Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things

The emergency department nurse let me know that the helicopter was bringing in our third "code trauma" head bonk in as many hours.  Hot weather brings that on.

Each is trauma is unique, but this one really tugged on my heart.  The patient, a pre-kindergartener, fell off a ledge backwards and landed head-first on the cement slab.  She was out, cold, for ~15 minutes.  When mom and dad called 911, they were advised to take her to meet the EMS Helicopter at the rural Fire Department parking lot.  So they did, and then drove like a bat out of hell to get to the hospital when she did.  

When Miss Tyke arrived, she was strapped onto the yellow Helicopter backboard stretcher.  The paramedics unstrapped her.  The nurse called her by name and softly began explaining what they were going to do.  A little poke here.  An IV drip there. A blood pressure cuff on this arm.  A wrist band on that arm.

All the while, she lay there.  Her eyes were as wide as saucers as she took this all in.  "Okay.  Thank you."

She was dazed by all the activity but not distressed.  She simply lay there, observing, watching.  And I observed her.  When we locked eyes, I introduced myself and said something like "Don't worry, they will take very good care of you."  As if she was worrying.  She's too young to know what worry is, I thought. 

When my pager beckoned me to the next visit, I made my exit and came back later.  Mom and Dad were there, holding her hand.  She was droopy-eyed and dozing.  Still red-cheeked from a full afternoon, but clearly doing okay. As the nurse came in to discharge her, she had to wake her up to remove her IV.

All the while, she lay there.  Her eyes were as wide as saucers. Again, "Okay.  Thank you." 

If I had not seen it, I would not have believed it.  This little gal was so innocently grateful for the nurse's kind care of her.  Regardless of mom and dad being present, she simply thanked the nurse.  And the nurse blushed, saying, "You are so welcome.  You are very kind and no one ever says thank you to me when I pull that IV out.  I am sorry it has to sting.  You are all better now.  You can go home." 

"Okay.  Thank you."

This is a lesson in presence and gratitude.  She did nothing but "be."  She simply thanked everyone in the kindest little girl voice possible.  Authentic, sincere, kind. 

For what are you grateful, even when it stings, in this moment?

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. NRSV Mark 10:13-16

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