The Healing Power of Fun, Music and Positivity
The word “fun” wasn’t on 16-year-old Tyler’s mind when he arrived as a patient at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in November. Tyler had been in a serious car accident in October that left him with a broken foot and arm and a severely fractured pelvis among other injuries.
After two surgeries at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Tyler came to Ranken Jordan in a wheelchair with a cast up to his right knee, limited use of his arm, and seven pins holding his pelvis bones together.
“I was nervous when I first got there but quickly started to really like Ranken Jordan,” he says. “The nurses and recreation therapists always made sure I had fun even during the tough times.”
Changing the Tune of Recovery
Because of his broken bones, Tyler couldn’t move much and was nagged by a foot infection that further limited his movement. Yet he worked hard in therapy to get back to a regular routine, including being able to get in and out of bed on his own. Walking was the biggest goal.
In addition to therapy, Tyler enthusiastically participated in the many activities at Ranken Jordan. While he enjoyed creating artwork, a visit from Santa, and caroling around the hospital during the holidays, one of Tyler’s favorite activities at Ranken Jordan was music therapy. “Music Mary, the music therapist, was a big help to me,” he says. “I always looked forward to music therapy with her.”
His passion for music benefited other patients, too. Tyler and Music Mary rewrote lyrics to popular songs for some of the children in the hospital. The duo created a customized version of Bruno Mars’ song, Treasure, for a toddler by the same name, as well as Shake It Off by Taylor Swift for a teen who was feeling down.
“The kids really enjoyed the songs and I liked helping other patients,” Tyler says. “I made friends with lots of the kids at Ranken Jordan and even had play dates with the little ones, which was so fun. Ranken Jordan isn’t like a typical hospital. I always had a lot to do and the team makes it fun.”
Lifting Spirits, Building Courage
Despite his many activities at Ranken Jordan, Tyler had down moments, too. He credits the Ranken Jordan team for lifting him up during those times. “The team had a positive attitude and kept our spirits up. They encouraged you to work hard and gave you hope you could get better. This experience showed me how to have courage in hard times.”
The compassion and kindness from the team solidified Tyler’s plans to become a nurse. “I learned from the team that I want to be the kind of nurse who is patient, caring and who shows you’re there for patients.”
After three months at Ranken Jordan, Tyler was almost fully healed and he was walking again. It was time to go home. Yet Tyler was actually sad to leave the hospital.
“I was upset because I made a lot of friends there and was going to miss everyone,” he says. “The team members at Ranken Jordan are amazing, caring people.”