Resiliency Wins Unexpected Victories
We’re privileged to care for some of the most medically complex children every single day. As we enter Hospital Week, I am in awe at the resilience and determination of each team member has demonstrated this past year, especially these past few months. Your hopeful spirits are contagious. Just look at Lisa Wana, one of our extraordinary children who has shown us what can happen when we never give up.
Born with significant heart defects, Lisa had three heart surgeries before she was 1 year old. She needed around-the-clock care to treat her heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.
Lisa came to Ranken Jordan in December 2018 as a fragile 14-month-old baby with a poor prognosis. She had never been home since her birth.
When she first arrived, she was completely dependent on a ventilator and she couldn’t sit up or communicate. She didn’t tolerate activity well and it wasn’t safe to reliably take her from her room. She was unstable and her oxygen levels frequently dropped along with her heart rate.
Yet our Ranken Jordan team rallied around her. Once Lisa was physically stable, the world opened up for her. Initially, therapists had to do a lot to encourage Lisa to interact. Within two months of persistence and all forms of therapy, Lisa grew stronger, more alert and her personality began to shine.
After being isolated in a pediatric intensive care unit for so long, Lisa blossomed as she experienced interacting with other children, the outdoors and various activities—all part of our Care Beyond the Bedside model. These experiences created a snowball of progress for Lisa.
She had numerous developmental delays but our physical, occupational, speech and music therapists and child life specialists used creative approaches to help her learn and grow. Today, Lisa loves music, swinging, blowing kisses and playing peek-a-boo. She is almost famous around Ranken Jordan for her “dance wiggle” when she hears music and the heart-melting smile that lights up her face.
One of Lisa’s most remarkable achievements has been to come off the ventilator during the daytime, which was unexpected. Soon, she may even be able to come off the ventilator completely.
Lisa has surprised us at every turn. She inspires us to never give up, despite the diagnosis.
Although Lisa was unable to communicate when she first arrived, our speech therapists taught her to use a communication device with buttons that she uses with complete intention. One of her favorite buttons is “hi.” She pushes that button frequently and smiles and waves to everyone she encounters.
This communications tool has been a game changer for her.
Another step toward success is Lisa’s growing ability to walk. Recently, she began using a gait trainer and walked 30 feet, advancing her legs and the gait trainer herself. This is a momentous feat and she’s only going to go further.
Meanwhile, our dedicated social workers have been working closely with Lisa’s family since Lisa arrived. The social workers, who provide vital psychosocial support, have been instrumental in helping Lisa’s family access resources and overcome barriers, especially since Lisa’s mom is a refugee with limited financial resources and speaks little English.
This is another example of the holistic care we provide every child and family.
We’re now looking further ahead for Lisa than before. When she first came to Ranken Jordan, we didn’t expect her to ever use a communication device much less wave hello to everyone and walk. She has shown us not to underestimate her as she overcomes one obstacle after another with inspiring resiliency.
Through everything, we’ve kept Lisa’s comfort and quality of life at the forefront. Despite her significant medical conditions, Lisa is truly a happy, playful and loving girl who lives life to the fullest every day at Ranken Jordan. Her smile says it all.
Lisa is a daily reminder to never give up on patients. We have all played an important role in bringing joy to her life and helping her reach unexpected milestones. I hope you feel as honored as I do to be part of her journey.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication and hope-filled spirit that brightens our hospital every day. I’m so proud to be part of our Ranken Jordan team.
Happy Hospital Week,