During our inpatient stay, we learned just how important it is to have good healthcare workers.
While Izzy was hospitalized at Akron Children’s, we worked with countless individuals – doctors, nurses, residents, interns, specialists, techs, phlebotomists, support staff, etc. Because we were there for 18 days, we saw a lot of employees come and go. It seemed that most shifts would last anywhere between 12 hours & 4 days depending on the job. Nurses typically worked 2 or 3 days on, 2 or 3 days off, and faces became familiar, but their assignments always varied. Specialists had unusual schedules depending on their focus so while we might have worked with someone for a week or more’s time, their clinical rotation would end and we would most likely never see them again.
Even with the crazy schedules, though, the critical aspect of it all was building trust and rapport as often as we could. This tidbit I would say is true for all scenarios of life, especially when it *is* your life or the life of someone you love in another’s hands.
Throughout our 18 days, there were 5 people who made a lasting impression and we couldn’t be more thankful for them. Four nurses, who we requested each time they were on shift, and one hospitalist who showed up for us even when he was off.
These individuals made us feel like we could rely on them, we could lean on them, we could trust them with our newborn daughter. They each showed professionalism, understanding, intelligence, empathy, relatability, and true compassion – personalized for Izzy – they had a love for her and it showed through their words & their care.
Our hospitalist doctor would sit and talk to us like real human beings. He chatted with us about family and life outside of the hospital walls. He was real, he was kind, he was encouraging, and he helped to make the unimaginable situation we were in feel manageable.
As for our requested nurses, we ended up creating a list of those we preferred on day shift and night shift and thankfully, the charge nurse respected our wishes and made it possible. Izzy was known as the exception on the neurology floor because typically kiddos don’t stay very long, so as we became what seemed like permanent residents, we truly appreciated being able to form bonds with the nursing staff we felt the most comfortable with.
Due to Izzy’s severity, our rooms were always situated right in front of the nurse’s stations. As days and nights came and went, Sterling and I grew to know and recognize everyone, as they did with us, too, and Miss Izzy became the famous little face all around, though as much as we appreciated these people, we wish we never had to meet. And as much as they loved our little girl, they too wished her the very best and would’ve rather gone on with their lives never meeting her… at least not under these circumstances.
But then the day finally came, we got word we were being discharged about 24 hours in advance, and each of these five incredible humans did something in their own way to say goodbye to us and to Izzy.
Our hospitalist, Dr. Wyatt, who wasn’t even on shift at the time, made a trip in when he got word that Izzy was able to go home. He came to our room & sat and talked for a while, as he usually did. There were laughs, tears, warmth, and gratitude.
Our go-to night shift nurse, Tim, and one of our day nurses, Molly, who I personally grew closest to, both knew that they probably wouldn’t be back on shift until after Izzy was discharged, so on their final rounds with us, they each made a point to come back in, check on us, & see Izzy one final time before they headed home.
One of our other day nurses, T, who was on shift but had a different assignment, heard that we were leaving, so she went out of her way to stop by our room, say goodbye to her “friend”, as she always called Izzy, and even made a pharmacy run for us while in the middle of her own rotation on a different part of the floor.
And our fourth day nurse, Julie, was actually the one who got to discharge us. She did everything she could to help us, and she made sure no one was stopping us on our way out!
Each one of them had a special place in their heart for our girl and it was evident in their goodbyes and well wishes.
Dr. Wyatt was, and still is, one of the best humans we have ever known. Not just in this hospital stay, but in life.
Tim was awesome. He was funny and easy to talk to, which was so nice during those long night, sleepless hours. He was our nurse the night of Izzy’s aspiration. He felt that with us.
Molly was my girl. Close in age, we related on so much whether it was food, a TV show, or our opinions in general. She was the sweetest person, took such good care of Izzy, and always helped put my mind at ease with our casual conversations. Whether she knew it or not, she helped me every day.
Julie was our momma bear. She was experienced and she always, always had our backs. Julie was raw and honest, no bullshit, and we couldn’t have loved that more. She answered our questions, she asked her own, she was organized and on top of it all. She was the only nurse we had who kept everything written on our room’s white board so that we knew the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, and why’s. She was our biggest advocate.
T was gold. She was a breath of fresh air, full of knowledge & confidence. She knew what she was doing. She almost had a magical aura about her. Her beauty and her brilliance shone through. When T was on shift with us, I knew Izzy was in the hands of someone who was truly doing God’s work and making Him proud while doing it.
These five people. Man. I could cry writing this post. Sterling and I trusted them. We felt heard. We felt friendship and “normalcy”. They not only made a difference in our hospital stay, they made a difference in our world. They were lights in our darkness and they made us feel safe in a situation that will always feel scary.
Although I did write each of them a thank you card, which to this day, I’m still hoping they received, I could never *actually* put into words just how much I appreciate them. If the universe aligns, maybe one day they’ll see this. 💛