You Will Always Be Our Daisy

After suffering a growth plate fracture earlier this year, 12-year-old Delaney and her mother immediately came to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for treatment. Delaney’s journey not only inspired her to start a “shorts” drive but to also nominate a nurse whose care and compassion made all the difference in her healing process. Below is a letter written by Delaney’s mother Michelle, in recognition of Margrit Saghafi, RN for the Daisy Award. “We have been blessed to have you as part of Delaney’s story.”

On January 4, 2017 our 12-year-old daughter Delaney Jose broke her tibia at gymnastics. We were initially seen in a local emergency department and diagnosed with a growth plate fracture and told we should follow up at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center the next day.

We traveled the almost one hour to Hartford to be seen by Dr. Mack and his team. Our daughter was scared and in pain to say the least. January 5, 2017 was when we met Margrit. Delaney was immediately drawn to her and felt comfortable with her. She has the most compassionate kind voice and you can hear the genuine care and concern in her voice. She helped Delaney remove her knee immobilizer and explained the process. She was with us from the start to finish of our appointment.

As a parent it was so reassuring to feel the immediate relaxation that came over our daughter by being treated by such an empathetic caregiver. The decision was made to put Delaney in a special brace to immobilize her leg. After the physician reviewed the case and explained the treatment plan Margrit made sure that we understood and any questions we had were answered. She explained the benefits of the brace versus a cast and even cheered Delaney up, who was tentative of the brace and had been looking forward to a bright pink cast. Margrit clearly is an expert in the field of pediatric ortho nursing. We were discharged with instructions, letters for school, contact numbers for questions or concerns, and Margrit coordinated delivery of a wheelchair to our home.

In between visits Margrit was available by phone or email to answer questions, relay questions as needed to Dr. Mack, speak with the school nurse and be an advocate for our girl. Delaney immediately trusted Margrit and would often at home, if we were unsure of something, would say “Mom, call Margrit. She will know.” Margrit’s knowledge and empathy is something that is embedded in her spirit and not something you can teach in a university. Many times appointments were offered to us in the Farmington office as it is 25 minutes closer to our home but we come to Hartford so that Margrit can be our nurse. She makes the drive worth it every single time.

Our first follow up appointment provided some disappointment. The fracture had not healed as we hoped and the decision was made to put Delaney in that bright pink cast she had hoped for. Margrit felt Delaney’s pain and our disappointment with the news. She was reassuring and so sweet as Robin the cast man put Delaney’s cast on with a special twist of purple. She made Delaney feel special and important and like she mattered and told her “I have never seen Robin do this for anyone.” That day Dr. Mack delivered the news to Delaney that she would not be able to return to her competitive dance season this year. She was devastated and began to sob in the cast room. I could see the sadness in all of their faces but it was Margrit who came over and gave her a hug while she cried her eyes out from disappointment and worry. You cannot train someone to make that connection with a 12-year-old girl… it is either there or it is not.

Upon discharge from the cast room that day Delaney was bestowed upon with a lovely pair of size 3x hospital issued shorts to wear home. We had a good laugh about how these were “one size fits nobody” and we learned this was how kids from 4-18 years old went home from the cast room. This sparked an idea in Delaney’s head to start a shorts drive to collect shorts for the kids of the Orthopedics Clinic. Delaney was motivated to collect 100 pairs of shorts to present to the Ortho Clinic in just 2 short weeks. She wanted to express her appreciation for the care she had received and she wanted Margrit to be able to give a fun, cute, size appropriate pair of shorts to her patients. When we brought those shorts back to the cast room the joy and appreciation in Margrit’s eyes erased any of the sad feelings Delaney had last felt in that room. The cast came off and back in the brace we went, to follow up in 3 weeks.

Delaney had pain in her knee. I was concerned about it and when I called Margrit to run it by her she felt it was concerning enough to bring to Dr. Mack. Being a nurse myself I asked her if I was being over the top or looking for zebras when all there was were horses. Margrit was so kind to me and really validated my concerned feelings as a mother and did not ever once make me feel like a worrywart nurse mom. I cannot express the appreciation I will forever have for that. She made a personal connection with my daughter and with me. As a nurse I live in constant worry of what people will think of my assessment or my concerns, because I am a nurse. Margrit never made me feel bad or foolish. That is certainly a quality that is genuine and heartfelt. Thankfully the MRI was negative and we continued on.

We are now coming near the end of Delaney’s journey with a fractured tibia. Delaney is starting Physical Therapy and has been downgraded to a smaller, less restrictive brace. I have begun preparing Delaney for the fact that soon our every few week appointments will be coming to an end. As she slowly returns to normalcy in her busy 12-year-old girl life I would be remiss to not think that along with the excitement of being better there will be a little sadness about not getting to see Margrit regularly. Margrit is the kind of nurse that you could invite to Sunday dinner and birthday parties, one who could quickly become a mother’s friend and nail salon buddy, and a person who forever will hold a very special place in your heart.

I shared with Margrit at our last visit how appreciative we were for how wonderful she was to us. She was genuinely touched by our kind words. She does not practice the way she does to be recognized by anyone. She is a nurse who truly values and loves what she does and feels honored to be a part of her patients’ stories. As a nurse I am touched by that type of authentic person. I think sadly there are not enough Margrits in our profession. Margrit is such an amazing asset to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center nursing team. Thank you Margrit for all you have done for us and all you have done for others and will do in the future. We have been blessed to have you as part of Delaney’s story. You embody how other nurses should model themselves to be. You will always be our Daisy.

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