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Traveling to Doernbecher? Tips and tricks from an experienced Mom... By Lauren White

So you’re going to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Over the years our family has been up there quite a bit and we have learned some tips and tricks that might help your family make the process a little smoother. 

Hi, my name is Lauren and I am married with two kids. I have a daughter who is 9 and a son, Bauer, who is 7. We live in Medford. Bauer was born with a Rare Chromosome Disease that resulted in Developmental Delay, a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, low muscle tone, mild/moderate hearing loss, and vision issues. For the first few years of his life he ate through a g-tube. 

On the night Bauer was born we found out that he had Tetralogy of Fallot. We were told he would have to go to Doernbecher so he could have it repaired, but we weren’t sure exactly when. It ended up that he required his open heart surgery at three months old. It was a terrifying time, but we found great comfort from the doctors and nurses at Doernbecher. I think what I took away from our first visit was that these practitioners see the full spectrum of kids every single day. They get it. And that’s very meaningful to a new parent of a child who experiences disability. 

So, here are my tips that I’ve collected! If you have other great ones I would love to hear about them, too.

1. Valet parking: there is free valet parking up at the entrance to Doernbecher. Parking can be difficult, so take that worry off your list! I’ll be honest, even if we’re headed to Casey Eye, Physician’s Pavilion, or OHSU itself, we still use the valet there. It’s a nice walk through the skybridge and fun for Bauer to ride the elevators!

2. Grab a wagon: if you’re anything like me you are schlepping a ton of stuff and a kid with you. There is always a large stash of free red wagons to borrow for the day right by the entrance to the hospital. 

3. Starbucks: not much explanation necessary. It’s a life saver.

4. Hidden playground: I’m shocked at how long it took us to find this playground and am now determined to make sure everyone I know knows about it! Just past the Starbucks there is a set of double glass doors. If you go out you’ll see some tables and chairs. Keep going around the corner and you’ll find a large play structure good for letting off a little steam. 

5. Free Tram Ride: each time we visit we ask for a free family tram pass. They usually store the free passes at the check-in desks all throughout the 7th Floor offices. Just ask your doctor!

6. Making Your Appointment: a) if you have multiple appointments make sure to mention that to a scheduler. We now tend to bunch together Bauer’s 4 annual appointments on the same day and always ask for someone to assist us with getting it all scheduled smoothly. We tell them what we need and the days that work for us, and they make it happen. You might also inquire with your local pediatrician for help scheduling multiple appointments. 
b) Be clear that you are from Southern Oregon. When making and confirming appointments, I make sure to mention that I am coming up from Medford. I truly believe this helps keep you appointment from being cancelled and/or makes sure you get a heads up earlier if the appointment time does indeed need to be changed. 

7. Volunteer play stations: while waiting for your appointment there are tables setup with volunteers ready to play. They have all kinds of crafts and coloring activities to keep the kids busy! This is especially helpful when we have to bring big sister along with us. 

I hope you have a safe trip and I wish good health to you and your family.


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