Preventing Trauma for Complex Care Patients

I first entered the new wing of the Hospital for Sick Children in February 1993 – just over 27 years ago. Since that time I have had operations, birthed babies, spent time in the NICU, attended outpatient appointments, spent time in the ER, spent time with my kids as inpatients all in this building. IContinue reading “Preventing Trauma for Complex Care Patients”

Medical Trauma

I grew up at Sick Kids. I had multiple operations over the years. Almost every surgery came with excruciatingly painful complications. One of those surgeries happened 33 years ago today. I was seven.   I remember it vividly, including being in a hospital room which – for all intents and purposes – could very easilyContinue reading “Medical Trauma”

Preventing, Protecting and Healing – Part 2: Support

What happens when we can’t prevent the procedures and experiences that we know might be potentially traumatic? When individuals and caregivers deal with lifelong disabilities or chronic illnesses, some portion of our lives is spent doing really hard things. Sometimes we get so ‘used’ to these things that we start to think of them as ‘normal’. But no matter who you are, we each have a threshold over which we start to feel like it’s all too much. Today I want to look at protection during potentially traumatic procedures and experiences that can’t be avoided, and I want to look at protection through the avenue of support.

Preventing, Protecting and Healing – Part 1: Advocacy

Advocacy is a bit of a ‘buzz-word’ in many circles, and that is definitely true when it comes to disabilities. But anytime you have buzz-words, you also end up with a lot of confusion about what advocacy looks like and how it works – especially when you are dealing with people who are vulnerable either because of their disabilities or because of the precise circumstances they find themselves in.

When Helping Hands Still Hurt – Part 2

Today I want to tell some stories of my own medical trauma, to help those of you who haven’t experienced this to start to wrap your head around what medical trauma might look and feel like and how that might impact someone, and to help break the silence for those who have experienced medical trauma as a patient or caregiver.

When Helping Hands Still Hurt – Part 1

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. So this week seems like a good week to get back to writing and to think about some of the issues that go hand-in-hand with disabilities. 

Today I want to touch on a difficult topic for a lot of people, and that is the issue of medical trauma.

“What Exactly Is a Life Coach?”

I was sitting with a friend the other day and she asked me, “Heather, what exactly is a life coach? What do you do?” And I figured maybe she wasn’t the only one who was uncertain…

Trauma, Triggers and Moving Forward

Back in 2011 I was given the opportunity to expand my birth work to include working with women who had experienced sexual abuse. In doing the training for this role, I began to read more and more about trauma and especially about triggers.

And the more I read about triggers, the more I realized that they explained the experiences I was having – overwhelming fear coupled with completely ‘over-the-top’ responses to everyday situations.

I was ending up in a fight-flight-or-freeze state over things like whether I was going to be two minutes late to meet up with someone, or whether my kids were properly behaved, or whether my husband came home a little late after work. 

The only thing was that – unlike the clients I was working with – I had no knowledge of having been sexually violated.

So I started to dig deeper.