Social media has connected me with some amazing child life specialists across the globe. I am so happy to introduce a good friend and colleague of mine, Sarah Morrison. She is a CCLS, parent of three and has recently launched a private practice, Giggling Goat, in the community of Loveland, Colorado.
In 2001, my husband Ben (former high-school sweetheart) was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, over a period of 10 months he underwent an experimental trial of high-dose chemo and high-dose radiation, both simultaneously performed at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“Throughout this time of many, many, many tests, hospital admissions, and complications, I developed supportive relationships with the Child Life Specialists at Children’s. These unbelievably amazing people helped me turn my anger and grief into advocacy for myself, my husband, and our son who was a toddler at the time.
The child life specialists were available to help prepare us for any new medical equipment, understand the tests and diagnosis’s in words we could understand and most of all help normalize the hospital environment as much as possible. These invaluable resources increased our ability to process and cope with the changes, find sense in what felt like setbacks, and eventually help us build a legacy of remembrance for the grief we would face at the end of Ben’s journey.
Being the primary caregiver of a patient in a Pediatric Oncology Unit a gave me invaluable experience to understand the patient and family perspective. I know what it’s like to try and fall asleep through the beeps of empty infusion pumps, make a chair into a cot, try and soothe my tired baby back to sleep every 3 hours after someone came to take the vitals, write out my questions for the nurse and eagerly wait on the doctor’s rounds.
Throughout these several hospitalizations and emergency room encounters, I was given ways to effectively support and familiarize my young child to the routines and rituals of the hospital; including specific ways to prepare my children for future healthcare experiences and medical equipment.
When it became evident treatment was no longer going to help, I was supported in allowing my child to acknowledge death and the dying process in a way a child can understand. Upon Ben’s death, I calculated we had spent more time in a hospital or clinic than I had at home in the three years prior. Whoa! That is a lot of time spent with numerous healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, ED techs, and volunteers.
It was at this time I found myself inadvertently immersed in a field I was passionate and emphatic about. I truly knew the value of the time each person spends with you. I understood that although what was happening to me seemed very unfair, I was given a lesson and a path to a future in Child Life.
My personal mission for Giggling Goat, is to pay it forward through offering services which utilize the family- centered care model to enhance collaboration between healthcare providers and families.
Check out Sarah’s website and blog at www.GigglingGoat4Kids.com
In celebration of Child Life Month, Sarah will be giving away one free Jamberry nail wrap to support Autism Awareness.
Choose one of more ways to enter:
1. Like and leave a comment below.
2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and leave a comment on post
3. Facebook: Follow Giggling Goat and leave a comment about the #ChildLifeGiveaway
5. Instagram: Repost the pic and tag @ChildLifeMommy