“Can I push the button?”

“Can I push the button?” The pretty little toddler in front of me asked. It might sound like a random question, but it made my day!

That morning when I walked into this particular patient’s room to do vital signs, the first thing her dad had said was “please, make her laugh.” With the previous sets of vitals they’d been able to make her laugh, so she’d dealt with having her vitals taken a little better. I tried. Really I did. I think it was just too early in the morning for her to appreciate my efforts. I took her older brother’s vitals first to show it didn’t hurt and he didn’t mind. My patient didn’t care. I tried to get her to play with the owl attached to my name badge, but she wouldn’t. A lot of kiddos like to push the button on the back of it to make the eyes light up, but she refused. It didn’t matter what I tried she just screamed. Finally, we got the vitals done and I escaped to let her parents calm her down. Sigh. Not my favorite way, but it definitely happens.

Later in the day she was up walking the halls with her parents, and she would peek at me shyly. Even throwing a smile my way now and then. When it was time for noon vitals she was completely different. She knew that she would be going home later, and it was the last set of vital signs, so she smiled happily and talked to me in her cute little voice while I took her blood pressure. The thermometer under her arm didn’t phase her in the slightest, even though it had caused many tears only a few hours before.

My favorite moment of the day, though, was as she and her family were walking out of the unit upon dismissal. She walked over to me, pointed at my name badge and asked me, “Can I push the button?” To me, it was as if she was saying “Sorry about this morning. I was just being a grumpy kid. I really did want to play with you, but had to wake up a little first. Thank you for taking care of me. You did a good job.”

Of course, I knelt down and handed her my owl, so that she could push the button. Then, I waved and said goodbye as she went home. One more patient taken care of and safely handed back into the care of her family.

Owl

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