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Saturday, October 22, 2011

When God Just Doesn’t Seem to Be Enough… Answers to Questions

Question 1: So, Sojourner, you left us hanging here! How much of your hearing did you lose or was the surgery able to restore your hearing completely?

Answer: The surgery was successful and my hearing was restored. Sadly, however, my hearing suffered some loss during my nine years working in the jungle village clinic due to some pretty serious infections. But, during my childhood, after this surgery, I had no excuse for "not hearing" my mother!

Question 2: Did you choose Pediatrics because of this experience?

Answer: That's a good question. Hmmm, perhaps. I cannot say for sure, though, it most certainly did have an effect on how I cared for my young patients while working on the Pediatrics Ward and with the pediatric population having surgery. I never forgot how it felt to be a young child in the hospital so I do think that this was a good thing for my little patients.

For example, everyone always thinks that it is a good thing to turn the child's head away from anything of a stick with a needle… be it a shot or starting an intravenous line. For many children this is true; however, it is not true for all of us! Because of my experience in the hospital, I made it my crusade to work with those children who had "trouble" when getting shots. One day I walked on to the Pediatrics Ward, clad in my white lab coat full of cartoon appliqués just for kids, and was asked to join the small army of nurses walking down the hall to the room of a six-year-old patient who needed an injection. We were all to be the "thugs" who would hold her down while the nurse with the free arms actually injected this little leg! There were six of us! No, I am not kidding. I asked if I could just take a few minutes with the child first so that the army would not be needed and was told that I did not know this child. They all knew her and to give her an injection was just plain impossible if she were not completely restrained. I agreed with the Head Nurse that I had never met the child but, please, could I just have ten minutes to talk with her. Since I was working with the surgeons who would be doing the operation the next day, they allowed me the time.

I quickly retreated to my office and grabbed my special box. Back in the room I explained to the child that I wanted to teach her to give an injection to the doll. I explained that Betsy had to have an operation and the doctor had asked the nurse to give her the shot in preparation for the operation. Would she like to learn how so that she could give Betsy her shot? Well, of course, she did!

I carefully taught the little girl the proper technique for giving an injection, as well as the "why's" of each step. She listened with rapt attention and then took the equipment in her own little hands to do the deed. Carefully she drew up the sterile water into the syringe, selected the site on the thigh, gave a swipe with the alcohol square, checked her angle to be sure it was 90degrees, aimed for a "target" passed the skin and into the muscle, withdrew the plunger, slightly, to be sure that there was no blood return, injected the liquid, withdrew the needle exactly in the same way she had gone in, wiped the injection site and placed the Band-Aid. Done! A huge smile lit up her young face as she looked to me for her evaluation of technique… perfect!

I, then, told her that her own doctor had also instructed her nurse to give her an injection as preparation for her own surgery and could I bring the nurse in to give her the injection now? She said it was fine, "as long as she did it right!" I urged the "army" that had re-assembled to help with the shot to remain in the doorway until needed. I pleaded with the skeptical nurse to try without the restraints first. She was tired and not very "in the mood" for my theatrics but she agreed, at last.

My new little "trainee" carefully observed each and every step of the procedure and one could almost see the gears turning in her mind as she watched! After each step, the little girl encouraged the nurse that she had done it right! Then, at the very end of the injection—Band-Aid placed—the little patient smiled up at the nurse and said, "You did a really good job." They never had another bit of trouble with this six-year-old patient. I returned later with my intravenous equipment so she could learn about starting an IV, too, since she would be getting one the next morning before being taken to surgery! The little wannabe nurse did very well with the rest of her hospitalization and never needed restraining again.

So, my own experience may not have had a part in selecting my specialty but it did, indeed, play a part in how I went about my job!

Question 3: Hey, Sojourner, what's up with that link in last week's Q and A? I could not get the link to work and think you left something off.

Answer: Oh, how right you are! So sorry about that… I am pretty low tech and my colleague who is helping me did not notice either. Here is the correct link to take you to the book I mentioned, Dealing with Our Fears when Letting Go Seems Impossible. By the way, the price is down to $8.29 for the paperback now, so you might want to think about it for Christmas presents, wink! Just 64 shopping days left until Christmas and IF you buy a total of $25 from Amazon, you can have free shipping, too! Okay, okay, here is the link:

Link for paperback: $8.29 October 21

Link for ebook, which varies daily in price from $11-something down to $7.88:

****"The Price of Revenge" coming Monday



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