Hayden gets IVIG treatments to manage her seizures. This means monthly day trips to the hospital and an unfortunate IV. It has always been a difficult IV start with her. As she is getting older it seems her body is starting to defend itself against the pokes. As time goes on and another needle poke is added to her tally of hundreds already, her skin becomes tougher and tougher, making the needle very difficult to actually pierce the skin. While most times the IV start happens with one or two pokes, this last month, it was unsuccessful all together. I held her down as she had needle after needle, each one failing for a successful IV. After too many pokes to recall, and many bandages, we decided to call it a day and reschedule. While we were lucky an appointment was open a few days later, it was also hard to acknowledge the decision to leave the hospital. The trip to the hospital and the pokes were now for nothing. This thought is difficult to process. While these IVs are 100% necessary, the emotional and mental stress of putting your child through so much sometimes takes hold. I feel this is common worry for us parents. So many kids go through so much to have a quality of life, and while the idea is that these procedures and events are for the greater good, the moments can still be difficult for these kids and us as parents.
While it is easy to think of Hayden, and the struggle I face as a father on this particular day, I can’t help but think of the others that are a part of these challenges and the emotional weight that it may bear on them. The nurse helping to hold down ANOTHER child for another poke, and seeing ANOTHER parent scared and stressed for the safety of their child. The physician or nurse starting an IV on ANOTHER child and hearing them cry out to their parents. The physician telling the parent there isn’t anything they can do for them. The child life workers trying to do there best to create a comfortable environment for the many children in the hospital. I can only imagine how it would feel in what seems now as pretty ‘mild’ events let alone any other kind of trauma or more difficult moments of a child. And I think, this is part of the journey as a health care professional and the result of their choice in career. This is what they chose to do and dedicate their lives to. To help others. To help kids. To have an impact in some else’s life. To give someone another chance to have a quality of life. To save lives.
I couldn’t even begin to understand the perspective from the other side of the stretcher, in the moments of pain, suffering, and extraordinary challenges of the kids and their families. I think to myself about how are they be able to deal with all the emotional stress, seeing so many kids struggle, and so many family members hurt. I don’t know, but I want to be able to empathize with them in their journey as well. I feel by trying to acknowledge this perspective, I can become more empathetic to everyone that has helped us and that will help us in our journey. To me, by acknowledging the perspective from the other side of the stretcher, I can create a broader understanding of the extraordinary efforts that go into care for my daughter.
Hayden was a champ with everything at this appointment and every time we go she rocks the needle. But it is still difficult, and I still struggle. How do you get past this struggle as a parent? How do you ensure that through all the challenges and struggles, you don’t succumb to overwhelming fear, worry, stress, anxiety, or anger? I don’t know if you can sometimes and I give in to these emotions so naturally and willingly. It is easy to, but there is also ways to help reduce their burden. Trying to see perspectives of others in this crazy journey has a funny way of helping. Seeing another perspective is empathy. I challenge many negative burdening emotions, by thinking of another perspective and trying to understand how it impacts them.
Every one in this journey can be impacted emotionally and mentally. While sometimes it can be hard to see eye to eye and acknowledge their journey, I am beyond grateful for our doctors, and nurses, child life workers, and many others that work in this field. I am grateful for their decision back before school to devote their lives to helping kids and their families have better lives. Through all the challenges that they will need to face as a care provider, they fulfill an incredible purpose in everyone’s lives. If you are a care professional and you are reading this, what was your inspiration for choosing this career? I would love to know.