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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fun, Fun, Fun

Every day in pediatric hospitals across the countries miracles are being performed.  Many of these miracles are thanks to the advances in medical care, treatment, and the science behind both.  Doctors, nurses, and therapists everywhere are taking advantage of these improvements, combining them with advanced education, and helping to save and/or significantly improve the lives of thousands of children who not too long ago would not have survived or thrived.

One thing that seems to be changing slowly but surely throughout the medical world is the understanding that children heal best through play.  Many people may not realize this as their experience with hospitals is restricted to "traditional" hospitals.  In those hospitals they may see signs, as I recently did, that say "Shhh.  Please be quiet; healing in process."  However in the pediatric hospitals that are performing the miraculous recoveries that we hear about more and more often, being quiet is not encouraged.  Children are expected to get out of bed, socialize, play games, and have fun.  It is simply amazing what can be achieved when there is fun involved.  Attitudes are better (for patients and staff), cooperation goes up, and recovery happens faster and more thoroughly.

An area where I have seen the incredible recoveries is through the junior golf program at Ranken Jordan.  In the past I have often talked about watching a 13 year old young man take his first steps up to a putting green or discussed the recovery of a girl who was unable to sit up in her wheelchair for more than a few minutes and now hits balls by herself for over an hour straight.  Recently we have watched a boy drain putt after putt while laying on his stomach in his hospital bed.  Just a few short weeks later that same boy came in smiling and ready for golf . . . in his wheelchair.  Then there is the story of 9 year old Cooper.  Rather than me inadequately tell his story, please take a moment to click on the link below to read the wonderful article written by Al Tays for the Golf Channel's website.

Golf Program a Hit at Ranken Jordan Hospital in St. Louis

At 9 years old Cooper is one of the strongest, most inspirational people I have ever met.  From my vantage point the strength and inspiration is not shown from his 17 hip surgeries.  Every time I see Cooper I am completely in awe of his attitude.  Good luck finding him without a smile on his face.  He is always upbeat and ready for whatever may be put in front of him.  Cooper is mature beyond his years and whenever I have the opportunity to spend some time with him I come away from it wondering which one of us is the adult and which one is the child.  Maybe all of us "adults" need to take the time to learn something from this "child."

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