Inside Gillette Blog

Camp Get-A-Well-A Recap

Posted On: 08/28/2013

Singalongs, tie-dying, s’mores, and crafts! The perfect recipe for summer camp! At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, kids of all abilities experienced the fun of summer camp last week, during Gillette’s seventh annual Camp Get-A-Well-A.

The fun included a campfire sing-along and arts and crafts, such as decorating beach buckets and tie-dying bucket hats. Kids enjoyed a variety of games, activities, and prizes, including a ring toss, face painting and bowling. Campers even got to spray silly string!

Special guests included the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Campers got up-close and personal with an armadillo, a possum, an owl and other animals. The DNR taught kids the ins and outs of fishing. Campers learned how to tie knots in their fishing line and cast. They even decorated and painted their own fishing lures. By the end, all the kids were experts!
Thanks to everyone who helped bring camp to our campers. You made lifetime memories for our kids. Parents and families, be sure to stop by next year and make memories of your own!

KARE 11 Captures Camp Get-A-Well-A Fun

Posted On: 08/28/2013

Summer is a busy time for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. That’s because many children receive major surgeries, and face lengthy recoveries, during the summer months to avoid missing valuable school time come fall.  That also means these children miss out on memorable summer experiences—like camp! 

But thanks to Camp Get-A-Well-A, Gillette patients were able to experience the fun of summer camp all last week. From campfire singalongs to carnival games, Camp Get-A-Well-A brought camp traditions to Gillette, for children of all abilities to enjoy.  Local TV station KARE 11 captured the fun of an evening visit from the Minnesota Zoo — including animals for kids to see (and, in some cases, even touch)!



Tube Feeding FAQs Answered

Posted On: 08/27/2013

Each year, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare sees thousands of children who need or currently have a gastronomy tube (also called a feeding tube) for nutritional support.  For many families, making the decision to place a feeding tube is a difficult one.  Gillette’s goal is to support families who have made the decision to have a feeding tube placed, or who are in the process of making the decision.  That’s why we’re hosting a September 19 workshop, Tube Feeding…With Love, for parents of children who have feeding tubes or who are considering one for their child. We hope you’ll take a moment to read our tube feeding FAQs—and register for this first-of-its-kind workshop

What is a feeding tube?

It’s a soft, flexible tube that can be used to give fluids, formulas and medicine to children who have trouble taking these things by mouth. The tube is placed by a surgeon, and goes through the stomach wall into the stomach.

Why would my child need a feeding tube?

A feeding tube might be recommended for a child experiencing poor growth, significant time and energy with feedings, or aspiration (when contents from the mouth or stomach go into the lungs during oral feedings, which can lead to respiratory problems).

Does a feeding tube mean my child can’t keep working on learning to eat?

Depending on your child’s needs, a feeding tube can sometimes be used in combination with eating by mouth.  In cases like this, a tube can help supplement overall nutrition for a child who is having difficulty taking in enough calories in the day.  It reduces the stress of making sure a child is eating a certain amount of calories each day.

Will my child be able to go swimming?

Yes!  A feeding tube does not limit a child’s ability to participate in any activities including swimming, laying on his or her stomach, or being with friends.  Talk with your physician about ways to disconnect the tubing when mealtimes are finished.

Is a feeding tube permanent?

Sometimes children will regain the ability to meet their nutritional needs by mouth.  If that occurs, a feeding tube can be removed.

Gillette’s nutrition and feeding services team helps families build trusting, supportive relationships through mealtime experiences.  Click here to learn more and register for Tube Feeding…With Love on September 19.

Meet us Monday - Meet Mary Frawley, Volunteer

Posted On: 08/26/2013

How long have you been volunteering at Gillette? Since October of 2011.

Why did you choose to volunteer here? I have always been interested in working with children. I did my pediatric clinical rotation here as a nursing student, and was impressed with Gillette's standard of care. The coordination of care and collaboration among providers convinced me that this is where I want to be.

Do you have a favorite story or memory from Gillette? There was a little girl here with her nanny while her brother was at his weekly appointment. She would watch for me to enter in the waiting room, and when she spotted me, she would yell "the craft lady is here! the craft lady is here!" She was so excited to make the crafts, and show her brother what she had done, that he had make his own before they left. After few weeks of this, he decided to skip his appointment so he could do crafts with us!

What are some of your hobbies outside of volunteering? It varies with the season. Currently, I'm gardening. I have several gardens with many different plants. Indoors, I have been making terrariums and "fairy gardens". I always enjoy trying something new. I also like hunting, fishing, and XC skiing.

What is one fun fact about you? So far, I have 25 different varieties of Hosta in my shady yard. Only a few thousand more to go!

Camping With Your Special Needs Child

Posted On: 08/20/2013

By Schalleen Nelson

I love to camp!  But being a single parent and taking my 6-year-old twins, France and Seb, camping is daunting.  It is easy taking France, my typically-developing child, places since I can easily reason with or distract him. But with Seb having autism and Down syndrome, this can pose a challenge for me. 

So, I asked my most adventurous babysitter if she wanted to go camping with us. YES!  Then, we moved on to the planning stage. 

Sleeping:  We have two sleeping bags that zip together, so he slept in one bag with me at night, so I knew he was warm enough.  Seb communicates with sign language, but if I’m sleeping I can’t see him signing. So I wanted him right next to me.

Waking: Seb got up at his usual 6:00 a.m. and we wanted to sleep in.  So I used technology to buy me some more zzzz’s. In went The Wiggles into the portable DVD player.  Of course he wants to eat at 6:00 a.m. too, so I kept a little container of cheerios at my side to allow him to eat.

Camp Fire:  I was concerned about Seb jumping in the fire, so an adult was either holding him securely in their lap or he was safely buckled in the stroller when the fire was lit.  He actually enjoyed watching the fire. 

Mobility:  Seb’s adaptive stroller is from Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. It weighs at least 50 pounds, but can go over most any terrain except beach sand. 

Food:  Seb loves special crackers which he only gets on vacation, so I made sure I had graham and saltine crackers available throughout our adventure. This made it a “real” vacation for him, too.

Length:  We only went for one night to ease into the camping experience for everyone involved. 

Activity:  Seb loves to swim, so we chose a park that has a natural body of water.  I also made sure I packed a bin with Seb’s favorite books and toys, for his enjoyment at the campsite.

We chose a state park since the annual state park sticker is only $12.50 instead of $25 with your handicap placard, Sunday through Thursday. Some state parks have handicap accessible trails, campsites and cabins to rent, but you need to plan ahead since there are not many of them. 

As long as Seb is kept busy he is content, and rewarding him with an ice cream treat at the end of the day if he has nice hands and is a big boy helps as well.  Of course, making sure the adults have a positive attitude throughout helps, too. 

Enjoy your adventure!


Meet us Monday - Meet Alyssa Sahli, Certified Nursing Assistant

Posted On: 08/19/2013

1. What is your position and role at Gillette?
I've been a Certified Nursing Assistant for 9 years!  I have a bachelors in social work, minor in sociology and a certificate in child advocacy studies.  I am contemplating what I will go back to school for next! 

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy gardening, cooking and baking which includes experimenting with new recipes.  Photography has also become a passion of mine that I find relaxing and fun.  Children and nature are some of my favorite things to photograph.

3. Do you have any children or pets?
I don't have any children or pets.  However in during childhood I had a variety of different animals.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to travel the world.  My top places on my list are Ireland, Hawaii, Paris, London.  My first goal on my bucket list of traveling is to travel the United States.

5. What is one fun fact about you?
Something not many people know is, I was a power lifter in high school and received the high school girls bench press record.  Still today I hold that record!

Blizzards Hit Twin Cities TV Stations on Miracle Treat Day

Posted On: 08/13/2013

Television stations throughout the Twin Cities joined Dairy Queen and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in celebrating Miracle Treat Day on Thursday, August 8.  On-air personalities, including KARE 11’s Kim Insley and Tim McNiff and WCCO’s Jamie Yucca and Mike Augustyniak, enjoyed a Blizzard breakfast—and encouraged viewers to visit their own local Dairy Queen to support children with disabilities. Coverage also aired on KSTP and FOX 9.

Gillette Opens Spina Bifida Clinic in Minnetonka

Posted On: 08/13/2013

With the largest spina bifida program in the five-state area, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare offers comprehensive spina bifida care for infants, children, teens and adults.  Now, we’re making it even easier for families to access our treatments and services!

Starting in September, patients who have spina bifida will be able to see specialty doctors at one location, and in one day, at our new Spina Bifida Clinic. It will take place at Gillette's Minnetonka Clinic on the third Tuesday of each month. We'll offer appointments with specialists in   neurosurgerypediatric rehabilitation medicine, orthopedics and urology.

Our Minnetonka Clinic also offers urologic and urodynamic studies, imaging, assistive technology services, and physical therapy assessments. If your child needs physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech and language therapy, our new Minnetonka Therapies location is less than a mile away.

Families can call 651-290-8707 or 800-719-4040 to make an appointment.

Meet Us Monday - Kent and Sophie, Volunteers

Posted On: 08/12/2013

How long have you been volunteering at Gillette? 
I started out over three years ago with my therapy dog group, Bark Avenue, doing our Wednesday night dog shows. 

Do you have a favorite memory or story to tell?
Every time I visit Gillette with my therapy dog Sophie, there is some wonderful experience, some beautiful moment.  Kids remember Sophie, sometimes even after a year or two, they look forward to seeing her...they remember "the dancing dog with the circus collar."  And then there are the "regulars,"  the ones who always need to see her when they come in for rehab.  Sometimes I hear them way at the other end of the walkway calling for Sophie.  We wouldn't miss our Tuesday mornings at Gillette, it's so much fun!

What are some of your hobbies outside of volunteering. 
I bike, love to read, enjoy cooking for family and friends.  Twice a day I walk Sophie and schmooze with the neighbors.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I always wanted to go to Chartres Cathedral in France. 

What is one fun fact about you?
I'm retired now, but in my younger days I spent some time working on cruise ships as a trip director.  Saw a good part of the world that way.

Meet us Monday - Meeting Edward Jenkins, Customer Service Representative

Posted On: 08/05/2013

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Do you have a favorite story or memory?
I'm a customer service rep in the department of registration. I have many favorite stories because I've met so many extraordinary families in my job. But if I only had to pick one…it would be about a teenager patient I met when I first started at Gillette. He couldn't walk or talk when I met him because he was in a car that was hit by a train. Through his hard work, the determination of his family and amazing care he received at Gillette, he's now walking and talking. He's a miracle - and there are so many miracles that walk inside our doors every day.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I'm developing a cooking experience for kids to encourage fun and healthy eating. I lead the experience as the character Lalo who has a magical lunchbox that springs up random healthy food (yep, I do a real magic trick). It's called Lalo's Lunchbox - check out Lalo's Facebook page: 

3. Do you have any children or pets?
I'm married but have no pets or children. Perhaps my wife thinks I'm the kid in the house…

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
New Zealand!

5. What is one fun fact about you?
I was born on leap year day. I'm really only 9 years old (but don't tell anyone).