Touched By An Angel

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Most people have a love/hate relationship with hospitals. We hate to be admitted into one, but love how we can regain good health from one as a result of treatment. They can be overwhelming, intimidating places, especially the Emergency Room (ER). Unfortunately, I have been in the ER more often than I care to remember, especially over the past 7 years. My colon cancer was diagnosed there. I was also there twice with my Dad due to complications from his lung cancer treatment a few years ago. Mom was diagnosed with pneumonia in the ER last Fall. And Brian has been admitted twice in the ER over the past 8 months. With all of this experience, the high anxiety and uncertainty of the outcome still remains each and every time there is an admission. Yesterday morning was no exception, when I noticed blood in Brian’s urine and knew I had to bring him to the ER at our local hospital, St. Barnabas. I knew what they were going to have to do: blood labs and a renal ultrasound, and it would have to be done under some type of sedation. I also knew that I would have to pack a “bag of tricks”, which would include: snacks, an i-Pad, and i-Pod with several tunes. Being prepared is mandatory in this situation for both Brian’s sake and my own. Questions for doctor- check! Clippers, manicure scissors and comb to perform grooming activities while Brian is under sedation- check!! Blood labs from ER doctor and combining them with other physician lab requests both locally and out of state while under sedation – mandatory!! I was even able to get a urine sample from Brian and bring it to the ER because I knew they would need one. Our bag was packed and we were ready to go! Ten minutes later we arrived at our “second home”, all the while I was praying

for Brian, the hospital staff, and myself, for a medical resolution and courage, because these situations call for such measures. I sure wish Jim had been with me, but he was in Dallas on business. Emergencies have that funny way of coming up without warning and have no regard for business trips.

Brian was remarkable during the transition out of the car and into the ER, with the exception of just the first few seconds. He eventually walked in like a brave soldier going into battle and within minutes we were admitted into a treatment room. Our nurse, Tara, couldn’t have been nicer, a perfect pediatric nurse, so engaging with Brian and compassionate!
The ER physician was also very affable, listening carefully to what had happened, then  ordered the blood labs and renal ultrasound. I stressed  the need for Versed, a drug that provides concious sedation, that would allow the staff to draw Brian’s blood and do the ultrasound without issue. Fortunately, Brian had had Versed previously. I have also had the great fortune of having had Versed myself when my port was inserted for chemo. They really should call it “Sublime” or “Devine”, because that is EXACTLY what this stuff is! The world is wonderful, funny, and you really don’t care about anything at all under its influence. Since this was Brian’s third go around with Versed, I knew he would definitely be very relaxed for his procedures.

Brian was so relaxed, that I was able to trim his finger and toe nails, AND a little bit of his hair, after the blood draw and ultrasound. What a difference and a dream to have an anxiety-free experience!  The nurses drew the blood with Karen Carpenter singing on the i-pod I brought. Someone suggested a scented candle, lol, the hospital ER just doesn’t get any better than this! But it actually did, with the arrival of Caitlin, a Child Life Specialist, who is part of the Special Needs Ambassador Program (SNAP) in the Pediatric Emergency Room at St. Barnabas and pictured above with Brian. What an angel!

We had the great pleasure of meeting Caitlin the last time Brian was in the ER.  She was so calm, collected, and wonderful with him!  Caitlin had her own iPad of videos/ games to share with Brian. She brought us drinks and snacks, and sat with Brian while I took a brief break. Caitlin also assisted the nurses and myself in holding Brian steady when his blood draws were done. She even took Brian on a stretcher to the radiology department and remained with us until the ultrasound was completed, then wheeled Brian back to his room. Talk about first class service! Most importantly, Caitlin was compassionate, understanding,  and a steady, reliable presence throughout our entire time in the ER. She is the perfect advocate and liason between patients and the medical staff. What a comfort and blessing it was to have Caitlin there yesterday, especially since Jim could not be. Her presence clearly offers reassurance to families that they are not alone in such a stressful circumstance and their physical and emotional needs will be taken care of every step of the way. I believe that is exactly what angels do and they do exist in the ER!

Until we meet again..thanks for reading!  🙂

PS- Brian’s renal ultrasound was unremarkable,  but the red and white blood cell counts were high, so he is currently being treated for a urinary tract infection. We are still awaiting the urine culture results…

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