Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fogs, Frogs, and Blogs...

Foggy because we walked into the hospital in Oradea for the first time and were a bit starstruck, dazed, confused and overwhelmed by what we were seeing. You will hear more about what we saw and were able to experience in Thursday's blog. Frogs because a few of us had some Hungarian frogs legs at a very traditional Hungarian restaurant at a resort outside of Oradea. And now we're blogging to tell you about it! :)

Today was another strong day in the classroom. The topics with the professional staff were all related to death and dying, a topic about which the staff members were passionate. Jill and Jada started the day with “Children’s Understanding of Death.” Jill and Ashley did “Grieving Children.” Participants made a Jenga game that families could use to express their feelings about a love one who died. Kristie was next with the topic of working with the dying child. Audra and Jada finished the day with a presentation on legacy building. Everyone loved the presentations!

Laura got to spend time with Raelene talking about volunteer resources and databases. Raelene is so excited about Volgistics! She can’t wait to purchase a copy and start building their database of volunteers. And speaking of volunteers, Jan may have found some for her. She spoke to a class of students who want to be teachers. Many eagerly volunteered to help students keep up with their schoolwork. Way to go Jan for inspiring the students and for beginning to fill up Raelene’s database J

The time with the social work students continued to be productive. They were able to do some role-playing as we talked about preparation. They did an amazing job. There may be some future child life specialists in the group! It was so funny though as they talked about “Mr. Ron” (Ron Rose—the star of the EEG prep book) to each other like they knew him. They also shared a bit about their childhood hospital experiences with one telling a story about a surgery on her chest for which they cut off all of her hair. She was laughing about it but remembers being teased and quite traumatized by the experience. It was great to see them continue to open up to the topic and to begin to connect it to their own lives.

The afternoon found us at the children’s hospital (at last…our comfort zone). We were greeted by one of the physicians from the training who was proud to show us around. We received some mixed messages about how involved parents are but were proud to hear him joking using the language of preparation and parent involvement…it shows he’s at least getting it! We visited the pediatric oncology area. This was brightly colored with painted images on the wall, including a depiction of the last page of Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The experience was both saddening and exciting for us. There were children who we know could be healthier—emotionally and physically—if more resources were available, but we were also reminded that kids are kids are kids as they smiled shyly at us, played with toys, played coo-coo (may not be spelled right but is like peek-a-boo). We get to interact more tomorrow…yeah! One of the hardest pieces of information for us was hearing about their staffing. They often have 1 nurse caring for greater than 20 children so children without families are terribly alone. Our bit of adventure at the hospital involved Jill and a wandering gypsy who would have loved to claim Jill’s billfold for her own, but to no avail. We all left with everything we brought in, minus maybe small pieces of our hearts.

We finished the day with another amazing meal! The highpoints included Laura’s frog legs from Hungarian frogs—and Brenda tasting these frog legs—Jada eating the cream from the pitcher with her tiny espresso spoon, and desserts so rich that it was decadent. We wrapped up our reflection time each feeling closer to the country and to our fellow group members than we had that morning.

Just one more day of teaching ahead of us…Thursday here we come!

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