It’s always hard when a child is in the hospital. It can be scary, or at least boring, for a young kid to be stuck in a hospital bed undergoing treatments, so it’s important for parents to comfort them and make them feel safe.
Sometimes, it’s the little acts of kindness that can really make a difference.
And for one woman and her daughter, that kindness came from the most unexpected place.
Le Shepard, from Chico, Texas, is unfortunately no stranger to children’s hospitals: her 9-year-old daughter, Alyssa, has been admitted countless times over the years due to frequent seizures.
“She has a genetic disorder called PCDH19 epilepsy that causes her to have seizure clusters as well as cognitive and behavior issues,” Shepard explained to Love What Matters.
As Alyssa grew older, it seemed like she was beginning to outgrow her disorder. The family went years without incident, and started to wean Alyssa off her medication.
But unfortunately, the seizures recently started up again.
After Alyssa suffered a 7-minute seizure in school, her mom knew it was serious.
“It was devastating to say the least,” Shepard said.
A second major seizure forced Shepard to take her daughter back to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas—one of the highest-rated epilepsy programs in the U.S.
Alyssa was in good care—but being back in the hospital gave Shepard flashbacks and a feeling of dread.
“It was still an emotional roller coaster to be back in a hospital room though,” she told Love What Matters.
“In my head I was right back at the beginning when they first told us the seizures might kill my daughter and I was terrified because I knew it might be the first of many stays based on how her disorder tends to go.”
But then, something happened that turned her whole spirit around. After undergoing treatments, Alyssa was in her hospital bed, with an EEG attached to her head. A nurse stopped in to ask if she needed anything.
And Alyssa had a perfectly innocent reply: she said she needed her nails painted.
It was a moment of much-needed levity for mom: “I started laughing at the request and breathed a sigh of relief that she was probably out of the woods if she was coherent enough to request a manicure.”
But she didn’t think much of it—until the nurse came back later, with some sparkly nail polish.
The nurse painted Alyssa’s nails!
Both mother and daughter were thrilled by the gesture.
Shepard was relieved her daughter got to act like a normal kid despite everything.
“The manicure absolutely made Alyssa’s day and was a bright spot in an otherwise hard day,” she said. “It also meant the world to me to see her being her normal self even with EEG leads still glued to her head.”
“It was a relief to see the little girl side of her being nourished while they worked to get her brain calmed down.”
Not only that, it was inspiring to see that a nurse would go above-and-beyond her duties, not just making sure that she improved physically but emotionally, too.
“The nurse and child life specialist who cared about Alyssa’s nails that day made her light up and helped me breathe a little easier. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for that.”