How do you say goodbye to someone who was part of your greatest trauma and greatest joy? Someone who saw you when you were at your lowest and at your highest?
Anika’s pediatrician dropped the bomb on us… she’s retiring. At first I thought NO WAY, she CAN’T! And then I realised that she is 70+… and she’s living life as if she’s 55!
The night Anika was born, when she stepped into that operating room, I couldn’t have ever imagined what a big part she would play in our lives. I didn’t know her at all. At first glance I actually thought that she’s very nasty… but I soon came to realise that she’s actually a very soft, caring, loving lady 🙂
She diagnosed Anika’s undiagnosed Spina Bifida just after birth. She organised our transfer to Unitas Hospital in Pretoria from Nelspruit, she recommended and organised the best specialists. We didn’t have a clue what was happening at that stage, and luckily she didn’t give us a choice that night, she just took over.
She saw my tears when we had challenges, my joy when we celebrated unexpected milestones. She came up with out-of-the box solutions to our divinely different problems. She handled Anika’s moods. She encouraged us as parents. Gave us hope.
When we fell pregnant with our second daughter, Esti, the gynecologist diagnosed her with Hypoplastic Leftheart Syndrome. Without any extra charges she did research for us, gave us information, supported us, gave us perspective, hoped with me, and eventually after Esti’s death gave me the biggest hug ever and cried with me.
When Reuben was born, she did his 6 week checkup, she looked at me and smiled. It was a relieved smile, an accomplished smile, a smile that said “I’m celebrating with you”!
Whenever Anika accomplished something we didn’t expect, something everyone thought would never happen, she was one of the first people I wanted to share it with. Because she understands. She realises what a huge accomplishment it is. And I will keep on sharing our Take That Spina Bifida (TTSB) moments with her. Even though she won’t be our pediatrician anymore, she was part of the first 5 years of our journey and will always stay part of it.
I always felt “safe” knowing that she’s just around the corner. When I heard the news that she’s going, I literally felt sick to my stomach. As I’m sitting here I’m in tears, because Dr, you are taking a piece of our hearts with you, we will really miss you a lot!! We hope that you’ll enjoy your well deserved rest.
The other day you said that you’re proud of me, you said that we’re doing a great job, you said that Anika is doing exceptionally well because of the time and effort we as parents put into her development and therapy. Thank you Dr Madel ….you will never know how much your words meant to me during our last visit!