At the park one Sunday a little boy lifted my daughter, who is 3-1/2, in a tree and she fell. I heard her cry and ran to her. Her hand was dangling at a 90-degree angle from her forearm. I knew it was not good. I calmly picked her up and walked to the car. She was crying, “Mama! Mama!” My husband got in the car and we drove to the hospital 30 minutes away. In the car, I held her close to me and immediately started to listen. It was my first reaction to hearing her cry so deeply, thanks to all the Staylistening experience we’ve had. I calmly said, ” I am right here with you. I hear you. We are going to the doctor, and he will fix your hand.” I did not give much explanation and tried to focus on our connection and give her my empathy. She continued crying for a while. Then, she slowed to a whine, and stopped.
When we got to the hospital we were able to do the x-rays and all the examinations with her on my lap. Three different nurses asked me what pain medication was given to her, because she was so calm and able to cooperate. I replied, “None.” She had a compound fracture in the 2 bones in her forearm. They put her to sleep for 16 minutes to reset the bones and gave her some pain medication. During the whole experience I kept her really close to me. She woke up sitting on me.
On he ride home she started talking to me about how she fell. The doctor gave us a prescription for her pain. I gave her a half dose the first night to help her sleep, but that was it. The next day she did not want any pain medication or show any signs of pain. She was ready to play! A few days later she was outside, climbing up a smaller tree. I strongly believe that because my husband and I were able to calmly and empathically listen to her cry, she was able to release the emotional tension and fear of the pain. She was able to cooperate and feel connected. She has totally accepted this experience, never asking for her cast to be taken off, or complaining about it.
All in all this tragic experience has boosted her confidence and deepened our connection and trust. I am so thankful for all that I have learned from Hand in Hand!
–A mother in Hawai’i