Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Esther @ home

I only slept for four hours today. I had just worked four nights in a row. I averaged 13 patients a night and even had a little drama in the early morning hours today. I was plenty plenty busy. And plenty plenty tired

But I had big plans today that were more important than sleeping.

Esther has been on our ward since late July. She is 14 and had a burn contracture release. She has had to stay in the hospital for dressing changes and to avoid infection.

Last week Esther was very sad. Sometimes, like any teenager, she has mood swings but usually she will laugh and smile with small small prodding. But last weeks all of my best efforts produced nothing in the way of smiling. Esther was tired of being in the hospital. She was sad that the friends she made here kept getting discharged while she had to stay. I really cannot blame her. If I spent six weeks on a ward with non windows, I would be sad too.

At home, sometimes our stable, chronic patients will receive passes to go home for a weekend. Kids are not small adults. They are not equipped with the same coping mechanisms that adults possess. Spending some time at home is very therapeutic.

I asked our ward supervisor if it would b e possible to take Esther home for a few hours. She said that was fine. I talked to my friends Melenie and Crystal, who are friends with Esther, as well as Kim Anna, Esther's adopt a patient, and the arrangement was made to take Esther home.

No one told Esther we were going, in fear that something might not work out at the last moment. It was a total surprise. Kind of like waking kids up and whisking them to Disney world, but on a much smaller scale.

Kim Anna's mom graciously drove us to Esther's sister's house and we spent the afternoon there. As soon as we arrived, Mary, Esther's sister, retrieved two plastic chairs to accompany the large wooden bench that sat in the front of the tin porch. It was a gesture of hospitality. We were to make ourselves comfortable.

Mary has 20 years. She is married and has two babies, Princess, age 3, and Ellis, age 1. Several other family members lived in the surrounding small, tin-roofed rooms. The women gave us "African Lady" lessons. We practiced carrying babies on our backs, water on our heads, and I received platts in my hair.

It was a great afternoon. Esther, who is normally crazy and loud, was a little shy and quiet. I think she was really happy and possibly slightly embarrassed, in a good way, by the attention.
I hope her week was brightened.

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