Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

Little Lies Along the Way = Fear Amongst Children

Little Lies Along the Way = Fear Amongst Children

Little Lies Along the Way = Fear Amongst Children. Before I move on, I want to say I have MAD respect for nurses, nurse’s aides, child life people, and all the other “worker bees” in the hospital.

Respect.  These are fantastic and under-appreciated people.

With that being said, I have learned a lot of things over the last ten mths of H’s illness. I know the heart behind these statements. I see the ease these sweet nurses are trying to give these kids. Yet with my kid, you aren’t helping much.

Things We Heard

  • Let’s give your arm a hug (preparing to take bp)
  • Let’s clean off your germies (preparing for an IV)
  • It isn’t going to hurt. We are just going to put a straw in your hand/arm (placing the IV)
  • We are going to go downstairs, and they are going to give you a special medicine to help you take a nap (putting under for sedation)
  • Let’s tickle your armpit (taking temperature)
  • Is there a bunny rabbit in your ear (checking ear)
  • Let’s see if you have a heart (checking heartbeat)
  • This is going to squeeze your arm just a little bit (tourniquet for IV)
  • This is going to sound like a rocket ship (the numbing thing that scares the crap out of me)
  • Let’s give your arm a drink (flushing the IV)
  • Let’s take some happy juice (something to calm them before sedation)
  • We are going to go downstairs, and you can take a nap while we take pictures in a giant donut (MRI)

In the beginning, these statements I got.

I understood. I accepted. I even played along until I began seeing small H changes and extreme fear. He resisted “hugs,” afraid of loud noises (rocketship), would spit his water out when he drank from a straw, and when we came to the hospital, he would FREAK out.

If I had a rare hospital visit or stay for my kids, which I have had in the past, I wouldn’t hesitate to do this.  For minor things, I get it.  Saying these things helps kids overcome their fear.  Yet, when you have a child who is in the hospital all the time, it doesn’t work.

H stopped using straws.  He stopped drinking juice or most liquid.  H didn’t want to ever eat a donut even if he saw me eating one.  He resisted hugs.  Tickling him is a thing of the past.  He associated all these good things with fear and hospitals.

I know I come across as this hard mom who is using too technical terms with my 4 yr old, but this is his life. Hospital life is his new normal. Hospitals. In and out of hospitals and doctor’s offices. I have changed my tune during the past few doctors and hospital visits. For instance, this morning, H had to have an MRI done and a spinal tap.

Child Life

Child life came upstairs to talk and play with him until he was sedated and went back for his procedure. They brought this fantastic doll with a hospital gown, markers to draw on his face and pretend medical equipment so he could play with it.

They began using those terms, and I kindly told them I used accurate terminology with him. I discussed with them his irritational fears over things, and because of my lack of knowledge and the previous nurses trying to put him at ease, with what I’m assuming they have learned, we have changed how we deal with things. I also explained that he likes to be called Kid.

The Doll

So, we got out the doll, and I taught the Child Life people and the nurses how we do things. We first drew a face, hair, glasses, freckles, belly button, and chest/back hair on his doll. Then, I drew some veins on his hand. I showed him his veins and my veins. I talked to him about the IV going in and what it does. The funny thing is he knew what most of the stuff did because we have talked about this so much.

We took a wipe and cleaned the area. We counted to 5 and then “inserted” the IV…we even used the same tape they used on him. We flushed Bob’s IV when H got his IV flushed. We even put the sterilizing cap on the end. I covered everything I could think of on Bob.

Astonishment

The ladies were in awe of how H responded, how much he knew, and how I chose to handle things with him (I understand other parents using the above terminology). I explained to them that he has a life-altering condition, and this is now a part of his life. I wanted to take the fear out of the unknown and normalize his situation for him. To take the worry away, I want him to be a student (even at this age) of what is going on in his body. Doing that gives him some control.

This has been a scream-free hospital stay. H has been compliant, polite, and confident. I’m so incredibly proud of him. I cannot even describe how much this baby inspires me to continue to run the race looking forward.

 

 

Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

We have been trying to get Beads of Courage since this journey began two years ago. I first learned about them from a fellow blog mom Renee’s Little Earthling Blog. Her son’s story was where I read about it.

Norton’s Children’s Hospital

We approached a nurse at the 3rd hospital, Norton’s Children’s Hospital, and she sent in the floor Child Life Worker to talk to me. This was H’s two-day IVIG/Chemo time at the hospital. We had to fill out a form to see if he qualified. There are certain conditions that a child has to have to qualify.

Cancer and Blood Disorders

Cardiac Conditions

Burn injuries

Neonatal ICU Families

Chronic Illness

Do We Qualify or Not?

 

In assuming we qualified, we had to go through a list of procedures. We had to count how many of each category H had from the past to the present—a daunting task. I sat for those two days, and I counted. I read lots of med reports and looked through my calendar to remember. H deserved every single bead because of all that he had been through with this illness.

As I painstakingly remembered and documented, I returned the document to the Child Life worker at Norton’s. We never heard another thing from them. They said he didn’t get to participate in this program at their facility because he didn’t have cancer.

Moving On

I never approached UK Children’s Hospital and UPMC about the Beads of Courage because I figured they wouldn’t let him participate either. The thought passed through my head a few times, but I let it flit on through.

Yesterday, at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the thought came back up. I saw this honey of a boy walkthrough with a smile on his face from ear to ear. He was proud and excited. Yes, he was facing a long chemo day, which is problematic. Yet, he could take some time and string each bead on his necklace. As I saw that, I thought I would ask again.

New Day, New Hospital

Katie, our Child Life worker, came bopping over and said she was fixing to talk to us about this opportunity. I told her what had happened in the past. She just said that H qualified. Since we were never given the opportunity, things had changed slightly in 2 years.

She gave me the form (below), and I just checked everything he has done over the last two years. On the back, I wrote down the things that required great bravery: unique beads. Then, we calculated the days he had been sick. He received beads for every 100 days he was ill.

H’s Choice

H got to pick out a bag made by a woman in Arizona. He carefully chose each bead as Katie explained why he was getting it. That was not so much on his hearing level LOL. He just wanted to select the prettiest bead.

Beads aren’t the be-all and end-all, but it is something that he can know is consistent. Hospitals are not consistent. You have different nurses, different techniques, and different reasons we are there. Beads are colorful, bright, and exciting to kids. The BOC brings joy. He can sit and look at each and know that he did something amazing. He took steps to better himself and his health. He is strong.

When we all returned, I sat and looked through all the beads. I read the reasons why and then A did the same thing. She helped him sort them all out. He sat and strung each bead one by one.

Pure Joy

He was excited about the beads. I have seen some fantastic ideas on how to display them online. He earned three more yesterday, but we will get them on clinic day next month. He needs another 100-day bead, a stick bead, and a clinic visit bead. We will add it to his bag and string it when we get home.

Donate

You can always donate towards Beads of Courage anytime. The website I have highlighted above has a tab about donations of money or beads. The Predators donate money towards this program for Vandy. It gives you the chance to put a smile on a kid’s face.