Together is a photography project in collaboration with my 6 year old heart warrior, Kane. Throughout Kane’s life I have photographed his medical journey and written from my perspective, but as he has gotten older I have struggled with the fact that it is not just my story to tell. Together is a project about life as a hospital family, not just from my perspective, but from Kane’s perspective as well.
Before I explain this project any further I’m going to have you meet Kane. Now this video is long, at about two and a half minutes, but I couldn’t cut it (even if I did know how) because this is who he is. That and the ending is priceless.
So that was Kane…with his secrets and his video in green colour select. Kane is currently in kindergarten and loves LEGO and anything related to the police. Describe him in one word? It would have to be “pizzazzy.” Kane’s kindergarten teacher talks about adding pizzazz to their work and that word has taken on a meaning of it’s own in our house!
Kane has been a Stollery kid since the day he was born eight weeks early. Maybe even before, if you count all the fetal echocardiograms he had in utero. Kane was born with congenital heart defects and congenital scoliosis. Fast forward six years, and Kane loves the Stollery Children’s Hospital. He looks forward to going to appointments and it is now mostly a normal part of our lives.
During Kane’s bi-annual cardiology appointment on Thursday we photographed together. We each photographed things that were of interest to us and then looked through Kane’s photographs together. Kane’s appointment usually involves an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, and a consult with his cardiologist along with any residents and medical students who happen to be connected to her at the time.
Each time Kane has an echo he gets to choose a DVD to watch, though there are still some VHS options he could choose from ; ) This time he chose Ice Age, but he recognized that the Lego Movie case was much more “pizzazzy!” Kane is always totally enthralled when watching a screen and I took a couple shots from the floor over his shoulder of what he was watching. While we were waiting to make sure the tech got all the images he needed, Kane picked up his little Canon Elph point and shoot camera. I thought he was taking photos of the movie, but it turned out he was actually interested in birds etched in the ceiling tiles. I had never noticed those birds before.
Kane probably dislikes the ECG portion of the appointment the most because he hates having to take off the stickers that attach the leads. This time there was a Fingerling above the bed which kept him entertained. Easiest ECG day yet!
After the cardiology resident examined Kane and took a history, Kane asked if he could try out the extra stethoscope in the room. While our team were discussing the results of all the tests, Kane was examining himself. Then he told me I needed to listen to my heart, too. He took this shot, as well as the feature image, on my NikonD750. Pretty awesome!
My hope is Together will highlight all the positive impacts the Stollery Children’s Hospital has had on our lives. Our Stollery experiences have taught us about strength, resilience, and hope. Our Stollery experiences have taught us how to celebrate successes and manage challenges. Our Stollery experiences have shown us just how amazing the staff, volunteers, families and, most importantly, the Stollery kids are.
Together we learn.
Together we heal.