Kids Helping Kids: Christopher’s Toy Drive

 Becky, shares her son Christopher’s inspiring story and why he wanted to give back to fellow patients at Connecticut Children’s this holiday season. 

img_0708We brought Chris to the ER in January 2015 after he was unable to walk. Doctors found a tumor on his spine which began a whirlwind of scans, needles and a hospital stay that, at the time, we didn’t know how long would last.

The one thing that Chris could look forward to and that we could use as a reminder to get through the next procedure, chemo or scan was the prize box and toys he received for being so brave. Kelly and the rest of the staff at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center were instrumental in helping us through one of the toughest times we have faced as a family and one way we felt we could thank them was by giving back.

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Last December, I wanted Chris to give back to the hospital in a way that was meaningful for him and something that was feasible to do year after year. He decided that a toy drive was a good idea because he always looked forward to getting a toy at the end of his visits. He wrote his letter and made a list of family and friends that he would like to ask and send his letter. After the toys were donated, he wrote thank you notes to those who donated to show his appreciation. He did the same thing this year. (Now that he is in first grade, his letter was done much more independently!) He added several people to his list and those that he asked were so excited to help him.

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The best part is seeing the excitement on Chris’ face when he looks at the toys people donated as well as when he was giving the toys to Kelly. We hope to continue this each year and that it gets a little bit bigger to be able to make even more kids smile. We are so proud of Christopher for wanting to continue this tradition and for being able to see the importance of giving back!

Beyond Grateful

By Elisabeth, RN, Addisyn’s mother

Elisabeth joins our blog with a message of thanks for the comprehensive and impressive care her daughter received at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “I can’t say enough good things about this unexpected surgery and admission.”

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My daughter was transferred to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center from the Marlborough Medical Center to rule out appendicitis. She had been vomiting all night, had an elevated white blood cell count, and while they couldn’t see her appendix on the ultrasound at Marlborough, there was fluid and they were concerned. I am a registered nurse, and I work at Marlborough and another Emergency Department. I was apprehensive to go to a hospital that I didn’t work at, because I didn’t know what to expect, and it’s easier to trust people you work with.

I arrived at the Emergency Department of Connecticut Children’s with my tough little stoic daughter looking flushed, with an emesis basin. I knew she felt horrible. Chris Scheinberg, APRN was in the registration area and overheard me say that we were a rule out appointment from another ED. He brought us right back to the triage area, cleaned a room himself, and then triaged us back in the room. I have to say there are not many providers that I have worked with in my nursing career that clean rooms and take vital signs. I immediately knew that we were in good hands. Very soon after arriving her labs were sent to compare with the first set, and she was sent to ultrasound. The first tech was not able to see her appendix, so a second tech came in to try. I really appreciated their persistence in obtaining the best images without unnecessarily radiating her. Finally they were able to visualize her appendix.

A child life specialist was also involved in our visit early on. This very kind, patient woman was great with Addisyn. She had a power point on a tablet to explain what she would experience going into the Operating Room. She oriented her to things that I would not have even thought to tell her. This person really helped Addisyn to feel more comfortable and know what to expect.

The surgical team came down to assess her and prepare us for surgery. I knew what the plan would be for the most part, and they were very good with Addisyn. The original time of the surgery got pushed back because of another patient that needed surgery more urgently, and we were made aware that there was a delay. We appreciated being kept up to date and didn’t mind waiting.

When we arrived in the OR we met the anesthesiologist who was very personable. For some reason this was the part I was most anxious about, but he answered all my specific questions very patiently. The whole OR team took the time to introduce themselves to my daughter, and my husband and I. They gave us the expected wait time and didn’t make us feel rushed as we kissed her and told her how much we love her.

We very anxiously waited in the empty waiting room, trying to count down the hour that she was expected to be in. Dr. Finck came out around 45 min to tell us everything had gone very well. The anesthesiologist also came out to check in and tell us how she did. They made us feel so relieved. Her post-op nurse was phenomenal.

Her care on the floor post-op continued to be comprehensive and impressive. Her nurses were all very sweet to her, thoroughly assessed her, checked in on her pain level, and encouraged her to eat and move. Every question we asked they were able to answer, or find the answer to. The techs also were very friendly, and helpful with Addisyn. I wish I had her nurses names, because I wish I could personally mention them in this letter, but I unfortunately did not write them down. I believe one was Carly.

Everything else about her admission was top notch. And this is coming from an overprotective mother, ER nurse, who knows the system and how good and bad care can be. From the therapy dog, to the craft cart, to the camp that comes to make crafts with the kids. I can’t say enough good things about this unexpected surgery and admission.

Please pass this letter on to the management of the ED, OR staff, post-op nurse, and wonderful nurses on the 7th floor. We are beyond grateful for the high quality care and compassion our daughter received at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.