So if you visit Starbucks a lot, or a grocery store, or even my favorite little restaurant in American Fork, you get these cute little stampy cards or swipey cards and if you keep coming back and giving them money, they keep stampin’ until you get FREE STUFF!

I have been a loyal, great, repeat customer to Perinatology and Labor & Delivery at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and I haven’t even gotten my free sippy cup yet.   I think if I had a stampy card they would have remembered to give it to me by now.

Frequent Visitor Card

Another idea I have that I think would be really great is for the people who have the experience of a repeat 24 hour urinalysis.  While the red bio-hazard bag is definitely foreboding, it lacks a certain…je ne sais quoi…I mean, it is not very dignified to carry around a jug of your own bio-hazard material…and if you got this bag to put your jug in instead, it wouldn’t be so bad to do it a second time…

Get it? “Urine” Instead of “You’re In” Bahahaha!

Mwahahahahaha…I’m so funny.

And if that’s not feasible, I still like the idea.  And as I’ve been thinking about my recent trips (and they have been many) and visits to the 5th floor, I have realized that while there isn’t a cute stampy card, I am getting frequent rewards.

The reward is with the people I meet.  People I never would have met if I hadn’t been in these particular situations.  People who I get to chat with and make connections with, even if only for a few minutes.  Some I see once, others I see often.  And, you know, I think they get the whole idea of a frequent visitor reward program.

Because, you know–they are my friends.

I met some sweet ladies today who were waiting to see their daughter/daughter-in-law/sister who had just had a baby.  It was so fun just to get to know them on such a happy day.

I hugged a lady in the elevator whose baby was in NICU.  Lots of times. Lots of different women.

I realize over and over again that while what I am doing is difficult for me, it’s not I-can’t-breathe-or-take-another-step difficult, and it’s not completely overwhelming.  That’s quite a reward.

Better than a sippy cup.

And, the staff.  I love them.  They all have stories behind their smiles, and I have come to love them.  really love them.

You know, C wants to eat better but life is really crazy right now. The other nurse working with her the other day shared a quote with her:

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

It was the same day I had the distinct impression to bring her a bag of Lindt truffles.  And, you know, I pray for her, because she is having the kind of year where everything just keeps happening, one thing after another.

L is from Hawaii and loves shopping–we joked about how if I could just be shopping, my blood pressure would be so much lower. She was a lot of fun.

K is one of my favorite people! She is going through some hard times, but ALWAYS has a smile on her face, even with difficult patients. She looks out for me and brings my husband Sprite. I love her.

My Nurses

My nurses at the office, D and D, they are so sassy. They have more fun than they should, but I am so happy they do, because sometimes I am not having any fun, and they make me want to, and then I will smile and laugh with them, even if it hurts.

L is quiet, but has a great sense of humor and I think secretly has the ability to keep other people in line. You know, in that genuinely sweet way that I can never pull off (because I am not genuinely sweet).

C never gets to go to lunch, because she is too dedicated, but in a good way.

L is a young mom who is so sincere and caring that it almost makes me cry, considering I know she has some really, really tough things she’s come through. T is a gentle, grandmotherly woman who has these cool apple trees in her yard that grow along the trunk…Unfortunately, they will make better baking apples than pick-off-the-tree-and-eating apples, which she finds disappointing  (as do I!). She has always been so very kind to me, and once she even cheered me on when my induction was scheduled at the perfect time.

I love my doctors. One is young, just starting out–his wife just had their seventh baby. He’s kind in spite of the fact that I know it must be a stressful time of life for him. They also homeschool…He recommended Math U See to me for my daughter with Asperger’s. It was a good recommendation.

Dr. W, Receiving His Award

My older doctor, Dr. W, has been practicing medicine for several decades. After all of this time, one of his favorite things to say to his patients is:

Well, I don’t have a crystal ball…if I did I would know when the baby was coming/how much longer you need to do this/when you could go home from the hospital/etcetera…..

So, after two years of him serving me in the most compassionate, loving ways, I decided to give him an award. We presented it to him on Wednesday. Yes, I got him his very own authentic crystal ball. It was a lovely ceremony, full of all my friends that are nurses and Dr. W. looking surprised, nervous, and (I hope) pleased with his gift.

Dr. W., With His Crystal Ball (and me and my husband)

Gifts are good.

Frequent visiting is good.

Even if it’s because of something hard.

I realized, thinking about it today, that God has it all planned out to give us little rewards when we do repeat good things.  He gives us a chance to reach our fellow brothers and sisters that we would never have otherwise met, and we get to learn from each other–sometimes in our extremities.  We have the blessing to inspire or bring someone down, to bring a smile or contribute to someone’s unhappiness.  And when we choose to do what Our Father would do, the rewards are simply breathtaking.

The first is love.

And love makes everything and everyone more lovely…

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

Yes, the gift he gives us is blindness–blindness to faults in a realization that we are humbled to find we have so many of our own (especially when we are faced with challenges like repeated hospital stays and hard tests), blindness to ignore the flicker of annoyance on someone’s face and instead see their beautiful eyes, blindness to the irritation shown in a tapping foot, and instead knowing just what to say to get them to smile…

That is the reward for being a frequent, active, acting participant in this mortality, the ability and knowledge of how to truly love.

The second gift is intertwined with it, and is what I have found as a frequent visitor to the hospital:

Joy.

As Mother Teresa once observed:

A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.