A busy August continues, professionally and personally

imageWell folks, quite a last week for Children’s and, interestingly enough, for us personally! In Boston, August is supposedly a slow month for many people and business due to vacations. Just the opposite happens here at Children’s. In addition to the usual high volume of kids with emergent, critical health needs, many families decide to have their children’s elective surgical procedures when school is out. The operating room schedule goes through the roof and every ICU bed is filled to capacity. We had heart transplants, multiple organ transplants and every conceivable medical problem that a child could have being taken care of in the hospital. It was amazing.

It was also the week that our very youngest (4-month-old) grandchild had her reconstructive surgery and was here at Children’s for two days. During the nearly six hours in the family waiting room during the surgery and a subsequent visit to the emergency room during the middle of the night, my daughter and son-in-law met many other families just as worried and exhausted as they were. They also expressed what every parent I have ever met has said: “We are so fortunate compared to other families here who have children with problems even more difficult than ours.” It always reminds me of the warmth and caring of our entire staff. Thanks for everything you do for the kids.

Hope that the rest of you have a happy and healthy August.

– Jim

3 thoughts on “A busy August continues, professionally and personally

  1. Dear Dr. Mandell,

    I can certainly relate to how busy August is at your hospital. We were there last year in August. Our 10 year old daughter, Joanne, (whom had no prior medical/health issues) suffered a partial-complex seizure and subsquently diagnosed with a 6 cm left temporal lobe tumor. In addition it was discovered she was having 40 silent seizures a day. Needless to say, it was a complete shock to us. Looking back, it is still somewhat a blur….we couldn’t believe our daughter was having seizures and had a tumor. To make matters worse, she didn’t respond well to the the epilepsy medications (she had extreme behavioral issues). We bounced in and out of Children’s and she finally had surgery on Sept. 17th by Dr. Joseph Madsen. Joanne was diagnosed with a stage 1 angiocentric glioma. Dr. Madsen was able to remove most of the tumor, but because part of it infiltrated into functioning parts of the brain, we opted to take a “wait & see” approach and not risk her losing any function. We are presently being followed by Dana Farber Brain Tumor Clinic (of which I cannot say enough wonderful things!)We are happy to report, Joanne is doing better in school and I think of Dr. Madsen often when I watch her playing at the beach, running with friends, playing lacrosse, laughing, looking forward to school, and doing all the things an 11 year old girl should be doing. Joanne was also under the care Dr. Frank Duffy for the epilepsy. Dr. Duffy did not have an easy time given Joanne’s reaction to the medications and MY reaction to the changes in my daughter. However, Dr. Duffy is the kindest, most patient doctor I have ever encountered. He heard our concerns and worked with us to get Joanne off the medications. Dr. Duffy was there for us during some very scary times and I am forever grateful to him. It is not often you find a doctor who is so committed to his patients and goes above and beyond his office hours for you. I could contact him at any time of the day or night. We are almost to the year point of Joanne’s surgery, and August/Sept., 2008, holds some very traumatic and scary memories. However, the saying “time heals all wounds” rings true. I can truly say that although August/Sept. 2008 is not one of my favorite times, I can look back now and thank God for Children’s Hospital, Dr. Duffy and Dr. Madsen, because if it wasn’t for all three, I’m not sure what our lives would be like today. We continue to be seen by Dr. Duffy and the Brain Tumor Clinic at Dana Farber. It is my hope that Joanne continues to progress as well as she has. And, God forbid, if there is to be more medical treatment, I believe she has the best team of doctors at the best hospital in the world who truly know her and will do their absolute best both medically and personally for her. Thank you to all at Children’s — we have our daughter!

  2. Dear Dr. Mandell,

    Our littlest nephew, Michael Smith, is currently in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. He is greatly loved by a huge community of people who are following updates to his status here: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/MichaelSmithHopePage We know your team is working tirelessly to help my brother, Bill, and his wife, Lisa, with Michael’s care. If you have a chance to visit Michael, Bill, and Lisa, I know it would mean a great deal to them. We are praying for them, the doctors, and in time for Michael to be at home playing with his big brother, Matthew. Thank you for giving them an excellent hospital close to home.

  3. Dear Kelly,

    Thanks for commenting and giving us your personal story. Those are
    always way more important than my usual commentary. I’m grateful for
    the comments about the doctors and nurses, especially around doctors Duffy and Madsen.
    You are right in that “it’s not easy” dealing with the difficult problems that present with the children who come to us. It also requires huge empathy, patience and understanding of the toll that these issues take on the parents and family. You can’t imagine how much these kind words and thoughts mean to them.
    We will continue to try and help and our prayers are with you and
    Joanne.

    —Jim

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