I used to teach building relationships for a living. First for a few retail companies then I transitioned into the health care world. I understood the importance of building strong relationships with your clientele, or so I thought I did. Now I understand it at an entirely different level.
I used to work for the mouse. While I was at what I still consider to be the happiest place on Earth I learned all about building relationships with your guests, or consumers as most people call them. The Disney experience prepared me to use my teaching skills with this new knowledge to bring the idea of relationship building to retail and eventually to health care. A relationship with your client is something the retailer down the street can’t compete with. The relationship makes the client feel special.
It’s unreal to me that now, I would be faced with the truest test of relationship building in the health care setting. My baby girl, and those that care for her. It’s all about me, in figurative terms, putting my money where my mouth is, and understanding if the relationship building that I’ve spent so long preaching is so important, is really as important as I say it is.
Truthfully, just today I’ve realized it is so much more.
Faith has been seen at a few different hospitals over the last few years, I would say some of our Nations best. Boston Children’s, Cincinnati Children’s, and of course The University of Michigan. The doctors at all three hospitals are the best of the best. And I feel she could be adequately cared for at any of the three. But when you are talking about your daughter, who holds your heart in her hand, you want more than adequate care from the best doctors. You want doctors who do more than care, you want doctors who love.
Yes. I said it. It’s what building relationships is all about right? Love. Today, after three years of care at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s hospital that’s what I realized, Faith’s doctors and her team at Mott, they love her. They truly love her. The funny thing is, it took having friends of ours at the appointment with us for me to realize just how special the relationships that our heath care team has built with Faith and the rest of our family too has become. As we left the appointment, they said, I can’t imagine that’s how all appointments are when you come here….well it is. Today was a good sample of exactly the kind of care we get.
Samir, an attending who was a fellow when Faith was spending hundreds of days in the hospital came out to see Faith in the waiting room, he kept saying, Wow, as he looked in amazement of how much she has grown over the last two years. He was excited to ask about Will and quick to tell Faith that her picture that she drew of the two of them standing together under a rainbow is still hanging in his office right next to her photo of her eating a big plate of spaghetti. He gave hugs and left, Faith looked at me and said, Mom I love him so much…and I let out the biggest exhale because Samir was with us during her darkest days and is a big reason she is doing so well now.
When we went back for her appointment Marilyn her nurse came into the room and gasped about her cute outfit. They giggled about all the clothes Faith has and they talked about the fact that she’s been missing school too much lately. Her dietician came in and also greeted Faith with a hug, she talked to Faith about her gymnastics and how things were going at school, leaving the important medical questions to wait as she was so excited to catch up with how things had been going.
Then in walks Dr. Newman, who greets Faith with smile and sigh as she asked her to stand up and model her latest outfit. She told the student she had with her about the work Faith does with Persnickety Clothing Company. She stood back looking at Faith like a proud parent. She played with her ponytail as Faith told her the latest on life, and that this illness is causing her to miss too much school and gymnastics. I stopped for a minute and watched and realized how totally fortunate we are to have a doctor like Dr. Newman, who loves my Faith, and who wants her to have the best life she can, not because it’s her job, but because she believes in her and she knows Faith deserves it.
As usual the entire team spent all the time we needed to catch up and make a plan for attacking this current health issue at home. Before we left, Jayne our other nurse just stopped by to say Hi, because she knew Faith was in today. Then Janelle the surgery scheduler also came back. Faith loves all of these people and feels so special when we are there.
Understanding that there is no cure at the time for Faith’s disease I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me, and mostly to Faith. We are so tired. I am still getting up every three hours to do Faith’s fluids and medicines. Lately, she’s been pretty sick so we’ve been up a lot more than that. Today, I got a high-five from a doctor who thinks I am doing an amazing job keeping my baby out of the hospital.
There are always hugs as we leave for both of us and I watch as Faith hugs Dr. Newman with her eyes closed….I know that the love between them is mutual.
Faith reminds me often that god gave her this disease for a reason, that he must have had something special in mind for her when he choose her to have this rare disease….That’s how I feel about her team at Michigan….we choose them, because what god gave them is so very special. And we are so very blessed to have them to care for our little Faith. This is the University of Michigan! Hail!
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