Carver is a Rockstar Patient!

Mom Shares how COVID-19 has Changed Hospital Life

‘We are thankful for the Child Life Program and the donors who support it.’

My son, Carver, has been in and out of Children’s Hospital since he was three days old.

Even during the first phases of the global COVID-19 pandemic, he needed to count on the hospital for care.

Carver, 10, was born with a rare metabolic disorder, called methylmalonic acidemia (MMA). His body can’t properly metabolize protein and certain fats, which can lead to harmful complications. MMA complications can include chronic kidney failure, developmental delays and food aversion (requiring a g-tube for feeding and hydration).

The only treatment to manage Carver’s condition is a specialized diet, medical formula and medication. He requires constant monitoring from Children’s Hospital to protect his health.

Since COVID-19 things at the hospital have been very different.Carver in Hospital

We are screened at the door, we must wear masks our entire visit and inpatient admission requires a COVID-19 swab, which is a very uncomfortable procedure.

Carver had to be admitted in July to have a ton of blood drawn and to receive IV fluids, which is routine for him. As soon as we arrived at Children’s Hospital, he had to be swabbed for COVID.

Carver has very high anxiety around medical procedures. He would kick, scream, cry and try so hard to refuse his poke for blood work or IV’s – until we were introduced to Erika from the Child Life Program (a program funded by generous donors to Children’s Health Foundation).

Erika has helped ease his anxiety with regular procedures and it allowed him to be brave during the COVID test. The nursing staff called him a Rockstar, as he was such a calm and brave boy. This is all thanks to Erika for her kindness, patience and brilliant techniques over the last several years.Carver and Erika

Carver took to Erika right away and I feel she felt the same way. They seemed to have formed a bond quickly.

His face lights up as soon as he spots her.

Erika joins us in the waiting room before each procedure and usually brings along Carver’s favourite toys. She stays with Carver through his blood work and helps keep him calm. Sometimes she soothes him just by being present, other times she uses techniques such as, distraction (anything from toys, jokes, bubbles to using an iPad), deep breathing (very creatively using windmill toys or party blowers), and she’s even had him practice the procedure beforehand on stuffed animals.

We are so thankful that Children’s Health Foundation offers such an amazing program as Child Life, especially during the global pandemic. Without the support from donors, Carver’s frequent visits would look much different. Carver also enjoys visits from Ollie the Therapeutic Clown. While in hospital, Carver was in isolation and unable to leave his room. Ollie would pop in to visit and play, making Carver’s day much brighter.

A big thank you to Child Life from the Hummell family for always making us feel comfortable at ‘Carver’s hospital’ – and to the caring people in our community who make this program possible!


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