After more than 30 surgeries, five years of testing, and countless days in hospital, nine-year-old Pacey’s digestive system still won’t work.
Pacey has intestinal failure, but what’s causing it is unclear. Pacey’s condition started when he was two years old and has progressively gotten worse. He’s had a wide range of surgeries to help his digestion and has now had his colon removed, and a colostomy placed. He can’t eat solid foods, so he relies on total parenteral nutrition (TPN), which is a solution of essential nutrients given through an IV.
Pacey has been in and out of HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital as complications came up, with his longest stay lasting six weeks. In 2020, he was in hospital for both Christmas and his birthday, so he’s really gotten to know the Child Life team.
“Until you have a child in hospital for as long as Pacey has been, you just can’t truly understand what it’s like,” says Kim, Pacey’s mom.
Child Life specialists are experts at helping kids cope with life in hospital. They provide music therapy, put on fun programs like the Good Day Show on Children’s Hospital TV, and tend to kids’ emotional and developmental needs.
Pacey has faced many painful and uncomfortable procedures. Kim remembers one particular day that had been very difficult. Child Life specialists came to check on Pacey and help him express what he was going through. They asked him to write all the things he hates about being in hospital on a target so they could squirt paint at those words to make them go away.
But because Pacey loves the people and activities at Children’s Hospital so much, he didn’t have anything bad to write down, he just wanted to put numbers on the target for points.
Thanks to your support through the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, kids like Pacey can be cared for in healing environments designed to soothe, embrace the playfulness of children, and deliver remarkable treatment, therapies, and care.