A Chicago dad and his toddler have a sleepover at the cool kids’ hospital

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who is feeling much better now.

My daughter Viva demands to be hip in all aspects of her life. As such, she contracts all the cool mystery respiratory viruses when they are barely breaking news. You can go ahead now and get the severe illness tearing through the Midwest that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling “comprehensive and widespread.” That’s fine and all, but Viva totally had it first. And wore it better.

Last weekend we went to the fancy newish Lurie Children’s Hospital ER and ended up staying in observation for the night. There’s not much that’s fun about taking your kid to the ER, but if you MUST, this is certainly the only place to do it. From the giant coral reef fish tank in the lobby (Nemo!) to the TVs with personalized menu screens (“Welcome, Viva!”) and dozens of Disney movies (this is the ER where the most chic infirm toddlers go to see and be seen (by qualified medical professionals affiliated with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine).

The little hospital gowns have tigers on them, and the germ filter masks sport illustrations of ice cream cones. Tiger print and ice cream print are what the smart sickly set are wearing just a short stumble with belabored breathing from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

And do the other hospitals give your kid a Beanie Baby with their Albuterol Sulfate aerosol? Do they give them their own stethoscope to take home along with their Prednisolone Sodium Phosphate? They most certainly do not. That’s Lurie-style swag, baby. (One can assume Blue Cross/Blue Shield was charged $400,000 for the one Beanie Baby and our co-pay for it will be $1,500.)

With a view of a park and sculptures across from the MCA, corridors featuring sliding glass doors, and cots for parents with cherrywood head and footboards, this children’s hospital is the place to go, whether it’s for sudden whistling sounds in the lungs or just to order the delicious and generously portioned breakfast featuring Belgian waffles with glazed strawberries and whipped cream, sausage and egg on an English muffin, turkey bacon, and a freshly made fruit smoothie.

Viva recommends Lurie to all her friends suffering from Eterovirus D68, or just those visiting from out-of-town who want unlimited Goldfish crackers and a remote control bed just a stone’s throw from Millennium Park and the Museum Campus.

The convenient parking garage featuring the music of Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, and many more easy listening favorites that one Yelp review calls, “Not just parking for one of U.S. News and World Report’s Top Children’s Hospitals, but a stroll through the American Songbook.”

Our first trip to the ER with our 2-year-old might not have been our first choice of how to spend the last weekend of the summer (and most of the money we earned this month), but with breathtaking views of the Hancock Building, free Wi-Fi, and an Anti-Static Valved Inhaler Holding Chamber to show off to the neighbors, it’s a trip we won’t soon forget.

You can CALL the White Dads now on their hotline: (347) 766-3866. Leave a message or a question they can play on the podcast!

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