"The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched-they must be felt with the heart." Hellen Keller

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Dallas Childrens Means to Me

I have been thinking about this a lot lately because of the money we are hoping to raise for Dallas Childrens. We are hoping to hold a picnic for the doctors, and nurses and therapists and invite former patients of theirs. They endure so much heartbreak and sadness throughout the year and it would be so nice to let them see their "miracles". Please don't think for a minute that I am downplaying those who have passed. I am not! I know they (and we) think about them every, single day but I know it would be good to have some uplifting time and fun. So, with that, I have thought a lot about what Dallas Childrens means to me. Wow, where to begin. Let me begin by talking about the place as a whole. In one word....AMAZING! I have never seen a facility the likes of it, and I have never seen a more dedicated team of people. As much as I hate that we had to be there, I feel so privileged that we were a part of it as well. I am so proud to say that my son was a patient at Dallas Childrens. I am so proud to say that they saved his life!
I can't just give credit to the hospital itself...I have to give credit individually because that hospital is full of some of the most amazing people I have ever met! And, it runs like a well-oiled machine from top to bottom! (FYI, these are in no particular order)
Custodial Staff - every day they came in to clean my son's room and they ALWAYS smiled and asked how I was and were super sweet. Above all, I think about the night he nearly bled to death after surgery and I know they cleaned that up so that I didn't have to see it again. It sounds morbid, but think about it, they see things like that everyday.
Physical TherapistsThese ladies were so wonderful. They always came in with a smile and cooed and talked to my baby and gave me the attention I needed as well. They all had the sweetest, softest voices. Without them, my son would not have caught up to his peers so very quickly after having laid flat on his back for five months or more.
Speech TherapistsIf I am being honest I used to get so irritated because the speech therapists wouldn't let Bryson try to suck on a bottle and this momma was CERTAIN that HER BABY would suck a bottle just fine . I realize now that they were looking for what was best for my baby and they were so patient with me, even though I know I was super pushy. Because of them my son was able to come off of the feeding tube and now eats like a champ!
Massage Therapistyes, you read that right, they had a massage therapist. She was AMAZING! She was for Bryson but offered, over and over, to give me a massage. She was so gentle to him and her touch was so soft and her voice so light. He would literally melt to her touch. And, honestly, with all the poking and prodding he had to endure, these massages were so very much needed by my little man. Because of her, he is a snuggler and bonds easily with others. And, because of her many encouraging talks with me....I made it through in one piece.
Child Life SpecialistsThese ladies were phenomenal. They were instrumental in helping us from the beginning to the end of the hospital stay. They helped us with meals, rooms, gave us encouragement, told us about how the hospital works. They really helped us look at the BIG picture. They were the ones who made certain that my boys were able to meet their baby brother. They made it possible for us to receive special things at Christmas. I could go on and on. They are great people and because of them, I can truly say that every detail of my experience with Children's was positive.
Lab TechniciansThe funny part is I never met these people during our entire stay at Children's. Who knows, they could have been chained in the basement for all I know. LOL! Not really! My son had ENDLESS, and I mean ENDLESS blood work and tests done. And, day or night they were there...and they were FAST! They were able to check blood gases and they were crucial in my son's long journey of healing
XRay TechsBryson had so, so very many x-rays done. I remember at one point after it was all said it done I heard someone say, "I don't want to get x-rays for my son because he has already had a few and I don't want him overexposed!" I had to laugh....I was surprised after all the x-raying that Bryson didn't glow at night! LOL! He had just about as many x-rays as he did blood work! Day in, day out, they were there to take an x-ray. And they were always so very respectful and kind to us. They always spoke to Bryson as if he were there own. They made me so comfortable. They, too, were so crucial in my son's battle. And, let me tell you...when they were called in an emergency, they showed up FAST! They burn some rubber!
Echo peopleyes, I called them "echo people", much like the "Culligan man". LOL! I am not sure what their "official" title is. However, they too were always more than willing to rush over and do an echo and the mood was always tense at these times but they were very good about breaking the ice and making us more comfortable. Without them, my son's heart might not beat quite as strong and true as it does.
Cath LabThis is another set of people I never met. However their job was very, very crucial in saving Bryson's life. We had two caths, I think, maybe more and I know that it can be a risky procedure but they were always so careful with him. Because of them, he is alive and well today.
People in charge of feedsYea, I said another fancy name for someone. :) I am not sure what their title is either but I know this....during rounds they would be in charge of figuring out TO THE CALORIE how much food my son needed, what kind of food, how much volume, how it should go in...you name it. He was not an easy case for them but they put their heads together and always made the best decisions for him. He is a thriving 27 lb toddler because of them!
Respiratory TherapistsNow we are getting into the meat and bones of it all. I know they are called respiratory therapists but I find that they weigh heavy on the therapist part. I will never forget, a certain respiratory therapist, (you know who you are) on a particularly bad day told me, "this is like a bridge, and you have to cross it, but you will cross it." That meant so much to me. She and I were very close the entire time we were there. And when I had to leave Bryson at the hospital for any amount of time, I was CERTAIN she was in that room, loving on that baby. She just always knew EXACTLY what to say...she still does to this day. I remarked to my mom the other day, "it is beyond amazing that a child who was ventilator dependent for at least four months, has absolutely NO respiratory issues today!" She said, "that is because the respiratory therapists tooks such good care of his lungs!" It is so true! And, there were times when Bryson scared the hell out of them and they had to bag him and breathe for him, and they NEVER missed a beat. I have never been so impressed with a group of people. Because of them he is alive today and has no respiratory problems whatsoever! Not to mention I might not have made it out of there without them as well. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Surgeons and surgical staffThey saved my son's life....They weren't the only ones BUT without life-saving surgery there would have been no use for any of these other people. I know his surgery was diffcult...I know that after surgery he had to have emergency surgery in his room again. Decisions were made very quickly and with great precision. Think about it, they performed surgery on a heart the size of a walnut. I cannot begin to fathom! But it didn't end after the surgery. They came to check on his progress all the time. They were proud of their work...and of him. I owe them everything. He walks and talks and breathes because of the surgeons and their staff.
Surgical staff and AnesthesiologistsThis is yet another group that essentially saved my son's life. He had to be put on a bypass machine. That is terrifying and yet someone was in charge of this and in charge of every tiny detail of his surgery. He was a fragile baby and so I am sure the anesthesiologists were not thrilled to have to put him under but all this was done so beautifully. And because of this, my son is smart as a whip!!!!
NursesNot sure where to even start. What a blessing these people are to the CICU unit at Children's. I have never felt such love and compassion as I did by those nurses. I can't begin to list all they did for me. I made life-long friendships there. And I can't begin to list what they did for my son. The surgeons fixed him, they "healed" him. He had so very many problems after surgery and those nurses took care of him as if he were their very own child. After he was there for so very long, we had a specific "team" of nurses that took care of them. They are my family, now and forever. No matter how many times I cried, asked questions, laughed, lost it....they never, ever left my side. Even when my husband threw a tantrum (out of sheer grief) they never batted an eye and never once were they cross to either of us. I am so very blessed to have had them in my son's life. They were his "mommies" when I could not be. Who else could possibly count on any other human to do that for them. I am forever indebted, forever! Because of them my son is ALIVE!
staff of doctors on the floorThese doctors are crucial to the CICU at Children's. They make HUGE decision. They are responsible for SO MUCH and they take it so very, very hard when patients succumb. I NEVER felt like they were "whitecoats" or just doctors. I could come to them for anything....ask anything....say anything and their compassion was endless. One in particular took on our case late in the game and I believe his decisions honestly did save Bryson's life. It was his turning point and I know this man is responsible. His decisions changed everything. If I hadn't already been on child #3, I would have gladly named my first-born after him. Ha, ha!
I know I have gone on and on but I could go on for days. I remember so vividly being there and wanting nothing more than to leave and NEVER come back. As we walked out the door on February 4th, I have never been so relieved (and scared as hell!) but I miss that hospital and its staff more than anyone will ever know. I feel like we went to war together,and by God WE WERE VICTORIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you Dallas Childrens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. If I forgot ANYONE I am so, so, so sorry! You know it was two years ago and I think I blocked out some things! :)

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