“In the absence of gratitude, there is stress and sadness”

Gratitude during a CrisisDuring the next few days, we will all be asked to share things we are thankful for in our lives.  While it is easy to find things to be thankful for when everything is going well, what happens in times of crisis?  A recent blog post by Lisa Stevens of Wells Fargo shows why the absence of gratitude makes the hard times even that much more difficult.  Here’s an excerpt:

My 13 year old daughter and her friend had recently learned to snowboard, so the following day I decided to hang out with them. It was a gorgeous day and we were all having so much fun. When we got to the bottom of a run, my daughter hit some ice and took a hard fall. The ski patrol saw it and came right over to check on her. She seemed as if she had the wind knocked out of her, but after a few minutes said she was fine. I had this horrible feeling in my stomach that she was not okay, but convinced myself that was baggage from me always worrying about her too much because she had been sick as a baby. When we were at lunch, she said her left side was hurting. My stomach dropped further and I knew there was something wrong. I took her to the bottom of the hill to the clinic and within 10 minutes, they had put an IV in her and called an ambulance. The doctors shared with me that they were concerned the problem was with her spleen. On the ambulance ride to Truckee hospital, I promised her everything would be alright and began praying that it was a minor injury.

At the hospital in Truckee, they drew her blood and based on the levels, knew that she had internal bleeding. Next they performed a CAT scan, which revealed that she had a grade 4-5 spleen rupture (with 5 being the worst). The surgeon at Truckee was not comfortable operating on her and recommended that we go to Reno.

The rest of the details are not important; what does matter is that my daughter is going to be just fine. We spent six days in the ICU, her left lung filled with fluid as a result of the internal bleeding and she was eventually transported to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Thankfully, she was able to keep her spleen. The recovery period is six months, and she is back to playing soccer and other sports – but as you would imagine, she continues to favor that area.

Knowledge is power, particularly in times of crisis
So, why share the story? There are a few reasons. First, as a parent it was the most terrifying experience I have been through in my life, but I am so grateful for the doctors and for the outcome. My husband and I were vigilant in getting second opinions and managing the situation which resulted in the best outcome. I learned that if your child or anyone in your family is in a serious medical situation, getting multiple opinions is critical.

The biggest lesson I took away from the experience was that in the absence of gratitude, there is stress and sadness. In the dark hours of the night when staring at the monitors to make sure my daughter’s blood pressure did not drop, her heart rate did not jump too high and she had enough oxygen—I never thought about why it happened, but was so incredibly thankful that she was alive. Every hour that went by meant we were closer to her not having surgery.

The other amazing thing that occurred was the outreach of love, energy and prayers that came from our community at home and my family at Wells Fargo. The day after my daughter’s fall, I received a visit from a fellow team member (colleague) who heard what happened and came by to see me and offer support. It was such an incredible act of kindness; someone that I barely knew was there for love and support, knowing that Reno was far away from home. Another amazing act of kindness was our doctor, Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA calling me the night of the accident to check in, making sure I sent him the blood panels and kept him up to speed on what was going on with my daughter. I found out later that he had actually called me from Haiti. The list goes on and on with friends and family stepping up in ways that were extraordinary.

I do not wish this experience on anyone, but my hope is that if it does happen, you get your kids the best doctors and nurses to help heal your child. It is important to maintain a mindset of focus on asking questions, getting second opinions and looking for things to be thankful for.

Click here to read Lisa’s entire blog post on the Wells Fargo site.

How has gratitude helped you deal with a challenging life moment?  We would love to hear your story!


image courtesy of flickr/Shannon Kringen CC