Our Son David's Journey Home
By Carin Bockelman
We met our son David at Children's Mercy. My husband, Tony, and I are foster parents and when we were interested in fostering David, his social worker wanted to make sure we knew what was involved. So on Valentine's Day 2008, we were introduced to David.
He was 20 months old and ill with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and vitamin D-resistant rickets. A central-line IV had been placed so he could receive his medicine for 12 hours each day, along with a gastrostomy tube to ensure he would not aspirate his food. At the heart of all these tubes and monitor beeps was our David.
Two days later we received approval for David to be our foster son and I moved into the hospital with him. I'd never taken care of a child with a feeding tube or central line, and was worried about learning what to do.
I shouldn't have been worried because the nursing staff and care assistants at Children's Mercy are the BEST! The Child Life team was around to make sure David had toys and whatever he needed. Dr. Tarak Srivastava from nephrology explained David's treatment plan to me. The nurses showed me how to administer his feedings and medications, and coordinated with our home-health agency so I'd know how to care for David with the pumps we'd have at home.
The staff was patient and encouraging. By the time we headed home, I was confident I could care for David.
That was just the beginning. My husband and I jokingly wondered how long it would take to be seen in every clinic—David has been to so many! We have also had multiple visits to Children's Mercy South Urgent Care Center (UCC) and the downtown emergency department. David was transported by ambulance between the two several times. Most notably, the South UCC wonderfully handled two seizures that were very scary for us all. Now 5, David has been hospitalized many times in the four years he's been with us. In many ways, going to Children's Mercy was like going home. Everyone knows David and us. We always know we are in good hands.
In the middle of David's medical journey, we started the process of adopting him, and in August 2009, David legally became our son and brother to John, stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California; Zeke, 11; Hassani, 10; and Gladys, 8.
Our journey home together started at Children's Mercy, and they still take good care of us!