An Ode to Bryer's PT December 19 2014, 3 Comments
Kim Scott - Bryer's PT.
There are so many wonderful PT's in the NICU, but I want to tell you about Bryer's.
My first impression of Kim Scott... I remember telling my mom and Justin, "I really really like Bryer's Physical Therapist. There's something about her. She is just very sweet and so kind!" Kim is about 5'6 with dark brown, between-her-shoulder-and-chin hair. She's is a natural, no need for make-up kind of gal. Behind her dark framed glasses sits her deep greenish eyes. I can remember when she did an overall assessment on him at about 5 weeks. He was very behind, even then. I watched her work with him. Gentle, but purposeful. I can still hear her soothing voice. "Oh, oh don't worry, don't worry. That's a good boy. Oh good boy." I can't pinpoint in words why I knew, but I could see that she deeply cared. We would chat about our kids while she worked with him. She had a 10 month old baby boy and 3 year old little girl. She was always very professional, and I could see that she loved what she did.
We were discharged for the first time about 3 weeks later (only to come back in 4 days) and by the time we made it back to the NICU again (long story) 3 weeks had gone by. One day I heard a knock on the wall next to the door, I look up and there was Kim. She found us! I was so happy to see her face. She became a fixture in his care over the next 4 months in the NICU.
All that to say, I really liked her:) But one particular Friday evening, it was actually the Friday before Christmas…well just let me tell you about it.
It had been a long day for Bryer and I. He was just always uncomfortable and in constant pain with some complex GI issues. I had worked with him all day and had gotten absolutely no where.
I was tired. I was frustrated. I was sad.
All I wanted to do was to help him, and I couldn't. It was just after 4pm and the snow was beginning to fall just as the forecast had predicted.
But it was heating up in room 45.
You see, around that time everyday between 4-6pm, the anxiety began. Well, I always had an underlying simmer of anxiety cooking, but at this hour it began creeping towards a boil. It made me feel hot, like after you've taken too many sips of wine too quickly. If you had looked, I may have had red splotches on my neck and across my collar bone. If you were his nurse during that time, God bless you, I am certain you could see it and feel it when you entered the room. Any emotions I had of that day, were multiplied 10 fold.
My patience cinched.
It was the time when my two worlds began furiously barrelling towards one another for impact. My world with Bryer at the hospital and my world at home with Remy and Sander.
I was stressed.
Anxious to get home by a certain time in order to maximize time with Remy and Sander. I missed them! I must get home to allow time for dinner, for play, for bath and for bed. I tried my best to keep it all as equal as I could. But I was also anxious about leaving Bryer. So, at that 4 o'clock hour, I would begin my calculations. When would be best to leave? Could I get in one more feed with B? Or could I multitask and pump while holding him so I wouldn't have to be anchored to the wall to pump when I got home?
***I eventually would figure out a way to just pump in the car on the way home cruising down 71 N. I even got so good at it that I managed to stealthfully go through Starbucks drive thru while pumping thanks to my giant purple scarf cohort.***
Can I get him settled comfortably and preferably asleep before I slip out? I hated to leave him period, but just wouldn't or couldn't if he was awake or especially in pain. Sometimes there'd be an hour or so gap of time between when I left the hospital and the time Justin would arrive for his evening shift. And I'll be honest, depending on the nurse, I just wouldn't leave if he was upset. I don't fault the nurses, they are busy and sometimes just can't get to a screaming baby if their other baby has a care due, especially nearing or during a shift change. If that scenario was happening, the frustration and sadness would well up and depending on the day there could be tears or just the verge of them. I was a ball of raw and surging emotions, feeling terribly guilty and torn thinking about the 4 and 2 year old faces at home and my littlest precious one laying before me in a hospital crib.
There was also this perfect window to leave, which if I missed, I'd sit in traffic for 75 min instead of the 35 it should take. Sitting in traffic is definitely not a good way to maximize time or decompress. Throw in some falling snow, Friday night traffic and the fact that it was Christmas Eve's Eve, which I had barely thought about…. Well, I think I may have over painted the picture.
So back to Kim. All this is brewing inside my chest, churning in my stomach and dancing in my head, as I hunch over his crib trying to position and soothe.
In walks Kim.
I hadn't seen her that day. Oh was she ever a welcomed and sweet face. It was probably past 4:45pm now. I remember it so clearly. She must have seen the frazzle in my face.
She said, "Is this a good time to work with him?"
I remember thinking to myself, "It's almost 5pm on the Friday before Christmas and I know she doesn't work 12 hour shifts, which means she should be getting off soon. She also has two small children at home that she hasn't seen all day, and I think she is still nursing Tommy. Is she really going to take the time right now?"
But I was desperate and relieved by her offer, "Yes!"
So, I released him into her care and busied myself with the preparation it took to get out the door. When I came back from the pumping room with my clean parts in tow, he was ASLEEP on his tummy over the hoppy. Asleep is good.
Sigh. The bubbles of anxiety simmered.
She looked up from the computer and smiled, "You go, I am just going to sit here for awhile with him and chart. I want to make sure he's settled. I'm so happy I got him in that position asleep!"
It's as if she had read my mind. I felt like I could leave him because Kim was staying.
I remember walking to the car that evening with such a deep appreciation for her. I audibly thanked God for giving her to us. She went beyond in that moment. Might not seem so big to some, but to a NICU Mama, it meant everything. I knew she was sacrificing her family time for Bryer and I. What a gift. I knew she was different, but this solidified her dearness to my heart.
Kim, she is such a beautiful vessel for God's shining light of caring compassion to her little patients and their Mommy's and Daddy's.
Little did I know what a dear friend she would become.
She went on to become his At Home PT …she went through all the red tape, papers etc to do that for us. Which was a lot. She came to our house 1-2 times a week.
She came to the PICU when he was readmitted every time. Her little Maddie made him cards.
She came to say good-bye through tears the day before he left us. She went all the way back across the hospital (opposite end of the planet) to the NICU to get us aloe Kleenex's because the ones in the PICU just weren't soft enough.
She ran The Columbus Marathon in his honor in 2013 the month following his death without proper training.
She remembers him and misses The B - what she affectionately calls him.
Our friendship continues. It's been a beautiful gift in all of this. God placed her in our path! He is so good. We even were blessed to train for and run the 2014 Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon together. Who would have ever thought from A2 (unit we met) to 26.2. Not me!
Not many people got to know Bryer or loved him, but she was one that did both. And for that, I am so grateful. She put it so sweetly in a note, "I'm not sure when I made the transition from calling you Mom to calling you Carey, but I am sure blessed to call you Friend."