Jun 132010

Commercials, news stories, walks, runs, telethons…nothing really does BC Children’s Hospital justice. Until you’re there, in the trenches, with a child that’s suffering, you don’t really understand what an amazing place it is…amazing because of the people.

Last weekend, we spent 2 days there when my 22 month old son was diagnosed with pneumonia. We were sleep deprived wrecks, when we arrived at the ward. Our son was frightened and exhausted after getting blood work done; suffering through numerous attempts to start and IV; and getting X-rays taken (all very traumatic for the little guy and his parents).

In Emergency, there is always a wait, but here we had a TV and cartoons to distract us. Nurses and Doctors were caring and actually smiled. They took the time to talk with us and explain things. Toys were given for each procedure; a large plastic magnifying glass for the x-rays and a mini teddy bear for the IV.

We entered the ER at 4:00am and were escorted to our room at 8:00am. Two nurses, Tara and Rachael, guided us through the maze of hallways to the ward. They made us feel welcome and at home. Unlike other hospital experiences, I didn’t feel like I was intruding or being  a bother. These women didn’t act like they were discontent, exhausted and underpaid. Instead, they were funny, upbeat, energetic and positive. They showed me my bed (beside Caden’s crib) and where to get bedding, extra PJs and blankets. They gave me a mini tour of the floor which included a peek at the Nourishment Station (translation mini kitchen). Here parents can prepare snacks for their kids. There is bread, jam, butter, peanut butter, a toaster, baby food, canned soups, apple and orange juice, milk, ice cream and popsicles.

Instead of feeling scared and apprehensive, I felt comfortable and confident. The nurses were understanding, great communicators, who anticipated my needs and Caden’s almost intuitively. They even hid in the bathroom while waiting for some equipment to arrive so they didn’t upset Caden (the sight of a mask and stethoscope was causing anxiety and upset).

Upon my arrival home I updated my facebook with these words:

“Andrea thinks Children’s Hospital is amazing and the nurses there are phenomenal and so human…why can’t it be that way everywhere…Caden has a touch of pneumonia…Mommy is using cookies and coffee as a crutch”

I understand upon reflection that it is the people that make the difference. The people that gravitate to this job are a unique breed. Any individual that can work day in and day out with sick children is extraordinary. Therefore, it follows that the care you would receive from that type of person would be could be nothing but excellent….and it was.

The weekend we stayed at BC Children’s Hospital they were holding Child Run, a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and programs. It looks like a great event and a wonderful cause. Let’s just put it this way…they can count on 3 more people participating next year.

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