Friday, April 13, 2012

Introducing our new blog

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending some time with an incredible mother, Linda, who was visiting and caring for her amazingly strong son, Brandon*, who has been a resident at Pediatric Specialty Care since March 1, 2012.

(*Linda has given specific permission to include Brandon's story here, in the hope that it gives other parents strength in dealing with the difficulty of placing a child in a long-term care facility.)

Last summer, Brandon was just like every other active little boy -- enjoying the warm sun, climbing trees, and getting ready to start kindergarten in the fall. 

All of that changed on September 1, when a family car trip to a fast food restaurant turned disastrous; their car plowed head-on into a truck, killing the man Brandon knew as his stepdad and seriously injuring Linda, Linda's aunt, and worst of all, Brandon.

Brandon was unconscious and unresponsive at the scene of the accident. Heroics by EMTs and paramedics from Station 34 in Ridgeway NJ brought Brandon back -- but he will never be the same healthy young boy.

After six months in Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, Linda was able to bring Brandon back to his home state of Pennsylvania, when Brandon was admitted to Pediatric Specialty Care at Point Pleasant.

Linda tackled not only her own health issues following the car accident, but faced head-on the challenges of getting insurance coverage for her child at PSC/Point Pleasant. 

She's learned how to catheterize Brandon, and to suction and change her son's trach. And she is trying to re-group -- to find appropriate and affordable  housing where she can one day reunite with Brandon, and to get back on her feet financially, for the sake of herself, Brandon and his younger sister, Ashley.

Linda met with me yesterday to express her interest in providing parent-to-parent support for families going through the process of placing their child in a long-term care facility.

"You've been great, Ellen ... I've had all my questions answered," Linda told me. "But no one really knows what a parent's going through until they've walked the same miles."
Linda offered to post her name and telephone number over Brandon's bed, so that when parents who are touring have any questions, they can call.  All well and good, I told her -- but I do want to respect her time and privacy.

This blog is a first step toward providing that one-to-one support. I'm going to enlist Linda's help in coming up with ideas and information for this blog. Please allow me to help distill the information here, and research links and resources all parents may find helpful. 

Brandon, enjoying a sunny day in the living room of
Pediatric Specialty Care.

If you have questions we can answer here, please don't hesitate to leave a comment, or to call me (Ellen - PSC Admissions Coordinator - 610-999-6870, M-F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. please, unless it's an emergency, then please do call me anytime). 

If you'd rather talk to Linda, call me for the number. And be prepared to speak with an amazing and resilient mother -- one who is anxious to help others despite her own difficult journey.

Until next time,
Ellen Jarvis - Admissions Coordinator
Pediatric Specialty Care