August 15, 2011

Do what we can

Everything is continuing to whirl at lightening speed around here and I really need to clone myself about five times over to keep up!  I hope to have a post any day now to announce our new business and website.  I also hope to post soon that the I-800A paperwork is filed and that Robert has an offer with a police dept somewhere!  But for today, I wanted to share some thoughts to motivate us to see the needs of others.....

I recently noticed how easily I can fall into the trap of only seeing my own little corner of the world and what my needs are while there are others with much bigger struggles and unmet needs.....

I have actually been contemplating this blog post since last Thursday when I volunteered at the hospital.  I have mentioned before that I help out in the Child Life program that assists children who are hospitalized.  This work encompasses children who are in the pediatric intensive care unit with life threatening diseases or serious accidents, as well as those experiencing treatment for cancer, have brain tumors, are experiencing seizures with an unknown cause, have surgeries to remove their appendix or gall bladders, and even down to having short but acute illnesses that just need IVs for extra fluids.

Working there is probably one of the hardest challenges that I have signed myself up for.  And, I am still not sure that I am up to it on a day to day basis.

But there is a need.....
So, let me reflect on what happened on Thursday.  Keep in mind that I cannot discuss *any* details about any child or any specifics lest I would be breaking confidentiality rules.  So, I will do my best to describe *my* activities without any details about the specific children or their illnesses. 

In general, volunteers are often asked to sit with, hold, entertain, soothe, and play with children who are alone.  We are not privy as to *why* they are alone.  And, I try very hard not to stand in judgement as to why a parent would not or cannot stay with their child when they are hospitalized. 

All I know and see is that they are alone.....and there is a need.

They are often experiencing many feelings..... pain, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, and perhaps most of all, a loss of normalcy.

So, I started off my morning in the PICU with a very very ill child and a lot of anxiety on my part as I tried to do what I could to help comfort and assist the child as well as offering a helping hand to the nurse.....who was doing all that she could do, to care for her patients.  The nurse looked weary and appreciative of my help and kept repeating words of thanks.  There were further complications and activity around this beautiful child who was truly struggling.  At this point there wasn't anything else that I could do and I went back to the playroom with a feeling of angst and concern nagging at the back of my mind. 

The activity of the day was to make collages with the children and most of what I did was to bring the kits to the bedside because most of the children were too ill to come down to the playroom.  It was busy but it felt good to see the children light up at the idea of playing with sequins, fancy papers, and glue.  Something fun....and something normal.....something that other children get to do.

After playroom, I was requested to sit with another child who was young and in a crib and unable to leave the room.  What relief was all over this child's face when I entered into the room!   And, there was an excitement of wanting that crib rail brought down right away!

We watched Barney together and sang and clapped.  It is interesting...the sound that is made when gloved hands are clapping.  The child thought so too, and stopped clapping for a moment and looked down at my  hands.

And then something pivotal happened that was both not that big of a deal and yet very important to me....the child reached over and held two of my fingers....and our eyes locked with mutual appreciation and fondness.  I had that little hand wrapped around my fingers for the rest of my visit.

And then, I had to go....and I *really* couldn't stay longer because I had to pick up my husband at the airport.  But, there was no other volunteer there yet.  And, the nurse was assisting another patient. 

As soon as I started to pull away, the panic started.  Amidst tears and flailing, I had to put back up the side of the crib....and leave.  And my heart sank........

I went and got my belongings out of the locker.  I found that I couldn't resist the urge to walk back up to the room to see if the child had calmed.  Thankfully, the nurse had entered the room and was attending to the medical equipment.  But, the child was still crying......

So, I am writing this blog to appeal to all of you to do what you can...... as there are people, both big and small, all around us that NEED us! 

I'm not suggesting that everyone volunteer at a hospital or that everyone adopt a waiting child.  What I am suggesting, is that all of us are here to be the hands and feet of God.  We can all contribute something and help in some way. 

We had two wonderful talks in church yesterday.  The first talk relates very well to my topic and we were all urged to be in service of our fellow man.  And that, in fact, when we decided to be baptized we agreed to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and to do our Heavenly Father's work. 

I realize too, that some of you that read my blog aren't particularly religious but are also very committed to reaching out to others and paying it forward with kindness and compassion.  I want to applaud everyone's efforts and strongly encourage us all to keep going!

Do what you can today....offer your service to someone.....because there is need.

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