A Little Red Wagon…

There they were. All in a bright red row.

I walked past them every day as I started my shift for work. As a young college student completing my required clinical rotations, I rarely gave them a second thought. Except perhaps to note how bright and cheery they looked early in the morning as the hospital was just waking up for the day.

I would breeze past them, my long white coat flapping behind me as I snagged a bagel from a coffee cart on my way to a day that already had me on the run.

Except once. Once I stopped.

Once I saw a young mother all by herself. She was attempting to to heft a cumbersome bag filled with medical equipment into one of the cherry-red wagons with one hand while cradling a tiny chemo patient on her opposite hip. Not chemo patient, I corrected myself, her baby. A baby girl, judging buy the pink fuzzy blanket the little one was clutching.

And no one was stopping to help.

I walked up reaching a hand out for the bag, smiled and said, “You look like you could use a hand — I’ll take the wagon and you take care of Miss Cutie Pie.”

She choked out a sob in the bend of her elbow of her free arm and nodded. I didn’t have to ask where we were going. I just turned and pulled the bright little wagon in the direction of the pediatric chemo ward and she followed, hugging her baby girl tight.

I wish I had known that day what I know now.

I wish I had been able to fully comprehend the depth of her muffled half-embarrassed sob. I wish I had understood then, as well as I know now, what that woman was feeling on that day. (more…)