Honoring the healthcare providers who became our second family

When these workers go above and beyond, they deserve our recognition

Jackie Babiarz avatar

by Jackie Babiarz |

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Our local hospital, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois, offers patients and caregivers the opportunity to nominate a nurse for a Daisy Award. It’s a way to recognize the tremendous and extraordinary care a nurse has provided.

I wish I knew the statistics about the number of people who enter the hospital and how many of them take a few minutes to express their gratitude to the leadership team. Every time our late daughter, Cammy, was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), I filled out at least one comment card because we always had remarkable nurses.

When Cammy was in the PICU for over a month late last year because of Rett syndrome complications, I submitted a lengthier Daisy Award nomination to express our appreciation. It was impossible for us to nominate a single person, though, because we experienced an entire garden of daisies, roses, tulips, orchids, and sunflowers during our long stay in the PICU.

During our first week there, we thought we’d lose our daughter. We were preparing for it, actually. Nurse Craig, from the pediatric ER, was the recipient of our family’s Angel of Hope Award for his care and passion for both his work and our daughter. He was our advocate as we made difficult decisions and signed paperwork about our wishes concerning intubating and resuscitating. His advice about making just one decision that day helped us tremendously through what was the most difficult day of our lives since Cammy’s diagnosis.

While I was devastated as I left that meeting, I felt lighter knowing that we’d have one less decision to make when the time came — whether it was that day or in six months. (Cammy sadly passed away on Dec. 13, at the age of 14.)

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Venturing out into the world as a family of 3

Dr. Bello and nurse Olivia were the perfect professionals to sit in a palliative care meeting with us. They bridged the gap between science and the human heart. While these types of decisions are completely personal, with no right or wrong answers, these two reassured us that we were doing right by our daughter.

Olivia was our small but mighty, jack-of-all-trades powerhouse. She’s able to read the room and communicate effectively and efficiently to all types of people while being a total empath. Her big heart is quite remarkable for such a little body.

Nurse Krista’s background prepared her for this career. I’ve never witnessed a nurse so in tune with the needs of a nonverbal child. We call her Tinker Bell, as she’s always so well put together, sprinkles us with happy-thoughts fairy dust, and takes charge like a boss.

Nurses Sophie and Annie took exceptionally gentle care of Cammy. We love how they set personal daily goals for her care. They’d quietly sneak into our room without disrupting her. They were always positive and upbeat. If they noticed that Cammy was awake, they’d talk to her as if she were speaking back to them. Their passion for caring for others is remarkable.

We appreciate all the nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors, and housekeepers who entered our room and our hearts. Every single staff member who walked through Room 1503 treated our daughter as if she were their own child. We expected top-notch medical care while there, but we never expected to love the staff members as if they were our family. We understand that they’re treating illnesses, but they’re also healing hearts.

Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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