Child Life: Undeniable Trust
August 3, 2018
Topics: Child Life
Why do we go all the way to Riley? This seems to be the residing question as we have made the deliberate decision that whenever we need a hospital, Riley is where we will take our four children. We lived in a very remote area of Washington for many years and we felt the effects of limited medical care. When we moved to the south side of Indianapolis, it became clear Riley Hospital would be our first choice. Let me tell you many more reasons we drive “all the way” to Riley when other adequate hospitals are minutes away.
My son Sammy had been sick for over a week. I thought he had a virus. Then, I thought he was maybe having a reaction to his new anxiety medication. We had recently decided to put him on medication as panic attacks had become an overwhelming part of his everyday life for the previous five months. So when complaints of stomach pain and nausea came, I was not alarmed. As the sickness remained and his appetite diminished, I began to question what might be happening. One day, I received a call from his teacher. Sammy had been wearing a hoodie and his big winter coat all day in class and was shivering uncontrollably. Riley Hospital was our next stop!
Panic ensues when this boy even thinks about the hospital, and it completely took over when the news came that he had to remain hospitalized due to a ruptured appendix. However, the Riley staff quickly noticed Sammy’s anxiety. As they discovered the degree of his anxiety, all hands were on deck. Doctors, nurses, and Child Life Specialists were remarkable and took extra measures to reduce Sammy’s anxiety, making him feel comfortable during the remainder of our stay.
Child Life managed to bring great relief to Sammy every step of the way. From Legos to videos before procedures, from companions at scary times to full explanations of everything that was happening, this boy was treated as if he were the only one in the hospital. I found myself encouraged each time a red shirt entered the room. There were no more panic attacks.
Sammy ended up having to return for two more stays. It was easy to see that although he did not want to be there, he knew he would be taken care of. It was undeniable that the Riley staff had to build trust with Sammy and they did! That is why we go “all the way” to Riley!
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