Last week I had a chance to go on a field trip with my daughter’s school. (If you’re following me at all, you’ll know I homeschool her, and yes-we do field trips too!) We went to visit Valley Children’s Hospital.
Growing up in Fresno, Valley Children’s has always been in the backdrop. As a child, I went there a time or two. Back then it was located off of Shields and Millbrook, so it was in a more central location to everyone. Once I had my tonsils taken out and tubes put in my ear. I remember the best thing about that whole visit was that I got to have a popsicle right after surgery. I remember staying the night, and feeling completely safe.
I moved out of Fresno during my early college years, and it was then I realized how lucky Fresno was in having a hospital dedicated to only children. In the other cities I lived, there was only a general hospital (very much unlike the soap opera). I wondered how these towns got along without a specific place for children. In 1998 Valley Children’s moved to its current location. A handful of years after that I moved back to Fresno, became a mom, and I no longer thought of the hospital as a place for me to go, but instead as a place I could take my children.
And take them there I have. My son has broken his arm. He’s fallen out of a shopping cart (please, please, please don’t let your kids stand in the back of a shopping cart). My daughter has required stitches. Whenever we’ve had emergencies, my first thought is to head to Valley Children’s. I’ve also had friends who’ve had to visit Children’s for weekly chemotherapy visits. During all of these times, the staff has always been kind and caring. I’ve not ever had any bad experiences.
So, when I got the chance to tour the hospital, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see behind the scenes. Our group was a small one, which was nice. We were able to see some hospital rooms, visit the playroom, see where the helicopter lands (we missed out on seeing the helicopter, as it was out), and take a tour of radiology. The best part? Well, there were a couple of highlights. First, seeing the playroom was great. This is a place where children can go to, well, play. It gives children the opportunity to have some fun, when they need to take their minds off of their illness. They have 2 rooms. One for older children, and one for younger ones. In the room for older children, they have gaming systems and computers, as well as teachers available for those who are in school. The goal is to help the children try to maintain some normality. Aside from the classrooms, there is lots of outdoor space where children can go. A second highlight was touring the radiology department. We got to see some pretty awesome (and very expensive) machines. We were able to see some x-rays as well. The one that made us all cringe most? The faucet that got stuck in a person’s arm. How does that happen? Well, by falling off a roof and landing on a water faucet, that’s how. So, the lesson we all took with us was to not get on top of a roof! (Remember that boys and girls.)
The tour was so amazing. It really was. The gentleman who guided us is a volunteer, and seemed to really love what he does. It was nice getting to know him a little, and I really felt that he had a peaceful soul. He shared with us a little about the different Guilds around the Valley (places to donate or shop, then the money goes back into Valley Children’s), as well as told us why a giraffe is the hospital’s mascot. (It has the largest heart for any land mammal.)
The history behind Valley Children’s Hospital is that it stemmed from a vision of 5 women who saw a need for a pediatric hospital to be here in the Valley. The vision began to take shape in 1949, and in 1952 Valley Children’s opened its doors to its first patients. It has since grown to be the remarkable establishment that it is today. This may be “our” hospital, but people from all over come here to been seen by the doctors and staff. Which reminds me…It takes many people to run Valley Children’s. As one mom pointed this out to us during our tour. There are nurses, doctors, technicians, radiologist, scientists, mechanics, teachers, volunteers, and so many others I don’t know about! How wonderful if you’re part of that group! It truly takes a team!
The hospital offers tours often, so if you’d like a group to take a tour, contact Volunteer Services. I can’t recommend it enough. My daughter loved the tour. As we were driving home she spoke to me about wanting to work there when she gets older. It made me so happy to hear her share some of her dreams! Maybe one day I can say she’s part of that amazing team!