I thought milk & doughnuts was the perfect home remedy for BB’s pneumonia, but it turns out I was wrong. Struggling to breathe and with her little chest heaving, we ended up in A&E.
She was all floppy like a ragdoll and was immediately fitted with an oxygen mask and admitted. Seeing Misery Guts carrying her limp little body in his arms with a nurse following behind her with an oxygen canister will stay with me for a long time.
Numerous tests and a chest x-ray later and it was clear we were going nowhere fast. Every time we took the oxygen mask off, even for a sip of water, her monitor would start beeping because her oxygen levels were too low. She was really quite poorly.
But slowly and surely she started responding to treatment and after three long days and nights we were finally able to take her home. I could have hugged the doctor when he said we were free to go.
Inevitably, as she started to get her mojo back, being stuck in the same bed in the same room meant it wasn’t long before boredom kicked in. So how can you make a hospital stay fun for kids?
Here’s how we coped:
1. Make hats out of vomit bowls. All you need is some felt tips or crayons and a vomit bowl. And there are plenty of those.
2. Magazines. I swear we’ve spent our entire child benefit payment this month on those over-priced kids’ magazines, hospital car parking and c**p food. My tip with the magazines is to look for ones with longevity – one we got came with no less than 400 Disney princess stickers which kept her occupied two days in a row so was actually quite good value for money.
3. CBeebies. A TV on a retractable arm next to BB’s bed was a godsend and meant she could watch all her favourite shows. If your hospital isn’t so well equipped you could stream it on a phone, laptop or tablet.
4. Glitter. I’ve never met a four-year-old who doesn’t like glitter, and with some card and glue the possibilities are endless. Even if I still haven’t managed to get bits of it off BB’s scalp.
5. Colouring in. Like glitter, another good sit-down activity. The nurses brought round pictures every morning for the children to colour in, and colouring books were among the presents friends and family sent in to keep her occupied. I quite enjoyed it too.
A word of warning though: all these treats & attention means we’ve taken home a proper little Veruca Salt who would ‘quite like’ a TV like the one in hospital next to her bed, as well as a bed that ‘moves’ (she means with a button that elevates the mattress so she can sit up).
Her ward also featured a window with one of the best views in Brighton, and as we were driving home she said: “But I don’t want to go home mummy, because then I won’t be able to see the lights flashing on Brighton pier when I go to sleep”.
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