Another Lesson Learned

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This past weekend my daughter and I went for our inaugural skate of the season. We were both very excited. She outgrew her skates from last year, so on Saturday afternoon we went to buy her a new pair. Really cute pair too – pink with flowers on them.  That night, we grabbed her helmet and off to the arena we went.

When we arrived we joined the massive line of people waiting to get their skates sharpened. My daughter was so excited to get onto the ice, she was bouncing around as if she had ants in her pants.  But it wasn’t just her.  I too couldn’t wait to get onto the ice, feel the smoothness underfoot, the cool breeze on my face, and hear the scraping sounds all around. This was going to be a great night!

After about twenty minutes we finally had our newly sharpened skates and off to the stands we went to put then on. Just then the Zamboni came out to clear the ice. My daughter started complaining that we had to wait even longer to skate, but I explained – how great this was! We get to skate on freshly smooth ice! I couldn’t believe that it was possible for her to get even more excited.

Finally, we got onto the ice.  We skated to the kiddy section and I began teaching my daughter to skate again as she was a bit rusty (she hadn’t skated since early this year). She was doing quite well when suddenly she fell.  No big deal, I thought until then she started crying.  She has fallen plenty of times in the past.  She pointed out that her pants tore at the knee, and I said it’s OK, we’ll fix them.  Then I hear “Mommy, I think I’m bleeding”. I looked down, moved the opening of her pant leg over and immediately thought “Oh sh*t. She’s going to need stitches.”  I brought her to the first aid area, and was hoping that I was just over-reacting, but the arena worker did say she would need to go to the hospital.

Great.

I wasn’t worried about the stitches Per Se.  I was worried about how the heck I would get her to the hospital.  My daughter had a horrible experience at the local children’s hospital this year and since then, every time I’ve had to bring her back, or to anyone who wears some type of medical uniform she has freaked out.  She transforms into a screaming, arm and leg flaying little monster who is inconsolable.

And freak out she did. Large. Luckily, she didn’t need stitches, but they did glue her wound together.  The poor doctor’s hand was shaking while he was trying to administer the glue, and I was holding her down.  Once it was all done, I was told how to care for it once we get home.  So last night I had to wipe off the glue, but it was impossible to do.  There was so much glue on her leg, way more than necessary.  Of course, I understand how that happened.  The poor doctor just wanted to finish tending to her.  And unfortunately, trying to wipe off all the excess was like trying to wipe permanent marker off the wall.  It was next to impossible.

So into a warm bath my daughter went, with hopes that glue would soften, or her skin would shrivel allowing for the glue to easily come off. That was wishful thinking. I then slowly started to peel the glue off when she stopped me because it hurt.  Of course it hurt!  It was hurting me just as much doing that to her as it was hurting her! She insisted that she wanted to do it. I thought, OK, go for it kid.

She would slowly lift the sides of the glue up from her skin.  I could see the determination mixed with pain on her face.  She was breathing heavily as she was concentrating on what she was doing.  Then she said “Mommy, can you get me some scissors so I can cut it?”  I said, no way. Then she said “please?  At least this way there isn’t a lot to lift up.”  What a genius idea.  So I sterilized baby scissors and I gave them to her.  So little by little she would peel back the glue, cut the piece off, put her leg back into the water to soften some more and then proceed again.  We were at this for over an hour, but she amazingly got the mission accomplished. All the while, I knelt by the edge of the tub, supervising, cheering her on.  What an amazing sight!

When I was cleaning her wound and applying the adhesive strips I asked her why she wanted to do it all herself, and not let me do it.  Her answer left me speechless.  She said “Mommy, I know that it would hurt anyway.  But if I did it, at least I knew when it would hurt, and by doing it, I wouldn’t think of the pain.  I would have to think about what I was doing, and so it would hurt less.”  Once we were done, she was back at playing with her toys as if nothing happened.  But what

a lesson that my six-year just taught me.  There will be pain that we will experience in life.  Rather than letting it just happen to us, why not take life by the horns and do something about it.  By acting, the pain will still be there, but it won’t hurt as much because we’ll be concentrating on doing something about it.

As I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, I remain in awe with the lessons that my daughter has been teaching me since her birth. She has been instrumental in my growth process and has been a source of inspiration.

I believe that if we are open to learning, that every situation offers an opportunity which something can be gained. Especially if the lesson is beginning taught from those little munchkins also known as kids.

Hospitals and Lessons Learned

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  ~ Mary Oliver

( Note: In order to protect my daughter’s privacy, and of those involved in the incident, I will share only what I believe I can)

A few years ago I worked for an amazing company called RL Solutions.  I really enjoyed working there because I finally felt that I was making a good contribution to society.  This company created software to make health care safer.  During my tenure there, I became very knowledgeable about the cogwheels of health care, specifically what would happen in hospitals.  I learned very quickly to ask many questions and take responsibility for the health care I received and especially that of my.

Tie this knowledge with being highly intuitive, and I quickly figured out why last Friday I was feeling out of sorts.  You see, last Friday my daughter had to visit the local children’s hospital for an MRI.  She attempted to have one the week before and it didn’t work.  She was too scared.  My daughter isn’t scared of anything, especially hospitals and doctors as she was exposed to them since she was born as my Dad was in and out of hospitals all the time until he passed away a couple of years ago.  And having this procedure done at a children’s hospital, they understood these sorts of things and recommended that she return and this time have sedation.  Let me note that this hospital is a world renown hospital, and the service we received the first time was absolutely wonderful.  They were very comforting and catered to my daughter, made her feel very important and they were amazing at calming her anxiety.

So this past Friday I woke up with a knot in my stomach.  I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way – like as if something bad was going to happen.  My mind wasn’t worried about the appointment, but my gutt was.  My daughter knew we were going to the hospital, but something just wasn’t right.  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had, and it was beginning to worry me.

We arrived at the hospital to for the MRI with sedation.  We checked in and everything seemed to be going smoothly as it did last time.  What was different was that she had to be screened for the drug, which is understandable.  And then things started falling apart.  The process wasn’t the same as what was described to me at time of booking.  I started to wonder what was going on. The prior week, her test took place within minutes of arriving, whereas this time an hour and a half had passed and the IV line wasn’t inserted, let alone the medication being administered. Other patients who arrived long after we did came and went, and we continued waiting.  Then, the radiologist arrived to collect us, and brought us into the MRI room and wanted my daughter to lay down.  My daughter freaked out, and was shaking with fear.  At one point she bolted to the door.  I turned to the radiologist and advised that she was to receive sedation, and he explained that she would not be receiving sedation, as there is no one in the hospital to prescribe it.  I explained that the purpose of us being here today was to receive the sedation, or else it would be a repeat of the week before, and that it didn’t make sense.  We went back and forth like this for a while and then I demanded to speak with a supervisor.

I waited for another half hour to speak with someone.  I proceeded to the reception desk, and only then did someone approach me.  The drug was giving to my daughter and within ten minutes of it being administered, they wanted to proceed with the test.  I’m not a clinician, but I know that an orally ingested drug normally requires at least half an hour to take effect.  My daughter at this point was so tight with anxiety that she wouldn’t allow anyone to go near her.  The end result, my daughter didn’t do the test.  No surprise here. And the drug took effect while we were on our way home.

So over the weekend I debated as to whether or not I should contact the hospital’s patient relations department over this.  In the end I did.  I’m glad that I did because I learned a lot from this incident.  Where I believed that there was a breakdown in communication at the hospital, was completely far from the truth.  What was discovered was that the radiologist was uncomfortable in prescribing the drug, and therefore was delaying the test from taking place.  The nurses could not do anything until they received the go ahead from him.  And we were left in the dark, waiting.  Nothing was ever communicated to us.  So now, once again we must return there, and I’m not sure how to do this.  My daughter is adamant about not stepping foot in a hospital again.  Heck, yesterday she wouldn’t even sit in the dentist chair, and she never had a problem going to the dentist.  This incident has certainly created ripple effects.

These are some of the things I learned from this incident:

  1. You MUST take control of your own health.  We are all human, and therefore mistakes will happen.  Doctors, nurses or anyone that works in health care are not immune to mistakes.
  2. Always look at who else is involved in with what you’re doing.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, communicate with others and come up with an alternative plan.  As a result of the radiologist not doing his job, my daughter was traumatized, and now many more complicated steps are required in order for her next appointment to take place.
  3. There are always consequences to actions or inactions.  Consider them before doing anything and then proceed with care.  Again, because of this incident, many people have had to get involved now.  Also, this was a time sensitive test, which the radiologist may or may had not known.  I am praying that there will not be any adverse consequences because now there is a long delay to her next test. Had he had thought of this, maybe this would not have happened.   This is a hospital after all, and she is having a test for a reason.
  4. Advocate for yourself.  You deserve the best because you matter.  If you see that someone cannot advocate for themselves, step in.  Everyone is important.

Of course these lessons are not limited to health care.  They apply to all areas of life.  I struggled with whether or not I should share them with you, but I felt that I needed to, because I care about you.  Not that I have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn’t wish this upon them.  No one should experience this.  In a nutshell, don’t remain silent and accept things the way they are.  Speak up.  You matter.