BMT Day +126: Let Me Count The Ways

“We love you, ‪#‎LukaTheLion‬.”

It makes my heart sing when I hear nurses, doctors and staff throughout UNC tell our lion that they love him. It’s transformative and humbling. It makes a difference. It speaks volumes to the massive amount of care they have for him, and so many patients here on the Hem-Onc/BMT floor and clinic. And along with the massive amount of medications and seemingly endless infusions, love is just what the doctor ordered since love heals. (Had to stop myself from writing love heels. No matter how heavy it gets, I’m still full of Carolina puns.)

There’s a psychologist here at UNC, Barbara Frederickson, who focuses on positive psychology and wrote “Love 2.0” where she explains the power of “micro-moments.” Her research of people’s response to emotions de-mystifies the concept of love as solely unconditional and for close family and friends; yet love can and does exists in short, powerful connections we can have with anyone at anytime, hence micro-moments. Living in the hospital is full with these loving micro-moments. Here are just a few of many micro-moments directed at our lion here at UNC Children’s that stand out.

That time when a charge nurse, Britini, took us down personally to the surgery pre-op area even though she didn’t have to, just because she could tell we needed her to for moral support. Once we got there, she parted ways by telling you that “we all love you very much.”

That time when Dr. Philip gave you a pep talk in the Lion’s Den to remind you that everybody loves you very much and wants you to feel better.

That time Stephanie, the massage therapist/chakra specialist (not sure what you call someone so in tune with energy), said that love knows no fear and we have guardian angels watching over us.

That time your favorite housekeeper, Brian, gave you a dog stuffed animal for you to “love on.”

That time when your stem cell drip-dropping nurse Whitney told you how much she loves you and misses you and got a tiny, maybe little side smile (first in a month) from you.

That time nurse Taylor gave you your very own frog light because she knew how much you loved playing with hers.

That time when Amy, the nurse assistant from the clinic transported us from the floor for a procedure and shared her love and prayers for our family.

That time Maia Bee was in the bathroom stall having “her privacy” and all of a sudden told me about the field trip to the pumpkin patch that occurred a couple of weeks ago. She told me she loved the animals including the tiny little baby rabbit that was just like “her Luki baby” who she loves SO MUCH!

There are micro-moments like these everyday and it makes my heart so happy to share the love we all have for our lion both here in this online space with you all and throughout our hospital home. Love heals, once micro-moment at a time.

Today, our lion was very interested in the man with the drill that fixed some electrical issue in the nurse station/call system. He even waved. We also had some success with our lion sitting more independently (more confident when not with mama) and knocking blocks over after I staked them. He mainly liked sitting in the Lion’s Den and watching the people come and go through the window. We’ve put in a request to move to a room with a glass door/wall so that even though he’s in isolation, he can still be stimulated by the outside world. I dream of HEPA filtered hallways (the adults get this luxury) which apparently would cost $5M to do on 5 Children’s. To which I responded, I could raise that – give me a script!

Health-wise, he continues to have some quirks of not being able to hold food down, weight dipped a bit, and some higher heart rates and even a climbing temperature which required blood cultures for which we really hope aren’t positive. Just isn’t a good time for a blood infection, especially since he just got these new lines. He got some IV steroids which appeared to help. Some shaking called for more labs which led to more magnesium, potassium and calcium infusions since the medication just continues to deplete these electrolytes. He did end up eating the most I’ve seen in a month – a chicken nugget, sweet potatoes with salt and a whole applesauce pouch. He even said “yum!” while eating the nugget.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds, and for now we cherish all these loving micro-moments and more. We love you, our lion!