Ya, I know you think I misspelled that, but I didn’t! The plural of fez (a flat topped hat) is fezzes or fezes. I thought fezes looked pretty similar to feces, so I opted for the first spelling and “Our Superheroes Wear Feces” is a way different story than I intend to tell at this time (but I’d like to keep my options open). Anyways, let me back up and let you know how we became involved with the Shriners. When Ben was young, my friend Kim was a great support to me. She called me one day and said “did you know that there is a hospital that deals with kids like Benjamin?” “Ummmmm….no…do you mean the clown guys?” I asked dubiously. “Yes” she said and then told me how she had run into another girl whose child had similar issues and was a patient at the Shriners. Hmmmmm…. I quickly consulted with my friend Google, and sure enough it was true! The Shriners have two main specialties – to oversimplify it – bones and burns. Interestingly, I have sort of known about the Shriners my whole life through my extensive knowledge of the Circus and the Flintstones. However, I really had no idea what they really did. So, I called my acquaintance Calum (Addetto Menswear), a Shriner, and asked him about it. He quickly hooked me up with the Shriners in Edmonton (Al Shamal Shriners). Our local doctor in Edmonton was quite open with us that he was not comfortable doing the surgery we all suspected that Ben needed as he hadn’t done cervical spine surgery for quite some time, so with a few bumps on the way, the transition was made…and here we are.
The Shriner’s hospital is an industry leader in pediatric orthopedic care. The hospital itself is essentially a private hospital which receives no funding (that I know of) from the Federal government (and I asked). They are funded by Shriner’s International and rely heavily on donors and Shrine Temples for support. The floor I am staying on is dedicated to the 17 Temples that greatly contributed to the Exceptional Care 4 Kids fundraising campaign, one of which is our own Al Shamal Shriners in Edmonton. Not only does Shriner’s International cover all of our health care needs during our hospital stay, which I think will be easily over $1,000,000, our local Edmonton Shriners pays for Ben’s and my flights to and from appointments, transportation to and from hotel and airport and hospital, meals when we are staying for clinic visits, my meals while I am here, and discounts at hotels for our family visits. This is essentially the same for all the patients here….and they come from all over Canada, Mexico, South America and beyond! The idea behind the Shriners is all about people helping other people. If I walked downstairs right now and asked to go to the grocery store, I’m pretty sure one of the volunteer Shriners would grab the van and gladly bring me there. That’s how they are. Every single aspect of our care is so far above and beyond what any person could expect in a hospital. The hospital we are in now was completed in the fall of 2015. The Shriners raised 130 million to open up its doors. It has 22 patient rooms (most patients are in and out in a few days), four OR’s and over 29,000 square feet dedicated to research, which is critical when moving forward. Hmmmm….just a thought here – maybe some of that research can be used to update the Frankenhelmut a bit. This is the only Shriners Hospital in Canada.
The first Shriners Hospital for Children opened in Canada Feb 18, 1925
First patient – Harvey Jones – I like his name – it’s simple and understated.
Patients that year – 100
Patients 2014 – 17,000 out-patients and 1,000 surgeries
One of the expressions the Shriners have is Shriners can’t put a price on what they do for kids, so they do it for free. (www.alshamalshriners.org) When a nurse today was asking Benjamin who his favourite superhero was, I felt my eyes tear up a little to think about all the fezzy (yes, that’s a word) superheroes in our life. Thank you Shriners!!!
Ben is doing ok today – he has been busy, but he got frustrated easily today, which is not at all like him. When I pushed him to do his home reading after school, I felt like I might have broke his spirit a bit, so I had to back off for a while. I had a good talk with an adult patient tonight who had been in halo traction three years ago. He gave me some good insight on some of the frustrations he felt and some of the challenges he dealt with daily. I was happy to talk with him. I feel the pressure about all the school we will be missing, but I also know that I need to pace myself with my demands on him. Tomorrow we have school, xrays, and a bandage change. For Ben, the bandage change is almost equivalent to surgery – he absolutely hates it. We hope to have it removed tomorrow.