When Shelby Skiles and her 2-year-old daughter were having problems sleeping during a recent visit to Children’s Medical Center Dallas, she started writing.
Skiles, 28, has spent nearly every night in the hospital since May, when she found out that her only child, Sophie, had a severe form of T-cell lymphoma.
Skiles and her husband Jonathan have probably met several hundred nurses during the course of Sophie’s treatment.
The cancer in the toddler’s body was slowed by 15 cycles of chemotherapy. Now, he must wait for a stem cell transplant.
Due to the severe side effects of her chemotherapy, Sophie was unable to stand on her own, let alone walk, talk, or feed herself.
Skiles recalled the night this month when she first started writing: “It was like 3 a.m. and I was lying on that horrible couch in the hospital room and I couldn’t go to sleep.”
I started keeping track of the nurses’ activities, and it just kept going from there.
The list included more than just routine examinations.
Skiles enumerated the many ways in which the staff has gone above and beyond for our family and others, such as the nurse who sat on the floor with me during a panic attack shortly after we learned the diagnosis.
Skiles and her family created a Facebook page for Sophie called “Sophie the Brave,” where Sophie thanked the nurses who cared for her.
She commented, “I witness you bringing arm loads of medicine and supplies into one child’s room as your phone rings in your pocket from another child’s room.” “I see you put on gloves and a mask, and you make an effort not to be too loud at night. I picture you patting her tiny bald head and tightly draping her in blankets.”
It has been shared by over 25,000 people at this point.
As Sophie’s page has many followers, Skiles reasoned, “I’ll post this and raise awareness of what happens at a children’s hospital and what nurses do, especially when caring for ill children.”
“But the amount of attention it’s received has completely stunned me,” she continued.
Sophie’s primary care nurses at Children’s Medical Center Dallas read the message as well.
Sophie’s care has been overseen by Susan McCollom, clinical manager of the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, who expressed her gratitude to Sophie, saying, “I really am so grateful that she did it.”
One worker explained, “Our work is extremely challenging on an emotional, physical, and cerebral level, and it kind of nailed why we do it and that what we do is not just a job,” said one employee.
I’m very pleased of my team, but I’m not shocked, she continued, since I know that’s what they do every day.
Skiles predicts that Sophie will remain in the Dallas medical facility until the end of the month, after which she will relocate to a nearby home.
After the stem cell transplant is complete, Sophie will need to keep close to the hospital for follow-up appointments and therapy.
According to Skiles, “It’s amazing to watch people put their life on hold and absolutely care for kids that truly, really need it.” They also take care of the parents.
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