by | Mar 19, 2020

Chaos – complete disorder and confusion; a total lack of organization or order (according to the dictionary)

Over the last 3 weeks we have watched Chaos ensue upon our country.  Science has never been my subject: Chemistry – No, Biology – Big No (I had to sit outside while my class dissected a frog), Physics – No. But…I do remember Newton’s Third Law: simplistically, every action has a reaction.

While the majority of my time over the last 3 weeks has been at the hospital or my office, I realize I have missed out on the extracurricular activity of searching the city for toilet paper and Clorox wipes, but what I have observed is that fear is contagious.

Several of my friends, whom I consider to be more logically driven than emotionally driven when it comes to decision making, have shared stories with me about their trips to the grocery store.  These trips were “normal” grocery store runs – but while walking around getting their list of items, they couldn’t help but notice the carts of other shoppers overflowed to the brim, so what did they do? Jump on the bandwagon with the trip ending with the purchase of toilet paper (if available), paper towels, non perishable food items (which they haven’t consumed in ages – I am sure Kraft is happy), and a freezer full of meat. And just like that a rational trip to the grocery store resulted in an irrational grocery bill.  every action has a reaction.

As a parent with a baby in Cardiac ICU at Vanderbilt Children’s, I waited for well over a week for Vanderbilt to address their policies and procedures in regards to the COVID-19. And you know what, when they did my response was simple, “I was wondering when this would happen.”  In the last 7 days, I have watched Vanderbilt change their policy 4 times, an average of 1 time every 1 3/4 days (math was always my subject).

My experience with the doctors, nurses, and other staff at Vanderbilt up to this point has been fabulous and I know without a doubt that my son is receiving the best care – I commend them…I owe them.

My experience with the leadership and administration of the hospital itself, has been disappointing, disheartening and left me with little confidence.

I am not opposed to policy, procedure, or protection for your patients, I understand them; however, when these policies seem to be reactionary and ever evolving it creates chaos, misinformation, and a breakdown in communication. You put your staff in a difficult position. My hope is the consequence of this does not impact the care for my son.

Today a new policy went into effect – only 1 parent/guardian or caregiver at the hospital at a time. Okay we will adjust, yet again.  I have been waiting for a week for my temperature to be taken upon entering the hospital – finally today it was – this seems reasonable to me, this seems proactive (frankly a simple procedure Vanderbilt should have been doing since at least last week). I asked one of our Nurse Practitioners this morning if she had her temperature taken when she entered the hospital and her response was simply, No. I wondered why? Wouldn’t EVERY SINGLE person coming in this hospital go through the same protocol, employee or not?

This doesn’t make sense to me — as a hospital aren’t you trying to protect your staff, your patients, your visitors. We are trying to stop the spread of the virus – in order to do so, we should all be taking our temperature and going through the check point. Checks & Balances.

Tomorrowanother new policy: only 1 care giver exclusively to visit Townes for the duration of his stay or until they change their policy. Scott and I will have to choose who goes to the hospital as the caregiver for our son. An impossible choice because it means the other person doesn’t get to see Townes, our son. But even more so, what doesn’t make sense is that we live together, so if one of us gets the virus it’s likely it will get passed. What is the epidemiological basis for making this decision (i.e. basically is there any scientific evidence to support this decision)?

What about the family we know in the NICU whose daughter has been there for months in the wonderful care of all those nurses and doctors and as a family they decided months ago that her father would leave his job to be there with her full-time while her mother, a doctor at Vanderbilt will return to work and visit on her pumping breaks and after work. And now she can’t see her daughter? She already has clearance to be at the hospital…I know these are unique situations, but it pokes holes in your reactive policy.

Has anyone in your administration spoken with the nurses or the parents? Have you taken the time to understand the parents needs on the different floors in the Children’s Hospital and the needs of their child? My guess…No, you haven’t spoken to anyone.

Screen us. Each parent/caregiver/guardian, individually. If we pass, why can’t we see our child? Scott and I would all go through our own COVID-19 test if it was recommended by Vanderbilt. I would pay out of pocket for my husband and I to each take a test, if that was an option. I would wear a bracelet or a band to show I had been tested and it was negative.  Has it been offered, No. Is it an option, not that I have been told. 

Has Vanderbilt’s Administration even considered the statistics that prove love and more specifically a parent’s love for their child dramatically improves their health? Studies show it makes a difference. every action has a reaction. 

What about the emotional burden any parent with a child at the hospital carries, and now Vanderbilt’s administration wants you to chose what parent will carry that burden alone. Have you considered any of your parents/guardians mental health in your decision making? every action has a reaction.

I am thankful that my husband or I would have the support of each other at home, 10 minutes away from the hospital. What about my neighbors down the hall on the 10th floor who are from out of town and I see both parents in their child’s room – loving their child, supporting their child and each other. You are forcing one of them to go home and leaving the other parent here to fight the ups and downs of being in a hospital and the care of their child, ALONEevery action has a reaction.

I understand policy. I understand procedure. Protection is important –

My mother was suppose to come into town, and support us this week even if that meant just doing chores at our house. She was going to come on Tuesday, but Tuesday morning she found out that someone she plays pickle ball with works with 2 people who tested positive, so he went to be tested. So she delayed her trip, and guess what he still didn’t have those results yesterday. Scott and I’s response was until that test comes back negative, you can’t come, it’s not wise and it’s a risk. every action has a reaction.

As a daughter who is facing one of the hardest things I have ever been through…not just becoming a mom for the first time, but being a mother of a son who needs a new heart to LIVE, where I have spent 42 days in the hospital with no end in sight.  There are days when I just want the presence of my own mom, the comfort, the security, the love, even if no words are spoken. But we said no you can’t come until we have a negative, why – not just for my son, but for all the babies, children and staff at Vanderbilt. But now, either I or my husband won’t be able to see our son.

You have put us in a terrible position. The 1 person at a time policy, we can adapt. But making us make this choice, only 1 care giver exclusively to visit Townes for the duration of his stay or until they change their policy – impossible, it’s a lose, lose. every action has a reaction.

What if we get a call that our son has a match, the best call we could receive – will you let us both see our son before surgery or after…remember there are always risks? These are questions, I have asked, and there isn’t an answer. Aren’t these questions, that deserved to be answered?

And so I ask you as the Administration, if this was your child, would you want an answer to these questions? I ask you that if you had a child at Children’s Hospital, would you want to be told that only you or your spouse could see your child? 

The administration’s lack of thoughtfulness, foresight and from my perspective continuous reaction to FEAR has created a breakdown, a lack of communication, disorder, whiplash. It has created CHOAS. every action has a reaction.

So now, what do we do? Our only option is to Trust in the Lord and first, Pray. I will continue to pray Psalm 91 over Townes, my family and our nation as we continue to fight a very real and serious enemy. We remain steadfast in the truth found in John 1:5 “That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” 

Together let’s also pray Psalm 20: A Song of Trust (TPT)
In your day of danger may the Lord answer and deliver you.
May the name of the God of Jacob[b] set you safely on high!
May supernatural help be sent from his sanctuary.
May he support you from Zion’s fortress!
May he remember every gift you have given him
and celebrate every sacrifice of love you have shown him.
May God give you every desire of your heart
and carry out your every plan as you go to battle.
When you succeed, we will celebrate and shout for joy.
Flags will fly when victory is yours!
Yes, God will answer your prayers and we will praise him!
I know God gives me all that I ask for
and brings victory to his anointed king.
My deliverance cry will be heard in his holy heaven.
By his mighty hand miracles will manifest
through his saving strength.
Some find their strength in their weapons and wisdom,
but my miracle deliverance can never be won by men.
Our boast is in the Lord our God,
who makes us strong and gives us victory!
Our enemies will not prevail; they will only collapse and
perish in defeat while we will rise up, full of courage.
Give victory to our king, O God!
The day we call on you, give us your answer!

So thankful for these professional pictures we had done a few weeks ago before the most recent developments! And thank you for praying for us, supporting us and loving us.

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