Hi, I’m Suzanne Prestwich, the medical director of the Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I’m looking forward to sharing stories of our patients with you each month. I work as a pediatric hospitalist—a growing term in medicine for those of us who specialize in taking care of patients while they are staying at a hospital.
I’m also a mother to two elementary school aged boys, ages 7 and 9. When I’m not at work, you might meet me at a soccer game, a Cub Scout activity, or at a school play. I am a regular “Dr. Mom.”
Often, while at one of my kids’ events, other parents ask me what I do for a living. I explain that I work on Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient pediatric rehabilitation unit and take care of kids with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and kids recovering from surgeries. Then, smiles turn to frowns and furrowed brows.
And they ask, “Isn’t that depressing?”
It’s a fair question, and maybe it seems unbelievable to them when I respond, “No, it’s the best job in the world. I get to see amazing things!”
This blog will introduce you to the children of Kennedy Krieger and how they make our jobs like no other. You will meet children who’ve overcome illnesses; children who were told they would never walk again, and then did anyway; and parents who were incorrectly told by others that their child’s future held no hope. And you’ll meet our staff who shares in those journeys of sorrow and hope.
Many could consider the inpatient rehabilitation unit to be a “parent’s worst nightmare.” After all, a child doesn’t arrive at our unit unless something terrible has happened. It may have been years ago – perhaps a preterm delivery of premature baby. It might have been weeks ago with an accident or devastating illness. But, despite the odds, I have seen children overcome illness and injuries that many would call hopeless. I have seen miracles at Kennedy Krieger.
How many people can say that about their job?! I hope that by sharing the stories that inspire me, they will show you why I believe I have the best job in the world even while walking the floors of a unit some consider ”a parent’s worst nightmare.”