Monday, October 08, 2007


The true honoree of this post is a nurse, named LaDawn. And bear in mind that while she was, indeed, a real live person; she has come to represent to me an archetype of sorts – so often have I thought of her.

read Tribute by Rowan

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dr. Giles

Preeclampsia survivor and 2-time NICU mom, Jen, pays tribute to Dr. Giles, a doctor she saw mature from a second-year intern to Chief OB resident.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dr. Parish, the first 24 hours

But I can’t tell you
If he's going to survive

Read The first 24 hours

submitted by Christy

Jeanine, NICU nurse and babysaver

Baby Savers, a story from the micropreemie world.

Click link above to read story submitted by tinybaby

Dr. Axelrod, the hippo and the person

Dr. Axelrod was on Natalie's surgery team post-transplant. He was a no-nonsense, get down to business, sort of a guy, but then again that is a trait that we see in most surgeons. Many of our nurses never saw eye-to-eye with him - mostly because he was more hands on than they were used to.
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When we wanted Natalie's staples removed (from the transplant surgery) he located a suture removal kit on the floor and took to the task with our nurse wondering what in the world had just happened.

When Natalie had a bleed some 5 days after transplant, he got the crib ready for transport and then he ran along the crib, pushing syringes of Albumin into her veins, while the nurses pushed blood.

And when she had her issues with PTLD and hemolytic anemia, he, even though there was never really a medical reason, made frequent stops to our hospital room to check on "His Girl." Then late, last summer, as he was leaving the hospital to go to the East Coast, stopped by the room, to give his girl a hippo beanie, which of course is now aptly named Dr. Axelrod.

So to Dr. Axelrod, thank you. Thanks for taking care of our girl. We'll never forget you.

~~submitted by Becca

World's Greatest Speech Therapist, or

Why I Sometimes Get All Teary Watching My Daughter Eat a Meal

follow link above to read the story submitted by Susan

the compassionate cafeteria woman, CMH Chicago

So for all the BA [ed. note: BA - Biliary Atresia, the leading cause for pediatric liver transplants] parents out there, remember the day you got the diagnosis? On the day that Danny was diagnosed and the doctor said transplant, my knees buckled. After a couple of hours of crying my mom took me outside for a breath of air. I was crying in the elevator and there was a cafeteria worker in the elevator with us. She promply rubbed my arm and asked me if she could buy me a cup of coffee. I declined as I was too upset to do anything. The next day I saw her in the cafeteria and she asked me how I was and told me she was praying for me and my family. I think it goes without saying how much the doctors and nurses give, I could go on forever about our nurse Joan! But, it amazed me even more how every single person at Children's Memorial [ed. note: in Chicago, Illinois] tries to give you support. The only thing this woman could offer me for comfort was a cup of coffee and a prayer and she took the time to try. To this day, thinking of that day makes me cry, but she warms my heart!

~~submitted by Mary O.

Dr. B and the tiny dancer

I have an 8 month old little girl. She was born with a fairly severe club foot. I was walking the OB ward during our second evening post-delivery pushing my little girl in her bassinet only to have several nurses ask to "check her out," which I had quickly come to realize meant they wanted to see her tiny little feet--one perfect and one turned so awkward.
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As we rounded a corner, I heard one nurse say, "That mom is so relaxed about her baby's foot." I thought, "well, what am I going to do about it? I can't change it--she's perfectly made to me." I'm off topic...let me regroup. It took three weeks to get in to see the pediatric orthopeadist in town--there are only 3 in my state. He was amazing. He quickly outlined her care in a concise, even-toned manner and promptly said, "She is perfect--we're going to fix her so that she is absolutely complete. She will walk. She will run. She will dance until she exhausts herself." And then he hugged me and said, "See you next week." For the next ten weeks, he saw us each week as he carefully changed her casts and checked her progress. He held her when they put her to sleep for surgery when she was 8 weeks old. He was holding her when they brought me to her after the surgery, despite the fact that he had other patients waiting for their surgery. He helped me put her in her first post-cast dress (no dresses while she was wearing casts because she rubbed her little foot against the cast). We were devastated when we found out he was moving to another state. We want only the absolute best for him and his family. He arranged for my little girl to have the next best care in our state. Thank you, Dr. B, if you're out there. When she walks, we're sending you pictures. We're so thankful for everything you did to help us!!!

~~submitted by Natalie

Jen and Holly, nurses AND guardians of sanity

from Lisa

So we get the diagnosis. Biliary Atresia. This is not what I signed up for. None of us did. So I was in that stage of, "If I just hold out a little longer they will all come telling me they were wrong and to go home and forget this whole transplant nonsense..." I was not well mentally. Lets face it, I am borderline anyway, but this was real. He was recovering from his Kasai with two back to back cholangitis episodes. It had been 9 weeks in the hospital, and I was just SURE that if I did everything in my control... I would have, "control."
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SO this ment to my feeble mind:

1)No sleep. After all I had to stay awake incase Aiden made a peep. A whimper.. then I could HELP.

2)No food. You see this was before the LUXURY of parent trays in the hospital, (you know the disgusting hospital version of room service) so therefore I would have to LEAVE? OH NO! any form of personal care would be only a luxery I would just WAIT to enjoy when they told me they were wrong, and this was a bad dream.

So I was loosing it. I would walk down the halls of the hospital holding on, cause I was so dizzy and disoriented. I must have been just a mess physically too, because all of my loved ones were begging me to "take care of me". I was in martyr mode... and I was happy there. Well at least I thought.

Late one night, a very gentle nurse came in with a book. She said, "Lisa, we are worried about you. You need to talk, and get it out, you need to accept this is your new life. Take a look at this book..." she smiled at me so lovingly. I opened the book to find this crafty yet adorable thing called "scrapbooking". I had never heard of it, (not knowing it was a cult I was about to be sucked into), but it tweaked my interest. I loved the way the book told the story of her family.

I walked out to the nurses station. Jen and Holly handed me some paper, scissors, and pens. They showed me how to start. This was a masterminded plan of theirs. I am sure looking back they had discussed it for weeks.

Nurses are more than care takers of children. They are care takers of parents too. Exhausted and delirious moms like me.

IT was that night and the next several more weeks that I learned how to JOURNAL, and look at this as a new story. Write our story from a new perspective. I was able to see that even though I really had NO control of liver disease, I did have control of how I we handled it.

Years later, Aiden's liver transplant scrapbook is my most prized possesion. The front cover is hanging on with silk tape and tegaderms, but you can see the "story of us".

Jen and Holly my two night nurses, knew I needed something. Something that was mine. I can't express how much they saved me. Everything was different from there. I was able to accept that I was indeed a hospital mom, that needed a shower, and yes even needed to leave for a moment.

I see these two girls around town so often, and I always say... "you saved me from going crazy. thank you" and they always say back..."WE KNOW"

~~submitted by Lisa

Nurse Dawn

Nurse Dawn and Pooter's I.V.

follow the link above to read the story submitted by Happy Mama to Three

Dr. P

When our son Brett was born (9 1/2 years ago), our doctor thought he may have a heart murmur, so we were instructed to come in to the clinic when he was about 4 days old to have it checked again.

My husband had to work, so my dad came with me to watch Chase (who was then about 2). Dad and Chase were in the playroom on the other side of the waiting room and I was over by the reception desk, holding my newborn and praying there was nothing wrong that couldn't be easily fixed.
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Coming out of my quiet thoughts, I heard the receptionist paging my father by name. I remember thinking that was odd, since the Dr. P didn't know Dad was along. My dad didn't hear the page because he was busy watching Chase at the lego table, so I took the call.

It was my mom. She had been getting her routine colonoscopy that day and they had found more cancer. The numb feeling that came over me was enormous. I started to shut down as I realized this whole cancer thing was starting again.

I remember that the people in the waiting room were watching and listening to me. The receptionist had a 'god, your day sucks' look on her face. They heard me starting to cry a little and trying to calm my mom down. Someone must have told Dr. P because both he and his nurse Patti came out by me. Patti took Brett and I went over to get my dad and Chase.

We all went in back and while Dr. P took care of Brett and checked him for that murmur (which wasn't anything at all), Patti helped me call my aunt. My dad left to take Chase to my aunt's house so that we could all go to the oncology office right away. (We've been down this path before and knew what steps to take.) Patti brought her car around front and drove me and Brett to the oncology office. Dr. P made sure we understood that he would help us in any way possible. How do you thank a person for keeping you sane during a time when you are losing it?

Dr. P was there for us numerous times throughout our lives, and still is, but that day stands out as going above and beyond a patient/doctor relationship. I'm so thankful for that.

~~from Angela Marie

the surgeon and the boo-boo

When Anthony had stitches from his transplant coming out of his scar, we had to go to the pediatric surgeon in town to have it fixed. This is the surgeon who would have performed Anthony's Kasai had Anthony HAD a Kasai done...and he's the one who advocated for Anthony to be seen by the best GI Louisiana had to offer.

Anyway, to prepare Anthony for going to the doctor, I talked about the surgeon, what he was going to do ("He's just going to LOOK at your boo-boo right now") and asked Anthony if he had any questions. His one and only question was "See Dr Loe? Fix boo-boo?" "Yes." "OK, Mommy!"
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When the surgeon walked into the exam room, Anthony pulled up his shirt, pointed to the spot on his scar and said, "Dere it is! Dere's Anthony boo-boo!"

I was so shocked...Anthony hates going to doctors' offices, and HATE having his tummy looked at. He will usually cry and scream just when the doctor listens to him with the stethescope (even though we have one at home that we play with). But, he loves this doctor...even more than his wonderfully sweet and gentle pediatrician.

~~submitted by Laurie

Andy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I am a peds nurse that works in WI. I've done everything from solid organ to bone marrow transplant (with every med/surg thing in between!). I feel very fortunate to learn things every day from the patients and families that I work with. There are some days that I feel that I've received more than I've given. So here's my Opposite Day anecdote:
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It starts with a very reserved little boy we'll call Andy. When I first met Andy, he would not look at me, let alone speak to me. Since I was his primary nurse, I worked with him quite a lot during his admissions. We began our time together with me talking about his favorite things: video games, sports, beating up older brothers. You know, normal boy stuff. I would get a lot of head nods and shakes, but never any eye contact or words. After about four months of numerous admissions and me exhausting my knowledge of sports very quickly, he finally spoke to me. His first word to me: bye. As in, get out of my room, you're bugging me! I had to work extra hard with Andy to build a bridge of trust with him.

So, fast forward nine months to BMT time. It's post-transplant and we're just heading into the Sea of Compliactions. My pager went off to go to Andy's room and when I went in, he was letting his nose drip blood into an emesis basin. I grabbed gloves and kleenex and started pinching. Looking at me with his huge forlorn eyes, he said, "Klh, why's my nose bleeding so much?" So we talked about how the air is dry in the hospital and can sometimes cause nosebleeds. Before I could launch into reason #2, he cried, "Why won't it stop?" That's when I explained that he had a low platelet count and that platelets are like inside bandaids that help your body stop bleeding. That made sense to Andy, so we weathered the bleeding by lots of pinching and reading "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" four times. He was transfused and -voila!-no more nosebleed!

The next morning, he was working with his teacher when his nose started bleeding again. I walked into the room and, through big crocodile tears, Andy whispered, "I think I need more platelets."

I am so grateful for the little lessons that I learn from small children. With Andy, I was reminded of the gift that children have of being excellent listeners and of faith in others. I hope that I am able to listen to and wholly hear those that I share my life with, whether at work or at play. It is such a humbling experience to be able to be a part of these amazing families' lives and experiences for a short time. So thank you, all families of children with chronic illness, for being my teachers and friends in this journey.

~~submitted by klh

Dr. Weaver Worm

When Annika was first home from her two transplants, we worried about how she would react going in to see her regular pediatrician. She was so happy to finally be home, would she be scared of this new medical environment? Would the stethoscopes and otoscopes and boxes full of alchohol swabs remind her of a place she most certainly did not want to be? With much trepidation, we took her to her first "well-child" checkup in eons, all those routine appointments having been skipped given the intense medical scrutiny lavished upon a seriously ill child.
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It went well. Very well. Annika loved her pediatrician's soothing voice and the way he eased up to her, rather than rushing into the room and feeling up the size of her spleen and the hardness of her liver with the eagerness of a resident on too little sleep and too many patients. A few days later, Annika was playing out in the yard, digging in her assigned area of dirt while I attacked weeds. It was spring, and the ground was especially easy to dig in because of a recent rainfall. As I tugged at yet another weed with runners extending, evidently, for miles, Annika came over with her hands cupped together.

"A worm!"
"Cool. Can I see it?"
"Yes. It's a Dr. Weaver worm."

Just like that, I knew we could never switch pediatricians. Because when your kids start naming their first worms after their pediatrician, you know you've got a keeper.

~~submitted by moreena

about this project

I'm sure you've read in one place or another about the impending nursing shortage, or the number of doctors being forced out of certain areas because of the rising cost of malpractice insurance. I can't do anything of real merit to address those issues, but here's something, at least. This blog is an open call for stories about the doctors or nurses or CNAs or any other healthcare employee who deserve recognition for their outstanding care.

You can email your story to


or you can write your story up on your own blog, and then email me the link.

Keep in mind these don't have to be anecdotes fraught with the drama of highly complicated emergency situations. In fact, sometimes the care taken in the every day things can mean the most to a patient or the patient's family. Your submissions can be as short as a single sentence, or go on for several paragraphs. You can submit your stories anonymously, or with identity revealed. If you let me know the name and location of the healthcare employee involved, I'll do my best to make sure they or their place of employment get sent the link to your submission.


If you'd like to honor a healthcare worker, submit your own story by emailing it to


or you can write your story up on your own blog, and then email me the link.