‘That was just a really beautiful thing for me as a mom as not everybody is able to see through the disability to see that human piece of him who just wants to understand what’s happening.’ – Kelli Sowa, on the Laboratory Department’s care of her son, Gabe
Sometimes it is a simple gesture of kindness and compassion that makes all the difference. That was the case for Kelli Sowa and her teenage son, Gabe, during an appointment at Gritman Medical Center.
A visit to the hospital can be anxiety-inducing for anyone, but it is especially stressful for Gabe, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. While Gabe is a “really smart and funny kid,” he can struggle with new social situations and communication.
So when Gabe arrived at Gritman for a blood draw, Kelli was not optimistic the visit would go well. Gabe was visibly nervous, shaking and sweating.
“I was really unsure–Gabe is really strong and he can have some challenging behaviors and aggression,” Kelli said. “I can’t just say, ‘hey, we have to go get your blood drawn.’ He doesn’t really understand, but he does understand there is probably pain involved. It can just cause a lot of anxiety and fear for him.”
Staff at Gritman are committed to providing exceptional care to all of our patients. And by simply showing kindness and compassion, the Laboratory Department, particularly Phlebotomists Sade and Marie, helped to put Gabe’s mind at ease.
“The one thing about Gabe is he has a really good sense for people who are kind, compassionate and gentle, and that’s what we found at Gritman,” Kelli said. “It was obvious that for Gabe, them taking time to explain everything step by step and be empathetic and kind and recognize his emotions really helped him gain trust in them. That was just a really beautiful thing for me as a mom because not everybody is able to see through the disability to see that human piece of him who is just a scared young boy who wants to understand what’s happening.”
Kelli is hopeful the positive experience will make future medical appointments for Gabe less stressful.
“There was a real element of genuine compassion and genuine desire to make him feel safe and comfortable. It makes a really big difference to someone like me or someone like Gabe. For them, it is probably just how they are, just normal. But what they do matters and makes a difference.”