Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bundled in Love

The PICU is so empty that the nurses and techs continue to be 'floated' here and it sure is nice to see them. There is nothing wrong with the floor nurses, but we spent so much time in the PICU that some of the staff from there feels as close as friends and family. One of the ones that we are the closest to was John's nurse yesterday and it gave me a chance to finally ask one of the questions that kept floating through my mind while John was so desperately sick and yet I couldn't choke the words out then. The question was what happens when one of the children die on the unit? While we were there one did and John came so close that I just had to know the answer to this question. If the child is too large to be carried they are bundled in a blanket and wheeled down to the morgue by the nurse who attended them at their death, if they are small enough to be carried then that nurse bundles them up in a blanket and carries them down in their arms. The nurse I was talking to told me that to her it is the last thing that she can do to care for the child and their family. I know that when Mark is taking care of a family and conducting a funeral he feels very much the same way. Child Life comes in to be with the siblings and to make hand prints of the deceased child for the family. The Chaplains who have spent time getting to know the families come in to sit with them and help them contact people and handle decisions and arrangements. Eventually the techs and cleaning people come to fix the now empty room so that another child can be cared for.

There is so much to mentally process from what has happened to John and to us since the 15th of November, both good stuff and bad stuff. I am so thankful that this processing is occurring with John recovering so well and warm and here and him and touchable and well alive. Long after we get to go outpatient, long after we even get to go home it is my hope that I will continue to remember to pray for these nurses and all the people who take care of others. It is truly a gift to know that these nurses and the rest of the medical staff are here, day in and day out, taking care of little kids who need them, even if the taking care means bundling their bodies into cuddly blankets and carrying them to be cared for so that someone like Mark can then step in and take care of the family who misses their child. No one wants to face death, but it is inevitable, most don't have to face the death of their child, but for those that do and those of us who have come so close so many times and yet are glad to hold ours the nurses and medical staff are a treasure. God bless them and God bless their families who care for and support them so that they can do this work of love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you get a chance, look up the ACPCG (American Child Photographer's Charity Guild). Participating photographers in your area offer free portraiture services to families of children with "life threatening" conditions. I used to offer these services myself and your family qualifies. The website is

I'm glad he's doing so much better. :)