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.





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