Fish Tanks Matter

It’s been a rough 48 hours for our Ellery Jane.

I wont recap them all but the good news is we know that she has Pneumonia with a rash and swelling associated with the bacterial infection and we know that she can be treated at home. Correctly identifying what is ailing a child can be an art more than it is a science. And for the art of the last 48 hours we are extremely grateful, although that is not the reason I write today.

Today I am grateful for fish tanks.

At this place where I work (and where my Ellery Jane was treated) we have a slogan “Everything Matters”.

I use that slogan on an almost daily basis as I do my job.

I talk about our spacious single patient rooms, our investment in cutting edge technology, our healthy and delicious cafeteria and our underground parking that all contribute to making the experience here a much better one for our patients and their families.

When we opened the new inpatient tower in June of 2012 I spent 72 hours in that new building touring community stakeholders and selling them on that fact that when it came to designing the tower “Everything Mattered” to us.

Over the last 48 hours I lived it and you know what really mattered to my three-year old?

The fish tank mattered.

Yep the distraction provided by a 1400 gallon tank in the Emergency Department waiting room made all the difference to a child who couldn’t walk because the pain was too great and whose little body was revolting on itself by swelling its joints to ginormous proportions and covering her in hives.

My child didn’t have a life threatening illness but she was in extreme discomfort and wanted nothing more than the arms of her parents and the “catfish” she saw in that tank.

As we left the ED on Sunday night and the lights were off on the tank she made me stop to say good-bye to her catfish. On Monday afternoon on our way back there she wanted to tell daddy all about her “catfish” and then again on Monday night as we left that place for what I hoped would be the final time over the 48 hours, my very tired and sick little lady had to make one more stop by her tank to say good-bye to her fish.

Yes Ellery Jane received the best care imaginable over the last 48 hours and for that I am incredibly grateful.

But this afternoon as I reflect back on the last few days I am also thankful for the moments of joy my daughter found by watching a fish swim around its tank.

I am most thankful that I work at a place which recognizes that those moments can be just as important as those spacious rooms we designed.

Everything does matter.





St. Simons Island

This past Sunday we returned from a week spent on St. Simons Island. I think I’ve spent way too much time during my work week looking back at photos from our time away.

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After a 12 hour car trip we arrived in our happy place on the most perfect Saturday afternoon. We couldn’t wait to kick off our shoes and get our toes in the water so we literally did that the minute we arrived before unpacking a single bag.

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The next day, being a Sunday, our favorite breakfast hang out was closed so we settled for a quick bite at the house before hitting the beach.

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I pretty much looked like this all week. Not a stitch of make up on and a wardrobe that consisted of swimsuits, cover-ups and sundresses. The best way to be.

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We did a lot of this over the course of the week-

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We also spent a ton of time just exploring the beaches. July is turtle hatching time on both St Simons and Jekyll Islands so we got to see a lot of these around the beach. The girls were enthralled with the idea that little baby turtles were growing just feet away from where they played in the sand.

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Speaking of turtles we did hit the Turtle Sanctuary on Jekyll Island and said hello to some old friends.

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On occasion we made it out of our beach clothes to hit the shops we love to frequent. If these girls know how to do anything they know how to talk Mama into purchasing almost any item of clothing. Ellie’s favorite purchase of the week was this dress. The big girls quickly dubbed her “Queen of Poofeyville”.

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I managed to log over 35 miles during the week. The people at this fantastic place took care of my kids and kept them entertained with Zumba and Boot Camp classes while I ran until my legs grew tired.

When Saturday rolled around and we knew we had an at least 7 hour car trip ahead of us to begin the journey home we stopped one last time on our way off the island to soak up the magic of this place.

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It’s impossible to adequately articulate the joy and peace this place brought to us over the course of 7 days. I am grateful for the opportunity to have these moments with the most special little ladies I know……


This past Friday I turned 37.

I celebrated with a walk on the beach, Cinnamon rolls from Sweet Mama’s and a home cooked meal prepared by my two eldest.



The emails, texts and phone call birthday wishes came throughout the day. So even though the girls and I were alone on St. Simons, I felt 100 percent loved and connected.

That seems to be a metaphor for the year I have lived. As I closed the book on 36 I thought about how this past year could have been incredibly isolating and lonely. How in the early days it felt that way. I struggled as an extremely private person to open myself up to my friends, family and coworkers; to put words to this ugly thing that had torn my life as I knew it apart.

But very quickly as words crept out and I told others that my 14 year marriage had fallen away, I realized how surrounded by love I truly was.

The words spoken in hushed tones in hallways at work;

the late night texts;

the trips by friends to visit on weekends they knew I shouldn’t be alone;

the meals cooked;

the letters received and then taped to my bathroom mirror;

the long forgotten parts of me brought to the surface by friends reminding me of my identity separate from that of wife and mother.

Yes my year was spent in the loving embrace of those who have chosen (or been chosen) to walk this life with me.

So as I dip my toes into the waters of 37, I do so knowing that an army stands behind me and beside me. With their support I know anything is possible.

37 will be a magical year.