Healing Butterfly Garden Brings Beauty and Education to Mott

mott blog - butterfly quoteWhen I was a kid, I loved butterflies and bugs. My grandma lived next door and she fostered my fascination. Together we found caterpillars and watched them go through their life cycle and become butterflies. When I had my own children, I shared my hobby with them. I learned how to attract butterflies to my garden by growing native plants. Soon, the garden was a hit with not only my kids, but all the neighborhood children as well.

One day at work, I met Susan Fisher who also shared a passion for butterflies. We shared stories and she told me how she had given a friend who was a cancer patient a caterpillar. Her friend found great comfort in observing the lifecycle of the caterpillar as it transformed into a chrysalis and then a butterfly. Like Susan’s friend, many patients relate to those transformations when they experience their own changes as they go through the healing process. A light bulb popped in my head — wouldn’t it be great if we could bring this experience to more of our patients?

That’s when I decided to apply for a Fostering Innovation Grant to turn a vacant area of the courtyard into a native butterfly garden. Susan and I were thrilled when we learned the grant application was accepted. We started planting the garden last summer. Now many of the plants have matured, and we’re introducing the first butterflies and officially opening the Healing Butterfly Garden.

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This looks like a job for….me?

mott blog - super hero window washersThere are some things that aren’t really anyone’s “job to do,” but it’s those things that can make such a big difference for our kids and their families.

One great thing about working at Mott, in my experience, is that if you have an idea that will help our Little Victors – bring a smile to their face, make them feel special, or help them feel normal for that matter – people here pull out all the stops to help you make your idea happen.

I’d been hearing about window washers dressing up as super heroes at other hospitals – and even at high rise apartment buildings – as the photos have popped up in the news or online over the past year.  My colleagues and I always talked about how great it would be to do that at Mott.

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New support group for parents of children with eye disease and visual impairment

Bringing parents together to talk about the challenges posed by pediatric eye disorders

children's vision support groupWhen a child is diagnosed with a serious eye disorder, it can be extremely unsettling to both parent and child.  The parent’s first challenge is to learn about the disease, its treatment, and what this means for the child’s eyesight.  It’s understandable that parents often feel alone in their struggle and are unsure and anxious about what lies ahead.

A group of physicians at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center want to help parents find the resources they need — whether these are aids for low vision or advice on navigating the school system.  Even more important, we realize that parents can benefit greatly from discussing shared experiences with others in a group setting.  It gives them the opportunity to learn about how others in the same situation are handling challenges.

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Making a difference for children on the autism spectrum

Patient and family centered care in action

The Safety & Security team at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital created "Coping Kits" to help children with autism better cope with their hospital experience.

“Coping Kits” help children with autism adjust to the sensory experience of being at the hospital.

A visit to the doctor can cause anxiety for any child, but for a child on the autism spectrum, it can be especially challenging.

Sometimes a child’s anxiety can build to a point where it becomes problematic for the care team to do their jobs. Those of us in the security team at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital started to see this happening more and more frequently. We’d get phone calls from clinicians asking for help with a developmentally delayed patient. We quickly realized that the way we might typically approach a patient was not effective in working with children on the autism spectrum.

We heard time and time again that some of these children had been denied care at other facilities because their behavior – which of course stemmed from the anxiety the environment around them triggered – made it too challenging for the clinicians to deliver care. We wanted to see how we could help ease their anxiety and make the experience more positive for everyone, so we started researching autism and ways to better respond.

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For the heroes behind the heroes, Part 2

A mother's day message from a daughter, to all moms

mott blog - mother's day text imageThe role of a mother is simply irreplaceable to a child, and even more so when we find ourselves in the role of “patient.” At least that was the case for me during my illness.

Nearly 16 years ago, at the age of nine, I became ill with Lyme disease. It was a four to five year roller-coaster ride of doctors, tests, medications and constant “two steps forward and three back” scenarios.

My mom was with me through it all. She left her job to stay home and be my full-time caregiver during those years. For two years I was unable to walk, feed and care for myself in pretty much any way. My mom did whatever needed to help me survive. She got me up in the morning, made my meals, lifted me to and from my wheelchair, stretched out my muscles and much, much more.

She was the one who read verses to me to bring hope to my heart, prayed with me claiming healing, called friends to come over and bring joy to my heart, and pushed and encouraged me – even in tough love – to keep fighting and not give up.

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For the heroes behind the heroes, Part 1

A mother's day message from a mom, to all moms

Marianne and Mary Rose Takacs

Marianne and Mary Rose Takacs

Let me start off by saying, from one mom of a former patient to the moms of present day patients: I wish you a Mother’s Day that fills your heart with laughter and joy and all the good things it can hold, to carry you through your journey.

You hold a vital role in the life of your child, and of your family, and you are doing an excellent job!

You have an equally important responsibility, however, to “Take care of you.”

Before you dismiss the thought with an “I don’t have the time nor energy to take care of me,” response, let me share a little about how important you are and the necessity of taking time out, even for a bit, just for you.

Our family’s journey went on for five long years, with many ups and down, a whole lot of tears, exhaustion, fear at times, and definite frustrations along the way. It was only through accepting kind and generous offers to give me some relief and respite, that I found I was beyond depleted as I struggled to care for my child and family.

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