Henry and Tammy's Story

April 16, 2018

Tammy was so grateful for the compassionate care her son, Henry, received at Niagara Health that she wanted to share her story...

I’ll never forget that morning. It was a beautiful sunny day. Blue skies, a cool gentle breeze in the air. My son, Henry, and I were playing at one of our favourite local parks. Running, climbing, laughing.
That laughter quickly stopped when Henry fell off the top of the slide. I remember watching like it was happening in slow motion. I felt terrible. Helpless. How could I let this happen? Why wasn’t I right there to catch him?
From the sound of my son’s painful cries I was sure that he had hurt himself pretty badly, so I rushed him to the St. Catharines hospital. An x-ray in the emergency department confirmed that Henry had broken the tibia bone in his leg.
That was several months ago now and I’m happy to tell you that Henry is healing well. When I think back on Henry’s time at the hospital, what really stands out to me is the kind and compassionate care he received, which turned a very bad situation into a positive one for us.
It’s likely that you, your loved ones or your friends have been touched in one way or another by our health system. And, if so, you’ll understand when I tell you how very lucky we are to have excellent care close to home.
And that brings me to why I’m writing to you today. You may be surprised, just like I was to learn, that government funding only covers certain healthcare and hospital expenses. It’s gifts from regular donors, like you and I, that help purchase the latest technology and equipment for Niagara Health’s medical staff so that they can care for our loved ones.
Let me tell you a bit more about my son and his experience.

Henry is a happy seven year old boy. He loves Thomas the Train, jumping on the trampoline and acting silly. He is also autistic and non-verbal. So, you can understand my concern that Henry’s situation would be more of a challenge for the doctors and nurses at the hospital.

I expected to have to advocate for my son to make sure that he received the same care that any child deserves. I was relieved to find that I didn’t need to advocate for him at all. Everyone Henry encountered – his doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, porters and volunteers – took such good care of him and went the extra mile in so many ways.
When Henry was brought in to the emergency department, a portable x-ray machine was used so that we he didn’t need to leave the room. This helped make the situation a little less stressful for him.
The scan showed a pretty severe break and, because of Henry’s age, the doctor explained that he would set the bone to avoid surgery. This would be done the next day and Henry was admitted to the Children’s Health Unit while we waited. The care and attention that we received here was heartwarming.
The staff was very knowledgeable about autism and communicated with me constantly to help direct Henry’s care. They were gentle, patient and kind. When Henry became overwhelmed, the nurses and volunteers gave him the space he needed and found ways to have fun with Henry. A TV and DVDs were brought into the room to help drown out sounds of other kids crying in the unit – crying is a trigger for Henry so this was a welcome distraction.
When it was time for Henry’s leg to be set, I was allowed to ‘scrub in’ as they say and accompany him into the operating room. The doctor told me that Henry would be given general anaesthesia so he wouldn’t feel any pain.
Following this minor procedure, we were back to the Children’s Health Unit so Henry could rest up before going home. The manager of the unit went out of her way to coordinate transportation home so that Henry could stay comfortably in a hospital bed during the drive. It was the little things like this that really made a difference. I am so thankful.
If I had to use one word to describe how I was feeling throughout our experience it would be ‘confident.’ As a worried, scared mother, it was so comforting to feel confident in the team’s abilities and to know that my son’s best interests were always top of mind.
And, from the portable x-ray in emergency, the anaesthesia machine in the operating room, to the TV in the Children’s Health Unit, I now know first-hand how important donations are and how they help provide the tools needed to care for our families. You never know when you will need to rely on the hospital.
By the time you read this, I’m hoping that Henry will be all healed up. And, with warmer weather on its way, I’m looking forward to taking him to the park again.
I know I’ll be nervous the first time he climbs up to the top of that slide, but, the fact that he is able to do so again will mean the world to me… and most of all to Henry.
It seems to me that for all the wonderful support we get from our healthcare team at Niagara Health, it makes sense for us to give back and support them, too.
Grateful Mom

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