Healing Reflections: "Charlie" by Kaejan Pederson

Feb 1, 2021 | Hannah Schlotthauer, Administrative Assistant | @schlohan

Story by: Kaejan Pederson | Mayo Clinic Health System

Dealing with a sick child is never fun for a parent. Dealing with a sick child in the middle of a pandemic is a whole different thing. When my son woke up in the middle of the night in extreme pain, I knew we were going to have to try to get into to see a provider. Understanding the pandemic and decline in office visits to stop the spread, I was very aware that this visit was likely going to result in either an Urgent Care or an Emergency Department visit.

I attempted to call for an appointment, and as expected, the very nice scheduling employee kindly informed that there were not appointments available in my area, but that Urgent care was available. She went over the instructions regarding screening at the door and that both my son and I would need to wear masks.

I placed my son in the car and drove to Urgent Care in Bloomer. The screening process was flawless and we soon were sitting in the Urgent Care waiting room. While sitting, both masked, my 6 year old son was getting a little restless. He was still in pain and was not a fan of keeping the mask on. After about 5 short minutes, a nurse came out to inform us that someone had come in through the ED so it was going to be a wait. She noted that she or a member of the team would keep us updated as we wait. While she was speaking to me, my son noticed that the automatic double doors between urgent care and the clinic opened and closed on their own, without a person pushing the button. The very kind nurse noticed he was intrigued by this and said “Oh, I think you have spotted Charlie! He’s our ghost that watches our doors to make sure people are following the rules.” My son thought this was amazing and continued to watch the doors.

Our wait to see a provider was about 30 minutes. As promised, we were updated about every 10 minutes regarding how much longer, and each team member that came to update mentioned something about “Charlie” to my son. I was so grateful for this teamwork and communication as it kept my son at ease and distracted from his pain and the small wait. My son sat still, with a mask on, and counted the amount of times the doors opened and closed.

Once we were taken back to see the provider, the provider even mentioned “Charlie” to him and asked how many times Charlie opened the doors (the answer was 12). I was simply amazed again at the teamwork and communication of this team to go the extra mile to keep a small boy distracted and happy when he was not feeling well and uncomfortable even though I am sure they were dealing with a true emergency in the back.

Thank you to this team for understanding the stress of parents with sick kids not related to COVID. Creating this culture of communication and teamwork resulted in a smooth and seamless appointment that will keep us coming back when needed. Highly recommend Bloomer Urgent Care and their team. My son still talks about how “fun” this appointment was to this day.


"Inga, Julian, and Mama"
Art by: Andrea Worthey | Eau Claire, WI

Andrea Worthey is a mother, artist, and art educator living in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She currently is the Chair of the Art Department at Menomonie High School where she teaches. Worthey received her BFA and BS in Art Education, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Worthey completed her Master of Fine Arts degrees through UW-Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts. Her active exhibition record includes shows throughout the United States, Scotland, England, South Korea and Thailand.

I chose the story about “Charlie” because I felt it was so relatable as a parent of two young children. Trying to navigate through the pandemic has made even simple tasks stressful. We have a toddler who doesn’t quite understand and a nine year-old we are trying to translate all that is going on in the world to.

When the pandemic first happened school, daycare, and work was all shut down. We had to pivot to working from home while trying to simultaneously homeschool, do our daily full time jobs via zoom, and entertain a toddler, all at the same time. This artwork is from that time.  Just as in the story they used “Charlie” to occupy the little boy and make him feel calm, my children and I played an art game when I had to be on zoom calls.  They would doodle and paint and do whatever they wanted to the paper and pass it back and forth to one another.  I am a high school art teacher so I had to demonstrate lessons via Zoom often, so we had lots of materials on hand.  Although this seems like a small thing, it gave some order to our new chaos.  In a time where we as parents were struggling to find our “new normal” and balance to our work/life. It took tons of team work as parents to help our children through this incredibly difficult time in all our lives.  In the end I look back at the beginning of the Pandemic and look at all the things we were able to do together as a family, which we weren’t always able to take the time to do before. My husband, my children and I worked as a team together, to get through this crazy time and we have some wonderful memories from a time that was so chaotic.


For more information about the Healing Reflections gallery or to get involved with the project, contact Sara Martinek.

To discuss the latest on Post-COVID Syndrome, head over to the Post-COVID Recovery discussion group.

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