June 26, 2023

 “Old fashioned texting”: patient and her caregivers chat via signs in windows

The clinic building faces the hospital building, and when Katy Rose was in the hospital, she began posting signs for her clinic nurse to see. It kind of grew from there.

It’s being called old fashioned texting.

A patient’s attempt to stay in touch with her clinic nurse while she is hospitalized has grown into a group chat of sorts.

Katy Rose Bennett, a 22-year-old receiving treatment at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for leukemia, wanted to stay connected to her clinic nurse and others while she was admitted for chemotherapy treatments.

She decided to post a few notes on the window of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Room located on the sixth floor of the hospital. The window faces the wall of windows across the way in the clinic where patients sit for their infusions in the Doctors’ Office Tower (DOT).

Little did Katy Rose know that nurses from the clinic floor below would also see the messages.

“When I was admitted for my chemo, my sister and I thought it would be fun to send messages to clinic, specifically to my nurse, Mackenzie Sample, who replied to my messages using the wall of windows in the clinic.

“It was a fun way to pass the time and stay checked in.”

Patient Katy Rose Bennett and nurse Mackenzie Sample show off their “Scuba Monday” hoodies.

But one day, Whitney Caldwell, a medical assistant in the Pediatric Heart Institute on the fifth floor of DOT, looked out to see the postings. Understandably, she wondered what the messages were about.

“I saw the name Katy Rose and the invitation to participate in Scuba Monday,” said Caldwell. “I was like, what is Scuba Monday?”

Caldwell said she wasn’t expecting a response and was surprised to look up to find a new post about two weeks later. Katy Rose is admitted for about one week, stays home for a week and starts the process all over again.

“We learned that Scuba is a type of hoodie by Lululemon. She and her clinic nurse both wear them and decided to make Mondays Scuba day. We posted that we wear pink on Wednesdays and tie-dye on Fridays. We saw them changing out the signs and pointed to our colored tees.”

Caldwell says she has enjoyed the interaction with Katy Rose in between checking in patients, getting vitals and performing EKGs.

Katy Rose agreed that the communications are a fun way to fill the time and didn’t expect to be excited about discovering the new posts.

During her last admission, she and her sister were packing up to head home, and her floor nurse told them to go visit the AYA room.

“We were tickled that my nurse on the floor got a call from clinic,” she said giggling. “We went over and saw the sweet messages from the sixth floor clinic. It made my week. I then posted that I would be back on Tuesday (June 20).”

And sure enough on Tuesday, Caldwell from the fifth floor posted that she hoped Katy Rose had a good weekend.

Neither clinic floor can see each other’s messages to Katy Rose, but she is able to take in all the sweet tidings from both clinics.

“We will keep posting signs and see who responds,” said Katy Rose, who is receiving her last round of chemotherapy that requires hospitalization.

She will be home about two weeks before coming back for her final scheduled inpatient therapy in July.