Always bring a book and a bear to the E.R.
There was a time when Quinnlin’s family didn’t know about anti-rejection drugs and IV antibiotics and near monthly E.R. visits for her or her brother, Gage. Quinnlin and Gage survived kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplants, both at the age of eight and now are in the phase where things like twice daily drugs and IVs and regular E.R. visits are (their) normal.
Last month when Quinnlin had a simple bump on her arm turn into an infection that was growing, her mom knew they’d end up in the E.R. and probably admitted before she even called their doctor to discuss the color, shape and size of the area.
Always helpful…a friend and electronics.
“It looks red and it’s growing. It looks exactly like Gage’s did when it was MRSA.” Quinnlin’s mom said to the care team. MRSA is a resistant staph infection that sends fear into just about any medical professional, but many doctors, including organ transplant teams, are particularly worried about MRSA in their patients.
Champerina meets Dr. Teddy
In honor of Friendship Day today, Aug. 5, we wanted to share another special story about Quinnlin and her beary special friend Champerina.
When Quinnlin turned three she visited the dentist, like most kids. Nearly seven years later she still sees the very special Dr. Theodore Levitas or “Dr. Teddy”, as nearly everyone calls him. Dr. Teddy specializes in dentistry for kids with special needs.
On a recent appointment Quinnlin knew bringing Champerina with her to see Dr. Teddy would be fine because Dr. Teddy has hundreds of teddy bears himself. Quinnlin arrived with Champerina, proudly telling him, “This is my bear and I knew you would like her because you are Dr. Teddy and I know you like all kinds of bears!” Having Champerina come with her helps because going to the dentist can be kind of scary. It helped that this dentist had an entire conversation to and about Champerina and that make Quinnlin relax even more.
One day Quinnlin’s mom added up how many specialists she and her brother have seen as a result of their multiple special needs. It might surprise you to know that they have seen…
- 7 pediatric nephrologists, 2 hepatologists, 10 pediatricians, several physician assistants and 6 surgeons
- 20 speech, physical, occupational and vision therapists
- 1 orthopedist
- 1 urologist
- 100 nurses (at least), lab technicians and nurse assistants
- 1 child life specialist, 1 nutritionist
- 8 transplant nurses/coordinators
- 2 psychiatrists, 2 play therapists
- 2 dermatologists
- 1 insurance policy, 2 secondary insurance policies and 5 case managers
- 5 pharmacies
- 2 social workers
“I’m scared,” Quinnlin said nearly three years ago, when she learned the date of her kidney transplant. She’d seen her brother go through kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplant. She had witnessed him go through life-saving surgeries and had seen the emotional fallout and the impact of those experiences, so it was an easy decision for her parents to start Quinnlin in play therapy.
We’re featuring Champ (not to be confused with Champerina), the famous Build-A-Bear Workshop bear who was created specifically to highlight children’s health and wellness for the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation. Champ was born from the inspiration of a family’s love for a daughter and the daughter’s idea to fund research. Read about Nikki, who lost her battle with cancer but whose legacy lives on in Champ. A dollar from every Champ bear sold goes directly to help fund grants to children’s related approved grant applicants.
Why is that important to know?
-by Julia Roberts
Quinnlin is 10 years old. The bear she is holding is a new friend, Champ – or Champerina, as Quinnlin has renamed her. They’re on a special journey. This journey involves doctors, therapists, special educators, resilience and a sense of humor.
More than just a furry friend, Champerina goes everywhere with Quinnlin.