27 June 2012

Love Letter to Levine Children's Hospital

Artwork at Levine Children's Hospital
(Part of the art installation outside the surgical waiting room at Levine Children's Hospital)

My darling curvy boy DJ had his spinal surgery this past Friday at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. It is part of the Carolinas Medical Center system. I think every area has the big city hospital that you go to when your condition is too advanced or complicated for your local hospital to handle, and CMC is that for us. At first I wondered why we couldn't have the surgery at our local hospital; to my eye it is a modern facility and I'm pretty sure our ortho has privileges there. Now I am glad that we got a chance to experience a stay at Levine.

Levine Children's Hospital has so many little ways to make kids and parents comfortable, from the art on the walls to the free coffee. When we went there the day before the surgery to have all the pre-op work done, there was someone to escort us from place to place. We were never left to wonder where we needed to go next.  I didn't run across any caregivers who seemed to be having a bad day or acted as if they were irritated with the questions we were asking, either during the pre-op visit or after DJ was admitted. Every staff member treated us as if this was a new experience (which it was) and didn't assume that we knew what to do. The guest breakfast that was delivered to the room along with DJ's food was a blessing, as were the complimentary meal vouchers we used for dinner.

The building itself is modern and comfortable. Everything is situated in such a way that I never felt like I was going to get lost on the way to the bathroom from the waiting area (I am directionally challenged so that could definitely happen!). There are little techie touches that appeal to the wannabe geek in me, like the computer screen in the parent lounge that shows you where your loved one is in the surgery process. The TVs in the rooms have free Playstation games and on-demand movies. One of the leaders of DJ's church youth group was able to send him an email, which the Child Life worker printed off and delivered to him. The patient rooms are big enough for several family members to visit, which means a lot when you have ABM's family who visits all at once like an invading horde.

I've often been an apologist for our local hospital, which has a less than stellar reputation. While I still think our local hospital is a fine facility, I have now had a chance to see that there is a higher level of excellence they can strive to attain. I found myself wishing that Levine wasn't just a children's hospital because that is where I would like to go the next time I need an MRI or some other procedure.

Thank you to the entire staff of Levine Children's Hospital for taking such good care of my son!

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