Pediatric Hospice Humor

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Pediatric patients intimidate me. It's amazing how a little person who looks at you with huge, unsuspecting eyes can steal your heart and scare the dickens out of you in the same second. So imagine pediatric patients who are dying. No, don't! It's actually a horrible thought...but it happens. And they have to be cared for just like big people who are dying.

by gsu8696 gsu8696 (New)

Specializes in Hospice. Also home health and oncology.. Has 19 years experience.

Pediatric Hospice Humor

I had been the manager of our hospice inpatient unit for a couple of years. I had a fantastic nursing staff! I absolutely loved everything about that job with the exception of one thing; okay, maybe two, but the primary exception would have to be admitting pediatric patients to our inpatient facility. Unfortunately the little ones needed our services, fortunately, they needed us. And as difficult as it was for us, we delivered; but, however difficult it was for us, there was no way it could compare to the difficulties the parents and the patients were experiencing.

While it was not a common occurrence, the admission of pediatric patients to the inpatient facility did happen. And so it was that we got the chance to meet T. She was four years old, but oh, so wise beyond her years. T's little body was being ravaged by AIDS.

The ugly disease had stolen what we adults would consider everything, including her eyesight from CMV. Funny thing was, someone forgot to tell T how horrible she should be feeling. Her mom had recently died in our program as well. T was being cared for by other family members.

T loved life and everything about it, but one of her favorites was oatmeal. Our cook made it for her every morning. T quickly stole all of our hearts. On this particular morning, our male nurse, Chris was working and was assigned to T's care. As she did every morning, T wanted oatmeal for breakfast. We had all been a little concerned because this particular morning, T just did not seem herself.

Nothing we could put a finger on, she just appeared out of sorts, although she denied pain as well as all other symptoms that morning. As she did every morning, our cook prepared T's oatmeal and Chris took it to her. Because she could not see, T had to be fed. Chris took the oatmeal in and began to feed her.

All of a sudden we heard T scream. It was a scream that brought the entire staff, including me, running from all directions to see what had happened. When we entered her room, T had begun crying (or so it seemed!) and yelled "it's hot! You burned my mouth!"

Chris was devastated.

He began apologizing profusely to T and blowing on the oatmeal to cool it off. Chris kept saying to us "I thought I had it cooled enough."

The look on his face showed nothing but devastation and horror.

Two other staff members had already reached the sides of T's bed and were attentively assuring that she was not badly burned, and I turned to the charge nurse and reminded her to fill out an incident report.

Suddenly, as Chris was still apologizing to her, without provocation T yelled, "April Fool's!!" and she started laughing hysterically.

It took a few seconds for the rest of us to process what was happening before we realized that we had all just been had by a 4-year-old more full of life than any of us could have given her credit for!

I will never forget the look on Chris' face, but even more, I will never forget the lessons I learned that day from that child. I often wonder how long she had been plotting and planning her April Fool's Day ploy and how she was able to execute it to precision!

19 year(s) of experience in Hospice. Also, home health and oncology. I am currently working on my legal nurse consulting cert and have just re-entered school to work on my DNP.

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2 Comment(s)

cleo2uluv

Specializes in Nursing, Midwifery, Public Health. Has 11 years experience.

Your story is so touching and interesting. Kids are amazing creatures and u are not alone as per the intimidation thing, beleive me! I love children and the cutier the better. My neigbours little niece, 2years + has me wrapped round her little finger including ALL the new borns delivered in my health facility. T is full of life and optimistic despite her being so sick. Lets take a cue from her cos i have. Thanks

That was an awesome story!!! If only we had more Ts around.... If only we all could be more like her :)