I am the paternal grandmother, as well as the adoptive parent, of a boy who was hospitalized in the Stead Children's Hospital earlier this year. At the time, he was 19 months old. He was operated on for six-and-a-half hours to create stomach muscles as he has Prune Belly Syndrome, a rare syndrome that causes lack of stomach muscles, kidney disease, and a number of other issues involving the urinary tract.
Brooke went above and beyond her duties as a nurse to ensure that my little boy was not only taken care of but comforted as he went through a traumatic experience for a toddler.
Not only would Brooke make sure that during her rounds she coddled and comforted him, but came in after her shift to hold and rock him. Babies and toddlers have a sixth sense about who to trust, and he was emotionally attached to Brooke within a few minutes after meeting her. As a grandmother who was anxious about a radical operation, I was anxious and when I saw him with his head down on Brooke's shoulder, and saw his muscles and facial expression relax, I knew that whenever Brooke was on duty I could rest assured that he would be more than well taken care of; he would have the best of what a nurse has to offer.
The compassion and care that Brooke gave my grandson made a difference in his recovery. The doctors had to do the prodding and poking, but when Brooke was on duty, she made sure to comfort and reassure him in her quiet, calm demeanor that everything was going to be okay after the prodding and poking.
Not until I left the hospital and looked Brooke up on Facebook did I realize that Brooke has a daughter with her own unique challenges, who is one month younger than my grandson. And yet, Brooke never mentioned what she was going through; her only focus on my grandson and what he was going through.
On the seventh day after the operation, I asked if it would be alright to take him outside, as it was a warm, beautiful day. Within minutes, Brooke had a stroller ready in his room, my grandson dressed in his U of I outfit, and we were off!
When I discovered that my only credit card (that I was using for meals) was missing, Brooke quickly went through the trash and found it! I would have never thought to look in the trash!
When we were discharged, Brooke helped pack belongings and escorted us to our car. She held him for a long time, patting his back. When he was put into his car seat, he looked up at Brooke with his large, brown eyes as if to say, "This is not goodbye." Brooke had tears in her eyes when I hugged and thanked her for her exceptional, compassionate care.
The pictures I took of Brooke and my grandson are now in his baby book so that he can be told about the operation, as he will be too young to remember. I have also added Brooke's name into his book, adding, that I hope one day he will find her again, and she can tell him about the eight days she spent with him at the U of I Stead Family Children's Hospital.
All my best to a wonderful Children's Hospital that I will always remember.