The look on Joey’s face is everything. Typically in pajamas, today she is decked out in a pretty, white flowered dress and a colorful head wrap to cover up those few remaining tendrils of hair and keep her warm. She is lying in bed and not expecting a visit from her nurse.
Shannon Dansby, R.N., stops by a few times a week to draw blood for labs. It saves Joey’s dad a trip to the hospital. Dansby knows Joey isn’t on her Johns Hopkins All Children's Home Care schedule today, but she wasn’t going to miss this. After all, they are birthday buddies who share the same special day.
No one wants to be stuck in isolation on his or her birthday, least of all an 8-year-old girl. The card says: “To my Birthday Buddy.” Dansby thinks carefully about the special gift she wants to drop off. She wants Joey doing more than watching television so she picks up the new Lego Minecraft and a Twister puzzle to keep her hands and mind occupied.
Bone marrow transplant patients are more prone to infection so Joey is near the end of a 100-day isolation for her protection. It's lonely and confusing for a small child. Even though it is designed to keep her healthy. One more reason for a caring nurse to drop by unexpectedly.
Some visits are better than others. You instantly know when Joey feels good because she doesn’t stop talking. She loves visitors. Other days, she’s a little quieter.
Dansby can’t stay. She has other rounds, but just seeing that smile and look of surprise on Joey’s face was worth the extra trip.
Today is a good day.
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