud that Matt and I (with A LOT of help from all of you) can do something so simple to help carry on the legacy of Little Miss. We don't know WHO these books will end up going home with, or WHAT their individual medical situation will be, but just knowing that we've contributed to brightening a sick child's day warms my heart.
A huge thank you again for all of you that contributed to Charley's Heart and our collection.
For those of you keeping track....
Aly, Claire and Mason donations = 572 books
Sioux Falls = 340 books
TOTAL books = 912 books