Saturday, April 9, 2011

Someone you should meet: Colleen Christl, RN

This is Colleen, Maggie's primary nurse. Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters assigns each leukemia patient a specific nurse who gives direct care, provides some case management and serves as main contact person for the family. She does a thousand different things for Maggie, answers many of our questions and really makes us feel like we are her only treatment family. The assignment board behind the nursing station tells a clearly different tale.

When Maggie was once distracted by Colleen's cool slap watch, Colleen gave it to her to play with for a while. (Nurses need their watches... watches and black clicky pens.) The next time we came in, she was wearing a pink version of the watch, because pink is Maggie's favorite color.

Colleen takes Maggie's tears and fear in stride, always supportive and patient. All day long she carefully administers dangerous medications to sick, scared kids. She assists with painful, frightening procedures. She does this with kindness, patience and accuracy despite dozens of different protocols, personalities and daily variables. This is serious, technical nursing. Some of these kids will get sicker, despite Colleen and her colleagues' best efforts. Even so, Colleen exercises a confident optimism that helps make a constellation of terrible experiences tolerable.

Today's prayer I leave to you. May I suggest you include Colleen and her upcoming marriage? If you like, cast a wider net and pray for all Oncology Nurses. I know a few. Salt of the earth.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life Goes On

Despite the extra chemo, despite the steroid blues, life goes on. Witness this treasure of a moment to which any kid or parent can relate:

Maggie lost her first tooth. Do you remember how scary and awesome this was for you?

Our little prayer today: Your presence in our lives helps us to appreciate the scary, awesome day to day. Count us among your grateful ones.