Kids are tough!

Kids are tough. They just take whatever life hands out and keep on keepin’ on. When I was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1977 for my second heart surgery, I met not one, but two perfect examples.

UAB had a playroom near my room, and it was the perfect destination. The “Adult” waiting room was right across the hall, so the folks would walk down there whenever the hospital room began to make them crazy. I’d go along too. I was 10/almost 11, and even though I was one of the older kids I could hang out and break up the boredom. Patients get a little bit crazy, too, you see. One of my first times down there I was trying to talk to one of the other kids – who wanted nothing to do with me – when this other little fellow ran up and asked “Mister – “

What’s with this “Mister? I thought.

“Mister, can you fix this for me?” I had no idea but I took a look at the toy he offered. Turned out to be nothing; someone had put the battery in backwards but he was too young to figure that out. Thirty seconds later the toy was running and I was popular! I could fix things, and that was an important skill to have.

A couple of days later I was in the playroom and in walked a Mother we had met. Her child had an unexplained illness and no one had figured out what it was yet. Billy (I can’t remember many names from that trip to UAB, I guess too much time has gone by. So we’re going to call this young man Billy) was feeling better, would we mind if he came down to the playroom?

Certainly! Everyone needs to get away from the hospital bed every now and again, bring him on down! She left, and in a few moments she was back with Billy.

Billy was up and moving around but he was connected to an IV pole. That’s an common sight, but the needle led to a tape covered area of his head. Holy Mackerel, this kid has an IV in his skull, but it didn’t seem to bother him much. The biggest problem was when he was playing and got too far away from the IV. His line would go taut and pull him back, and Billy would have remember to pull the IV pole along with him. If that had been me, I’d have thrown screaming fits whenever someone mentioned the words “IV” and “head” in the same breath. Holy Cow, kids are tough.

Another person I met was Phil (another made-up name, I hate to say). Phil was a six-year-old with a growth on his spine and was scheduled for back surgery about the time I was having my heart surgery. By the time I saw Phil again, the playroom was off-limits (possibility of too many germs) but it was still a destination. That first week of recovery I’d walk from my new room to the playroom, turn around, and head back to my room.

I was just starting back towards my room when Phil came into my view, riding a Big Wheel. He was having fun, tried to pull a wheelie… and went over, landing flat on his back. Right on his incision!

Youch! His mom came running over, yanked him to his feet, and snatched his shirt up. I expected the worst, but his incision looked just as healthy as mine. Not only was he not hurt, but Phil wasn’t paying mom any attention. He was looking to get back on his Big Wheel and try again! Unfortunately (or thankfully!) Phil’s racing career was over, per order of his mother.

Kids are tough… it’s the adults who can’t take it!

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5 Responses to “Kids are tough!”

  1. The Durham Family Says:

    Darn right they’re tough!!

    During his first hospital stay, Ethan ended up with an IV in his head before being transferred to the NICU. He was only 12 days or so old, but that was hard to look at- and I hated it for him. Of course, he didn’t know any different. He was probably happy that one of his arms no longer had one of those pesky boards on them!

    For his 2nd surgery, during pre-op, they had to take blood. I was not ready for this, even though I knew it would happen. Well, he was 4 months old and I was having to hold him down. They didn’t see a good vein in his arms and he was flailing about so much. The next thing I knew, the nurse had a RUBBER BAND and was stretching it around his head! You guessed it. They drew blood from his little noggin! I was crying right along with him. HOLY COW! Kids are tough!

  2. Amanda Says:

    “Kids are tough… it’s the adults who can’t take it! ”

    Amen to that! Children are so resilient. I wish I had the stamina and endurance my son has shown, and more than that I wish I had his grace.

  3. Shannon Says:

    I totally agree! :)

  4. Erin Says:

    I don’t know if it’s that kids are tough or if they are just used to by then! I know when I was a child in the hospital I wanted nothing more than to get out but the fact is when I saw other children in the hospital I was thankful to not be alone. I once played a game with my friend where my IV scrapped the table and went from being inserted in my vein to about ripping off my skin by being pulled straight up!! I screamed in pain but it was harder for my mom to watch them pull the crooked thing out than it was for me to have it taken out, in fact having it out hurt less than having it slammed into the table on accident. I have several stories too Steve but I don’t think it’s the parents who can’t deal either. I think it’s sometimes just an overload of emotions, we don’t know how to take care of ourselves and they do. Like your buddy Phil who most likely didn’t realize how falling on his scar could cause infection or more damage. We all need to realize no one deals with this but the way they know how to deal with it while going through it!!

  5. Paula Says:

    Yep…I agree 100%. We adults can’t take it at all. The kids I have met and my own daughter are much tougher than I will ever be.

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