Friday, June 18, 2010

A Day at the Hospital

Yesterday CAMDEN accompanied Alex, Kathy and me to Levine Children’s Hospital where Alex was scheduled to have surgery. Alex has had many surgeries over the years but this was the first one CAMDEN has gone to, and I will have to say that he did fantastic. He was on his best behavior as soon as we put his vest on at 5:15 am. All of the staff in pre-op were very nice and accepting of CAMDEN’s presence. The anesthesiologist’s assistant asked if she could pet CAMDEN and we said “sure”. She was obviously a dog lover and CAMDEN just ate up all of the attention. We were a little worried about CAMDEN losing focus but he didn’t.  He kept obeying commands and kept his attention focused on Alex and Kathy. After they gave Alex a sedative and it was time for him to go back to the O.R., we had CAMDEN put his paws on Alex’s bed and give him a kiss, which he did without hesitation.
CAMDEN then went with us to the waiting room. That is the only blemish on the entire day. As we walked in the receptionist began to cough and said that she was allergic to dogs. Her reaction was so “over the top” that it was almost comical. Anyway, we agreed to wait in a private room. A different staff member came to the private waiting room and apologized for the receptionist’s behavior and told us that she would let their manager know how we were treated.
Waiting in a room while your son is undergoing surgery is never fun. But, having CAMDEN there helped calm our fears and made time pass relatively quickly. Soon we received the call that Alex was out of surgery and a nurse came to escort us back to post-op recovery. That is where the real fun began.
When we first got to recovery, Alex was just waking up. Kathy held him for a little while, but then he started to squirm quite a bit. The nurse said that Alex was probably in a little pain so we put him on the bed and the nurse gave him a small dose of morphine. That seemed to help, but Alex just did not want to be still.  He hates having cords and wires attached to him. Kathy looked at me and asked, “Do you think CAMDEN needs to get in bed with Alex?” I was not sure how the nursing staff would respond, but figured why not.  The worst they could do is ask us to get him down. So, Kathy gave CAMDEN the command and up into bed he jumped. As soon as CAMDEN lay down next to Alex, Alex calmed down and smiled! The nurse then came around the corner and saw CAMDEN in the bed and said, “That is the sweetest thing I have ever seen.” Soon all of the nurses and doctors and other staff members started “dropping by” Alex’s recovery room to see the cute little boy and his sweet service dog snuggling in bed. Several even asked if they could take a picture with their camera phones. Needles to say, Alex was very well taken care of and our stay in recovery was relatively stress-free.

CAMDEN is an amazing and awesome dog. We are so thankful that he is a part of our family. Yesterday could have been a very stressful difficult day, but CAMDEN made everything quite a bit easier. He not only kept Alex, Kathy and me calm and relaxed, but I feel confident saying that he also brightened the day of many on staff at Levine Children’s Hospital.

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