I have thrown my fair share of birthday parties. Lego, pirates, Halloween, 80’s, sports, circus… Girls, boys, young and old…I’ve got a lot of parties up my sleeves. I though I had done it all. But I crossed off another party recently – a theme I hope to never repeat – a hospital birthday!
Hunter’s friend is still in the hospital and they brought him out of the coma days before his 11th birthday. He was still in the ICU, but the doctors said he could go to the pediatric wing for a birthday party – this was the first time most of his friends had seen him.
We had all the kids walk in with Scott faces (the same face that showed up in pictures the first day of school) – a little fun to break the ice.
We sang the birthday song and he blew out imaginary candles. Evidently hospitals have a no latex balloon and no candles policy – clearly anti-birthday!
He opened presents and there seemed to be theme – all sorts of things to help him strengthen his hands and arms.
We wanted to play a game, but it was made more difficult with a large group and the birthday boy who couldn’t really move his arms or hands. We landed on the candy bar game.
We bought a different candy for every kid in attendance and put them all in the center of the table. The kids took turns rolling 2 dice. If they got doubles, 7 or 11 they could pick a candy from the table, or point to someone and say what candy they had and steal theirs. This went on until every candy bar was taken from the table, and then we gave 7 more minutes so they could keep rolling and steal from each other. Scott had his dad rolling for him and as luck would have it he went 5 rounds rolling doubles. 5 candy bars hidden behind his chair – he was lucky as he could be spending his birthday as a burn patient in the hospital!! (in the end, those with multiple candy bars choose their favorite one and put the rest back on the table so everyone can leave with candy.)
Baxter the Diamondbacks mascot made an appearance and he gave everyone baseball hats. He was a fun surprise.
We had a couple more games in mind, but he was fading fast. A team of nurses and doctors waited outside of the room monitoring him and after a while he was hot and tired and they wheeled him back to his room.
It wasn’t a traditional birthday party, but it was a party none the less. A party to celebrate a birthday and even more importantly a party celebrating a life that we’re all so grateful was spared.