Thursday, March 13, 2008

stickers and sam

Anyone who says you can't buy friendship obviously has little experience with 1 1/2 year olds. Little Sam proved this theory today.

Sam is 1 1/2 years old. He had a facial tumor under his right eye. It looked as if someone was sticking there fist out of his cheek.

I sent Sam to the operating room yesterday morning. Before he left I had to obtain a set of vitals signs. Sam was already cranky because he wasn't allowed to eat (It's always so sad to have to keep a baby from eating! I would be cranky too). I bent down next to his bedside to listen to his lungs and that was it...the screaming started.

In my experiences 1.5 to 3 years of age seem to produce the loudest shrills of stranger/medical personal anxiety. And my scary pale skin does not help my cause. Despite my best attempts to sooth, comfort, and give him a sense of control, Sam made it quite obvious that he did not want to be friend.

When I first came here, I use to take this kind of treatment very personally. It took about two months for me to finally realize that the Liberian toddlers did not have any personal vendetta's against me; they were just plain old scared. Our hospital ship is about as foreign an environment as you could find for a Liberian child. And they don't feel good. And we poke and prod.

The day I got over myself with this discovery was quite freeing.

Sam was my patient again today. I let him sleep through most of the morning (the first thing I learned working on a peds floor is never wake a sleeping baby unless it's an absolute necessity :).
When he arose and I attempted to be his friend over a set of vitals signs he made it quite clear (by finding repose in his mother) that he was still rejecting my offer. But little did he know that I has the manipulative power of Disney stickers.

Before I removed the drain out of his cheek, I grabbed a handful of Disney stickers out a drawer and carried them to his bedside. We sat for about five minutes playing with the stickers before I made any attempts at the drain. And while he still screamed and needed to be held by two people when it was finally time to remove it, afterwards, we were friends.

He started laughing and playing peekaboo, and running around the ward with a red soccer ball in his orange tie-dye gown that was slightly over sized. I was happy. He was to cute. Hopefully our friendship will continue to flourish when I work tomorrow.

If not, I know where the stickers are kept.

1 comment:

tyronebcookin said...

Hey Megan, I know our two worlds don't collide much on the ship and I am a galley hermit/monk...

But its been nice to read you write about your own admission of growth & progression through this time in your life and with Mercy Ships.