Felt So Fine

Felt So Fine

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hospital Journal: Supporting Cast

If the doctors and nurses of my last post were the front line of Spencer's care, then these next pictures show the reinforcements that backed them up to make sure that we won the battle.

The physical/occupational therapists played a huge role in Spencer's rehabilitation leading up to his transplant. After more than four weeks of lying nearly unconscious on the bed, not even using muscles to breathe, Spencer was VERY weak.
The first time that we stood him up he could barely hold his own weight, and then for only a few seconds. They really got to work on him and within weeks he was standing, then kicking a ball, then walking and eventually riding a bike all around the hospital.
Spencer really liked the gym. Most of the time he chose to play with the matchbox cars and race tracks. But sometimes he got creative. Here he is bowling.

This was one of our favorite games he came up with. We all laughed when he decided that the Barbie dolls would make good targets for his trucks.

One day in gym, Spencer kept looking over at the trikes in the corner. When it was time to go back to his room they asked if he wanted to use his walker or his wheelchair. He looked at me and then looked at the trikes again, so I said, "How about the bike?" He gave a very enthusiastic "Yes!" and a new era began. After that he didn't really want to travel anywhere except by bike.
When we rode through the CICU doors that day I thought that we would be met by cheers. We were, but they were overshadowed by "Where's his helmet??!" from every doctor and nurse in sight. I laughed because he was going about a half a mile an hour and there were six of us hovering around him, but then I remembered that ICU nurses make their kids wear bike helmets even while watching t.v. (just kidding! sort of). But we did make sure to get his helmet on our next trip home. :)


This is Janie. One of the many respiratory therapists who worked with Spencer when he was on the ventilator. They were the most difficult for me to watch, because they had to be meanies at times.
The suctioning and percussion was very uncomfortable and stressful for Spencer, but SO good for him. I am so grateful for them! They deserve extra reward for being able to give the tough love needed.


This is the wound team. After Spencer's surgery in October to put in the Berlin cannulas, they were regulars to our room. At first they had to change his dressings daily, then every other day, and eventually just twice a week. It took nearly an hour for this and was hard on Spencer, but like with everything else, he was so brave!
Eventually, he got used to it enough that he could watch a movie and pretty much ignore them. Tina and Paige, two of the wound team nurses were so good and helped us a TON in getting ready to come home and do this ourselves.


The turquoise crayon trick-or-treating to Spencer is Kristen from Child Life. She was Spencer's best buddy and playmate for three months. Her job consisted of one thing: help Spencer have fun!
For the first month or so, Spencer was very guarded and wouldn't talk to or respond to anyone. Except Kristen.She was the only person who had come into his room without hurting him or scaring him. She was so awesome with him. Everyday about mid-morning she would come in with a game or project and ask him if he felt like playing with her today. He almost always said yes. It got so fun and crazy at times that I would leave because I couldn't stand the mess! I would always joke with Kristen that she was like a little kid herself, coming in our room, making a giant mess and leaving. She'd just laugh--and leave the mess anyway! :)

More than once, Spencer made "goop" with Kristen. This is a picture of Spencer with the blue goop covering his hand.
Kristen learned more about dinosaurs in those weeks than any grown woman should ever have to. But she still couldn't beat him at his favorite dinosaur board game. They had all sorts of fun! Arts and crafts, toys, games, you name it. Here they are making cotton candy.
I think that one of the greatest compliments about our Kristen came after we were home and Corinne, our 6th grader, had to write a paper on what she wanted to be when she grows up. Her choice: A Child Life Specialist. Kristen was wonderful with Spencer!


This is Akol. He was our housekeeper. Twice a day he would come in our room to empty garbages and mop the floor. But that was only his official title. To us he was such a kind and friendly face each day.
Akol was born in Sudan and survived polio as a young boy, leaving him with a limp. But he never complained despite all the walking and bending he had to do all day long. He always asked how Spencer was doing and would share funny stories about things happening with his own children. He was so considerate of us and Spencer. We are so grateful for his friendship.


This post is far from exhaustive regarding the great staff at Primary Children's. There were unit clerks, and dietary staff, and parking garage security, and cafeteria workers, and front desk staff, and volunteers all over the place, as well as radiology, pharmacy, and lab techs to name a few more. We became very well acquainted with all of the echo techs--and still get to see them on a regular basis. We were also very grateful for the LDS branch that held church services every Sunday and served us in whatever way we needed. I know I sound like a broken record, but really--what an amazing place!!!


Shelly said...

Spencer is all boy- those Barbie targets cracked me up! Gosh, Nancy, it's really evident what a wonderful job these folks did and how amazing his recovery is when you compare these pics with the video you posted of him running and riding his bike just a few short months later.

I am awestruck at just how miraculous this is. Thank you, my friend, for once again sharing so much. Someday I hope you can fully understand how much you are helping me to deal with what my sister will be going through when she has her transplant. Thank you!

Stephen Hayes said...

Love the picture of Spencer bowling. With a ball that big, I might be able to avoid rolling so many gutter balls. I love rooting for Spencer and following his progress.

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

It is great news to hear that Spencer is doing well what and what an amazing job those who have been working with him......

Crystal Pistol said...

Those videos are the best! I love hearing your voice and your laugh. Your voice must be so comforting to little Spencer.

Those barbies had it coming! Spencer had to show them who was boss. ;) VERY cute!

That hospital was sure full of angels in scrubs, wasn't it? I'm sure they are each being blessed in myriad ways for their wonderful treatment of your little man.

momto8 said...

you and Spencer really should write a book. so inspirational and hopeful. I am grateful you are grateful . I wish you knew how YOU changed my life...for the better..by your comments. i think you will get heaven points.And
thank you for your thoughts today. i am grateful you are my blogging friend. i appreciate you.
happy Friday!