Monday, June 26, 2006

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:
continue reading

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


Post a Comment

<< Home