BLOG: Two births, one hospital, many memories
On October 2, 1992 my wife and I drove to Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. We were heading to the obstetric unit for the birth of our son, Bara.
About 27 years later, on April 27, 2019, my wife and I again drove to Hurley Hospital, Flint, Michigan, again heading to the same obstetric unit. This time, it was for the birth of Bara’s son — my first grandchild!
Between the two trips, our family has travelled the world. yet Flint, Michigan, has remained a reference point in our family’s life journey.
Shortly before the first trip to Hurley’s obstetric unit, in the summer of 1992, we arrived in the U.S. as a small family — my wife and I and two young children, Dua and Anas — to begin my internal medicine residency, at Hurley Medical Center, affiliated with Michigan State University. I started the residency on July 1, and Bara was born 3 months later. After residency, we moved to Indianapolis for my fellowship in 1994, then on to southeast Missouri in 1996 for J-1 visa waiver and green card processing. In 1999, we moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a job in a teaching hospital (King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital).
Then in 2003, we moved back to the U.S., to settle in and to pursue our US citizenship. We (again) chose Flint, Michigan.
In the pursuit of the aforementioned return to Flint (our family’s favorite town), I had always wanted to work in academia. Flint does not have a medical school. So, in my last year in Jeddah, I had two interviews for academic jobs: one at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Midland-Odessa and the other at University of Missouri at Kansas City. I was offered jobs at both places.
But my family and I wanted to settle in Flint!
I joined a private endocrinology practice in Flint in late 2003. I returned to Hurley Hospital, 9 years later, now as a consultant endocrinologist. In the spring of 2005, I was finally able to get my dream job in academic medicine, joining Michigan State University. We made the painful decision of leaving Flint to move 40 minutes west to Lansing as the Flint-Lansing daily commute was too rough for me.
After travelling the world, we finally settled in East Lansing, the hometown of Michigan State University, for the last 14 years. But Flint is only 40 minutes to the east, and we would go to Flint all the time; we have a lot of friends. With time, the kids grew up, and they all finished college (all MSU alums).
Now, back to the two trips to Hurley’s obstetric units, 27 years apart.
This latest trip in late April to Hurley’s obstetric unit was different from the first trip 27 years earlier, not only by a generation, but also by how I felt in both trips. The commutes back and forth from Lansing to Flint were consumed in continuous flashes of memories, with the difference felt when I was commuting to Hurley when I was training there, or later working there.
As one enters Flint on the ramp of exit 136 of I-69 and makes a left on Saginaw Street, one would enter beautiful Flint’s downtown. One can feel life coming back to this lovely town, my favorite town. Flint has made national news recently due to the health crisis caused by an unhealthy water supply. For people who know Flint, the news hit close to home.
At Hurley’s obstetric unit, we spent part of the last weekend of April waiting for the birth of my grandson and then having the opportunity to ensure the health and wellbeing of both the baby and his mother. Throughout our stay in the waiting room for families, flashes of memories kept crossing my mind dating back to the first days I started my training at Hurley Hospital, going through the years to come, to the present day. A blend of occurrences and events as the memories traversed my professional and life journey.
Between the first trip to Hurley’s obstetric unit in 1992 and the latest trip last April, Hurly Hospital looked different to me this time; not sure how. Also, Flint looked different.
During this latest trip to Hurley Hospital in Flint, I was filled with emotions that I cannot describe.