When Alex was around 1 year old, her parents noticed that she was always sleepy and would get sick every morning. But once she ate, she would be fine again. They were baffled at how quickly it could resolve itself.
One morning when Alex was 3 years old, her parents couldn't wake her. Alex's mom, Jasmine, is a nurse, so she checked Alex's breathing, heart rate and temperature right away. Everything looked normal, but then Jasmine checked Alex's blood sugar. A normal reading first thing in morning is between 70 and 100. Alex's was 44.
"That was a heart-stopping moment for me," Jasmine recalled. "I knew she was in trouble, so we got her to Cook Children's as fast as we could."
Alex was immediately given the fluids and sugars she needed. Her doctor advised her parents to watch her closely. After returning home, they continued to have a difficult time waking Alex up each morning, so they brought her back to Cook Children's.
Alex was diagnosed with ketotic hypoglycemia and was quickly placed on a treatment plan. She spent a lot of time at Cook Children's, with regular visits, check-ups and several hospital stays.
Our Child Life team quickly discovered her love for art and incorporated painting, drawing and crafts into her treatments. The Child Life specialists encouraged Alex to be as messy as she wanted with her art and just have fun. When Jasmine watched her daughter mix the colors, paint and get messy, she realized that Alex uses art to express herself and as a way to cope.
"That was eye-opening even for me," Jasmine said. "I realized just how much she needed that in her life, and that was something I never would have thought of."
When Alex went home for that hospital stay, her parents bought her art supplies and encouraged her to continue to express herself through art. Alex has colored on every single wall in her family's house, she decorates with stickers and gives her friends and family painted rocks, pictures and paper hearts as gifts. Alex sees things that are beautiful and adds her own flare on them. Art is her love language.
Now, every time Alex comes to Cook Children's, she asks the Child Life team for art supplies. We are always happy to accommodate her requests because we know just how important is to Alex's journey, and the many other patients who use art as a part of their healing process.
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Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.