The Cartoon has been completed and sent to the hospital!
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should read the #projectW blog post first.)
After over two and a half years, through multiple drafts, multiple meetings, and multiple mediums, we have a finished product that will (hopefully) benefit young children and their parents.
Picture this. Your kid gets hurt, to the point where you need to go to the emergency room. Your child is in pain, and is scared, and is nervous. Do you know what is going to happen? Probably not, because not many people spend a lot of time in the Emergency Department. So you as a parent are also stressed and wondering what is going to happen. Most stress in the hospital happens in the waiting room of the ER. So how can that be alleviated?
Wendy and I wrote this little story with that in mind, giving an introduction to the Emergency Room and to the hospital in case the child gets admitted. It runs about nine minutes long, enough time to get settled and have your questions answered. It also gives you some suggestions on how you can prepare yourself for when you meet the doctors. You can write out what hurts, when it started, what you’re worried about, how you feel, and it will get the conversation going more quickly.
So it’s designed to alleviate stress and foster communication. Imagine if all hospitals worked on ways to incorporate these things into their care scheme. We had whole teams on this project, both in the hospital and at Payette, an architectural firm that specializes in hospitals. In the hospital, the Family Advisory Council brought together a group of experts to comb through the script. There were doctors, nurses, social workers, and child life specialists, who all added their advice and counsel. Then at Payette, there was another whole team of creative people who put it together. There were animators and musicians, people who were good at the storyboarding and composition. There were people who spent Saturdays recording Wendy’s voice and teaching her some elocution so she could enunciate well. They made sure they included Penny in one of the pictures (that’s Penny getting the thermometer over her forehead!) and they included Wendy’s stuffed animal Teddy who has been through all of the hospitalizations with her.
And get this, all of these people did this out of the goodness of their hearts. Nobody was paid for a moment of any of this, through months of preparation, meetings, and work.
They did it because they thought it was important.
Think about it another way. Every time you go on an airplane, you get instructions on what is going to happen during the flight, including what might happen in an emergency. Do you get the same instructions when you go into the Emergency Room? Why not? Wouldn’t you feel better, as an adult, if you did get some instruction or information while you were waiting to be seen?
Now imagine how much scarier it must be for a kid to be hurt and worried.
Here is my hope. My hope is that this post and video go wild, that it helps thousands of sick and scared kids, that it inspires other hospitals to do the same thing. I hope it encourages collaborative efforts because they are important, not because someone is going to get all the money or all the credit associated with it. My hope is that there are fewer sick and scared kids, but when they arrive to Emergency Departments around the country that they will be given an introduction on what they can expect so they won’t feel so lonely and vulnerable.
Please watch this video. Please think how many people put their hearts into this production. Please share it widely.
Thanks to everyone for your support through these efforts, including your kind words and suggestions. Thanks for not letting me give up on it.
I asked Wendy what she thought about the whole thing, the more than two years, the different iterations, the meetings, the pictures, the recordings, and she just said, “I think it’s pretty cool and I think it’s going to help a lot of kids.”
She said it better than me, and in fewer words.