Life Starts Now.

Living each day to the fullest, because we know first-hand just how fragile life can be.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For the healthcare workers of the world:

Just overheard this outside Joel's room: Intensivist: "Hey Wendy, have you met the parents of this little one? Normally I've had a chance to talk with mom or dad by Wednesday." Nurse: "I met the dad yesterday, but not the mother. I think the dad is working and the mom has a sick kid or something."
There are some things you only learn from experience. This would be gut-wrenching to witness this as a nurse. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to this particular child's parents and hope that something serious is keeping them from being at their infant's bedside. I get stories from nurses and RTs...very vague of course, they keep their confidentiality codes, but they sadden me. Just in the 7 weeks that I have been here, I have silently seen it. Kids with no parents. Nurses holding babies. Nurses consoling toddlers who are alone in their rooms. Here's the tear jerker for me....a nurse told me that it's the worst when the kids are left alone and DON'T cry. When they don't get upset, and they don't ask for anything. She said, "It becomes easy to spot a neglected child. They are satisfied being alone."
An RT told me one day that about half of the kids in here don't have parents that stay with them. About half. Most of the kids I've seen are here for less than a me, I keep track of the people who are in and out of this place, I'm patiently waiting for our discharge. He said that after 48 hours of no contact or check-ins, they call the parents to give them updates. Can you imagine how scary it would be through a child's eyes: cords, monitors, bells & buzzers, different people coming in and out of your room, the toddler screaming bloody-murder in the neighboring room, and no one to comfort your fears?
It takes a special kind of person to work in a pediatrics unit. Adult patients are self-centered. Children are innocent. Not that anyone deserves to be hurting, but it seems more heartbreaking when they're too little to ask, "why me?" A healthcare worker that sees this on a day-to-day basis, kids in pain...I think they have bigger hearts than the rest of the world. I tip my hat to them. If you see a nurse today, please give them a hug from me.


  1. Thanks for that, it is sad to hear but good to know. Is there any program that allows volunteers to be with children whose parents have to work or can't be there. I am sure that would be another issue with background checks, etc. But I was just wondering.

  2. They do! It's just basic volunteering at the hospital, but specify that you want to hold babies. I'm going to suggest to my mom to go and do it...there are babies that need loved on, toddlers that need read to!!!! Good thinking, Carrie!

  3. I totally saw the same thing when Thomas was in the NICU. He was in a little area with 3 other babies, and we were always the only parents there. Two little guys were there the whole time we were, and never once did anyone come see them. The other little guy celebrated his first birthday while we were there, and had been in the NICU the whole year...we saw his mom once. It killed me. I LOVED Thomas' main nurse, and we still talk about him. It seriously made me want to go to nursing school, just so I could cuddle those sweet neglected babies when they needed it. I am honestly thinking about it....maybe as a part time job or something once my little guys start school. Joel will always know that he is loved, and that his mommy and daddy were at his bedside. He's a lucky little guy (and stinkin' cute!).