Saturday, February 4, 2012

A BIG shout out to Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital.

Let me start by apologizing for my lack of posts and updates on my blog for the last month. I have no artwork to show you, so we'll consider this the "yap" portion of my blog, and my excuse for ignoring my blogger duties.

We recently had the need to use the services of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, and I just wanted to let you all know (especially my local Ontario followers) of the absolutely outstanding Doctors, Nurses and staff at the hospital that deserve all the praise and accolades that I can give them.

Let me explain.....

On Jan 2, my 14yr old son was messing around with caps (the kind you would use in a kids cap gun, although no cap gun was used) and ended up setting them off. I should tell you that my son has always been the inquisitive type, always trying to find out how things work, why they do what they do, and how to make them work "better"!!! Think of Myth busters meets Tim the Tool man Taylor!!! Needless to say he got a result that he was not expecting. He ended up blowing apart the middle of his left index finger. I'll spare you the details, but will say, it was not pretty. After a quick ambulance ride to a local hospital, it was determined that if there was any chance of saving the finger, we would need a specialist. Unfortunately, this was winter in Ontario, and although this winter has been especially mild, on this day there was a snow storm going on. So the helicopter that they would normally have used to air lift him to Sick kids was grounded. A ground ambulance was about a 4 hour wait, on top of the 2 hour ride there. Time that we did not have, so like any other parents out there, we elected to drive him ourselves. I have 4 wheel drive and spent many years commuting to Toronto, off we went.

In just under 3 hours (normally the snow belt that lies around the Hwy #89 boundary, continued right down to the top of Toronto on this night) we were at Sick Kids. They were expecting us, and the staff in emerg. were great about getting him settled in and getting the plastic surgeon in to see him. After a quick consult, and a thorough explanation of what they thought they could do and what the worst case scenario would be, he was off to surgery. My husband and I settled in for what we were told could be 5 to 8 hours. Up until this point in raising our children we have been very lucky and not had any serious or life threatening situations that we've had to deal with when it comes to our children. The odd broken bone, but that's about it. So this experience of "waiting" was new to us, and I will say, I would be happy to never have to go through it again. I also have the greatest respect and sympathy for any parent who has had to sit in a waiting room for a child in surgery. Up until this point I had held it together pretty good, you know the mode, when you have to be strong and have things that need to be taken care of. Now all of a sudden, it was out of my hands, and being a little bit of a control freak, this did not sit well with me. There was plenty of quiet reflection and prayer going on in the waiting room, as well as a whole lot of restlessness. Within half an hour a nurse had given us an update that the Brendan had gone under without incident and all was going well. You could certainly tell that the staff at this hospital was completely aware and respectful of what the parents were going through.

About 1 1/2 hours into the operation, the surgeon came out to see us, as soon as I saw him in the door of the waiting room, my heart sank to the bottom of my gut, knowing that this could not be good. My first reaction was that something had gone wrong, it was after all, the first time my son had ever been put under! He was quick to assure us Brendan was doing fine, but that once they really got into the surgery, the shock wave damage, from the blast, had gone farther into the bottom half of his finger and possible the palm of the hand than anticipated, and at this point they were recommending that they amputate the top half of his finger. I'll spare you the whole explanation, but essentially this was the worst case scenario previously explained to us, and left us with a new worst case/best case situation.  For me emotionally this was the breaking point, how were we going to tell our child when he woke up from surgery that they had to amputate half his finger! We made sure going into the surgery that he understood that this was a possibility, but we were very hopeful that the "best case" was going to be the result.

When he woke up in recovery and we were allowed to go in and see him, (as fitting for a 14 yr old who hadn't eaten since breakfast the day before and it was now about 3:30 in the morning) his first concern was when could he have a burger! His hand was partially casted and fully bandaged, so he could not really tell at this point what the outcome was. So we told him what had happened during the surgery, and he took it like a trooper and said he thought that might happen.

He was released later that day, and a week after the surgery we went back for a follow up and to get the cast/bandages removed. I was dreading this day because as I'd mentioned with the casting you really didn't get an idea of what his new reality was going to look like, and his spirits had been so great during his recovery that I was afraid that actually seeing it would send him crashing (well and me too!) Like the trooper that he is, he took it all in stride, and once he started chasing his sister around the house with the "finger" and making jokes about it, I knew all was going to be OK.

It amazes me sometimes the resiliency kids have. I knew this experience was going to show us another piece of his personality. Was he a glass half empty, or a glass half full kinda person. I am so proud to say that he appears to be the glass half full kinda guy! well in this situation anyways, after all he's still a teenage boy who's parents don't have a clue, and are making it their life's mission to ruin his life by having rules. How dare us! We do hope that this doesn't crush his natural curiosity....maybe just temper it a little--OK allot, until his decision making skills are a little more honed, and allot more safer!

Back to my original reason for this post....

I cannot express accurately in words my gratitude for all the staff at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. I had heard from others, who had the need for their services in the past, how truly amazing they are, but have a whole new appreciation for them. Having supported them and other hospital lotteries in the past, I am all the more driven to continue to do so in the future, knowing how very worthwhile they are. And I hope you will never need their services in the future, but if you do, I hope you can find some comfort knowing that you will be in the very best of hands.

As an after thought, let me also say thanks for letting me ramble. I actually have found this post a little therapeutic for myself. I am not quite at the point where I am ready to scrapbook this story, although I do believe that it is one of those life altering moments that I need to capture. When I do get to doing it, I know I can come back to this post and capture some of my emotions from that day. And give your kids an extra hug today, because it's at times like this that when you try for that extra cuddle, you realize how hard it is to fit that 6 foot frame on your lap!

Thanks for visiting.