It might not be the Walking Dead but I am surrounded by zombies. Although there are a few male zombies, they are mostly female zombies. Their hair is matted and ratty or pulled back in a messy ponytail. They have dark circles under their eyes. You can tell by looking at them that they don’t sleep. Their skin is dry. Their clothes are wrinkled and maybe even a little stained.
These aren’t your traditional zombies though. They aren’t going to try to bite you… well probably not. But they might just grunt when spoken to. They might snap sharply at others if agitated. And they will go crazy if they don’t like the way you treat their young.
These zombies are really moms (and some dads) who are staying at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with their child. At the time I’m writing this, I have been at Children’s Hospital with my son for 48 hours. This will be our third night staying at the hospital. Joey screams out every few minutes in pain. It takes a lot to get him to sleep and he doesn’t sleep well. Doctors and nurses come in throughout all times of the day and night so no one sleeps more than an hour or two without interruption.
I find refuge by walking the halls, eating outside and walking the campus when someone is able to give me a break. I am lucky to have family and friends to help. I see other parents staying day in and day out with no one to relieve them. Their break consists of walking to the patient kitchen for a cup of coffee or juice.
No matter if you get a break or not though, you can tell who the parents of the ill child are. You can tell by the hair, dark circles, wrinkled clothes and the constant look of worry. We see each other in the hall and give each other or nod or a smile to let the other know we understand. It’s an immediate bond. I don’t want to run from these zombies; I want to hug them.