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A beautiful girl .... and tough as nails
May 1, 2012 - Jim Smith
My wife and I went to visit our grand (great) niece Sunday afternoon at Nationwide Children's Hospital (although I still hate having the "Nationwide" advertisement put on the children's hospital name).
Erin is 18 years old and one of the toughest young women I know. She has been battling Cystic Fibrosis her entire life ... and will do so for the rest of her life. This time, a common cold put her in the hospital for a couple of weeks.
I have never heard her complain or seek any special treatment because of her life-threatening, hereditary disease. What she puts herself through every night to keep her lungs as clear as possible would put me in a deep depression, but she just goes about the self-treatment and keeps smiling.
While fighting the disease, she manages to play high school basketball and be on the honor roll in school, taking college prep courses and hoping to study interior design and architecture in college.
Yes, I admire her greatly and love to be around her upbeat, enthusiastic, good humor.
But, going to visit her in the hospital is something akin to trying to get into Fort Knox.
Once one roams the ground floor of the hospital long enough to find the brown dots on the floor that lead to the blue carpeting and eventually the information desk, the visitor must produce a photo ID, which is scanned into the computer system and a sticky-sided paper ID badge is produced. Next one has to have the "secret password" to visit the patient. A telephone call to the patient from the information desk gets the password and the ID is stuck to one's chest for review by a security guard manning the elevators.
Being spotted without the security badge, I'm told, means a conversation with security personnel and potential eviction from the hospital.
Back when I was a cop-shop reporter, it was easier getting into the Columbus police narcotics squad room, the vice squad room, the detective bureau and/or the radio room than it was getting into Children's Hospital. In fact, it was easier learning where the intelligence squad's secret "bat cave" was and getting into it than it was to visit my great niece.
Needless to say, the hospital takes security seriously ... and that's a good thing!
In the meantime time, Erin takes her hospital captivity in isolation in stride and just looks forward to getting back home and back in school to keep her life on pace.
Yep, she's a tough girl!
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