December 15, 2009
Well, Jake’s school stint lasted two days. He has a cold and I had to keep him home today. He missed his Christmas party, bless his heart. And, I was supposed to take Tanner to see Princess and the Frog while he was at school, so that was also a no go. We’re hoping Tanner doesn’t catch the cold and end up spending Christmas at the hospital.
BUT, the day was saved by a special visitor… Tanner’s favorite ER nurse, Blaire, came to play. Seriously, how amazing is that? Blaire was Tanner’s nurse back in March when Tanner was lifeflighted to Vanderbilt for a Bactrim reaction. All that long night, while John and I sat in chairs and hung on to hope that Tanner would make it through the night, and that someone would figure out what was wrong with her and be able to fix it, Blair was there. She was quiet and competent and sweet to my child and to John and I.
The next time we were in the Vanderbilt ER was on May 30; the pediatrician had sent us in after having spent most of the night at Williamson Medical Center’s ER with excruciating back pain. We were sent home having been told that Tanner was constipated. The next morning, after not sleeping for most of the night due to the pain, Tanner developed a fever and we went to the pediatrician’s office. They sent us to Vanderbilt where she had numerous tests and were told that she most likely had leukemia. Again, Blaire was there, this time with Megan (who Tanner also loves). I think going through that kind of trauma bonds you in a strange, but powerful, way. Blaire and Megan came to visit Tanner while she was in the hospital that first week, even bringing gifts for her. They said they rarely get to see what happens to their patients after they leave the ER. We thought they were amazing.
A month ago, Tanner needed a blood transfusion and John took her to the ER. Guess who was there?!!! Blaire! I think it’s unusual to keep getting the same nurse like that when there are so many shifts and the Vanderbilt Children’s ER is so big.
Blaire contacted me through the blog the other day. She said she had the week off and would love to come play with Tanner. Of course, we said yes. Today, she and Tanner danced, dressed up Build-a-Bears, played restaurant and doctor, and even played wii. Tanner loved it. She needed it. I don’t have the stamina to play with that kind of intensity anymore… I’m burnt out on pretending.
I think it is amazing for a nurse that sees sick kids all day at work to choose to spend her time off with a sick kid. But, honestly, that’s been our experience at Vanderbilt. John and I say constantly how awesome it is that the people that work there are unfailingly compassionate. For example, when Tanner has a CT scan, you can only imagine that she is the 20th kid the tech has scanned that day, but you would never know it. They are kind to her, and kind to us. They genuinely care.
We are so fortunate to have a hospital like Vanderbilt so close by. I keep up with the CaringBridge site of a little girl named Kinsee that has T-cell ALL and just had a bone marrow transplant. She lives in a small town in West Tennessee and travels to St. Jude for treatment. When she is in intensive phases of treatment or her counts are low, she and her mom have to live at the Ronald McDonald House or the Target House. I can’t imagine how disruptive this is during what is already an unbelievably stressful ordeal.
Today, Blair reminded us of just how lucky we are. Not only do we live 20 minutes from Vanderbilt, they make house calls! I meant to take a picture of Tanner and Blaire for the post, but forgot. Tanner says Blaire took some with her phone. Maybe she’ll send them to me (hint, hint) and I’ll post them if she doesn’t mind.