Levine Cardiac Kids

Every month, on the first Thursday of the month, our group called "Levine Cardiac Kids" meets at the hospital. We have monthly speakers, Q&A time, and good fellowship. Since the meetings first started in April of last year, we usually met in a small conference room on the 3rd floor by the cafeteria. Because of the opening of the new Levine Children's Hospital, we now get to meet in the new Family Life Resource Center. The Resource Center has a library, several computers with internet capability, a children's library area with books, puzzles, games, etc. and large area with a kitchenette, couches, chairs and tables. It is really awesome. And now with the opening of the new hospital and 5 different playrooms throughout the hospital, two members of the ChildLife staff have volunteered to take the children 4 and up to have structured activities during the meetings. So, this last month all of the adults were given a tour of the Children's hospital and the new CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit), the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and the Progressive Care floor. I will be the first to say that it is incredible!! Before this opened, after open heart surgery, the kids were in a place called CVRU (cardiovascular recovery unit). It was just a huge, white circular room that was all just open bays. In there were babies, children and adults who just had open heart surgery. It was a scary and intimidating place. Also, you were not allowed to stay with your child. You were only allowed to see your child for 15 minutes every 2 hours. And sometimes when you would get there after waiting to see your baby, you wouldn't be allowed to come in because somebody else was having trouble. It was horrible...and that doesn't even begin describe my feelings for that place. Thankfully, the "Family Centered Care" philosophy has made it's way into this part of the hospital. Now in the new CVICU it will only be babies and children who have had open heart surgery and they have their own rooms!! I was just amazed. And the rooms are big and beautiful! So now after your child is past their most critical stage after surgery, you will be able to stay with your child 24/7. There are also so many added ammenities in these units that will be such a help to families. You have a full bathroom in the room, there are places to do your laundry, you have a fridge in your room, etc. I can't imagine doing it all over again with all of these changes. It would have been so much easier! But I am extremely excited and thankful for the families coming behind us who are going to benefit from it all.

Lydia was SO thrilled about going to the playroom!
Lydia really enjoys her friends with "special hearts" like she has. =) Many of the children in our group are still babies or toddlers, but the boy in the picture with spiky hair is Jacob and he is 15. The little girl on the far right with the blonde hair is Mary Grace and she is five. Lydia and Mary Grace are buddies. =)

Please pray for Mary Grace! She is having her heart cath today in preparation for her open heart surgery. She will be having her Fontan surgery this coming Monday, February 11th. (If you look to the right where the links are, you will see a link to her website.) Please pray for her Mom, Dad and her two older sisters also. It is definitely a stressful and scary time for their whole family.

We are having another meeting tonight and I know Lydia is going to be sad that Mary Grace is not there. Mary Grace is a headband fanatic and everytime I see one, I think about her. It's a great prayer reminder! Like I said, please keep her in your prayers that her surgery on Monday will go smoothly. Thank you!

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