Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Teddy Bear Clinic

A few years ago, the girls participated in a Teddy Bear Clinic sponsored by JDRF in Toledo, Ohio. If you haven't been to one, it is worth a special place on the family calendar.

For little children (and even big kids like me!), special Patient/Caregiver stations are set up by local area non-profits, medical staff and volunteers in an effort to demystify the patient care that goes on within doctors' offices, clinics, even hospitals.

During our visit, each daughter brought along their special Rufus teddy as a 'patient' to the local children's hospital.  As the teddy bears visited their medical staff within the specially designed stations, we watched as our daughters became more confident in what the bears 'needed'.  I remember my youngest, one who still is very quiet in new stations, boldly approaching an immunization station to request that her bear receive all of his injections.  As she held his stuffed paw, she carefully reassured him that he would be ok and it would only hurt for a moment.  A second more and a bandaid to keep him feeling better, and she was ready to move along - but now with a BIG smile.

Even though the room was filled with more adults than children, the confidence in care that radiated from the kids was palpable.  We had a blood draw scheduled for just a few days later, and while the tears didn't completely disappear, there was certainly less of them.  In our world, less tears is a major feat, especially when dealing with the anxiety and stress chronic diseases can bring.

Tomorrow, August 18th, as we go full circle, our two daughters will actually be running their own station at the Teddy Bear Clinic.  If you happen to be near Ann Arbor, Michigan and would like to visit the Hands-On Museum, look for the Naturally Sweet Sisters and their special Rufus bears.

Click HERE for more information on the Hands-On Museum Teddy Bear Clinic.

They promise to make sure your little ones' stuffed animals receive a clean bill of health and hope to give back a little bit of that same 'patient confidence' magic that they too, once received.

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Diabetes Gave Her

I've shared with you before of how our oldest daughter has a desire to persue a career as a doctor.  The discussion of becoming a doctor first came shortly after her little sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).  Oldest daughter often focused on ways she could 'help' her sister through the multitude of pokes, prods and owies.  In the way that we have come to know only as her gentle gift of kindness, she did just that; Oldest daughter helped by learning the art of comforting and later, learning by asking pointed questions to know how to give injections and check blood sugars.  Over the years and throughout her own personal journey into the same land of T1D, Oldest daughter's desire of learning more within medicine never waned; only growing even stronger as her sister flourished.  Years later, she still has this deep seated conviction that she was needed to help.

A few weeks ago, while on the golf course, a smattering of stinging bees found a few of her teammates and even her own exposed arms.  That night I found her packing a first aid kit and explaining that she needed to be prepared for her friends as they counted on her.  While I preach kindness matters, I wouldn't have thought to tell her to do this.  I know it is something deep within that she feels.  

This summer, an amazing opportunity presented itself.  Our oldest was provided with a chance to attend the second annual ICAN Summit held in Barcelona, Spain.  I wrote a bit about how that went HERE.

The experience provided an insight into pediatric medicine around the world.  Oldest daughter had an up close and personal experience with children living with a variety of medical conditions as well as meeting and hearing from policy makers, patient advocates, nutritional experts and healthcare providers on the needs of pediatric patients.

Still, it is hard to explain what she was able to learn, see and take-away from the experience and how her desire to help others has started to come true.

The biggest question she often receives is "What does ICAN really mean?".

To answer in a way that only the power of viewing can have, today, a video was released that compiled the wonderful magic of the week to showcase how the power of children working together in a group like ICAN can indeed create improvement in the lives of others.

This is her world.

This is her way of helping.

And through this experience (and hopefully more to come), her way of helping to fulfill the need to make a difference.

Diabetes may have taken a few things from her life, but I am sure that it also gave her many more wonderful traits.

Now it's up to her to use them.