Daily Archives: March 31, 2017


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Some children are sick for prolonged periods, warranting the need for at least a parent, guardian or loved one to stay with them in hospital. This provides the much needed companionship, warmth and familiarity that children miss out on by being hospitalised. Hospitals across the country do a lot to support parents when their children are sick in hospital. One of such fantastic support provided is accommodation. By accommodation I don’t necessarily mean providing a place for a parent to stay outside the hospital ward. I also include the acceptance of the fact that at least one parent is allowed to sleep beside their child overnight. Usually hospitals provide beds for at least one parent beside the child on the ward .The bed can be a folding bed or sofa bed depending on what the hospital can afford. This humble boarding “accommodates” the parent right next to their child. Provisions like these seem like the logical ones for hospitals to make for parents. However, in the past this was not really the case. I was once told by an experienced and retired nurse that in the good old days (over 20 years ago now) parents were only allowed to come into hospitals for visits. As time went on, these visits led to children endlessly longing for their parents. Not long after, the whole visitation arrangements that enabled parents see and interact with their kids by visiting the wards were scrapped. This decision had far reaching effects on the children because they were left feeling sad and abandoned. Thankfully many years later, the decision to allow parents stay overnight with their sick children was made. Now parents can enjoy the privilege of being able to nurse our children back to health alongside the healthcare providers within the hospital environment. Hospitals now allow parents visit their children at anytime with at least one parent expected to stay overnight with the child where possible. Hospital admissions can be planned and unplanned. In some cases admissions may occur on an emergency basis. Emergency admissions are not pre-planned they usually occur as a result of an unexpected deterioration in the condition of the child being cared for. When this is the case, some hospitals are able to provide emergency accommodation for both parents but not usually including siblings. This mostly happens in the case of children needing intensive care. Otherwise, hospitals customarily provide accommodation for only one parent by their child’s bedside. Recently we fell into the category of parents needing emergency accommodation as a result of an interesting and somewhat unexpected reason. Otito had outgrown the baby cot provided by the hospital. We certainly could not blame a child who had stayed one whole year in the hospital for growing. As weeks turned into months, we saw this progress but could not really have a formal conversation about a transitional bed for him. There always seemed to be so much going on with his treatment medically which made this type of conversation very secondary. In the meantime, Otito decided to entertain the doctors with a very disturbing acrobatic display during the last “ward round”. As you can imagine, his doctors were in horror. In an instant, the conversation about a transitional cot for him became began. It was clear that something needed to be done to ensure his safety. Somehow, without realising it, Fred himself had given us the nudge we needed. Something was finally being done to make his sleeping arrangements safer. By morning, a very large “specialist” cot-bed became our only option. It was humongous in fact the bed looked like a cage. It was a big transparent box-like bed. It was as wide as it was high. His hands could hardly reach the top of this new cot-side. He was definitely safer in this bed and perhaps even too safe. Our joys were short live as in no time, we began to experience some slight technical issues with the new box-bed. We missed the old cot bars because we could not reach him easily in the bed. We also found that the emergency resuscitation kit was difficult to connect to him whilst in the bed, That was how huge the bed was. We also lost the space for the parent bed beside this new cot. Unlike the old baby cot which had sliding sides to carry him in and out, this new cot bed had a large door which opened outwards, needing more room to operate the bed and robbing us of the space in the already small corner, It was agreed that we needed additional accommodation to be provided for us – Otito’s parents. It would have been a bit straightforward if I was the only parent. Or if I had a female partner. I say this because the only emergency accommodation available was for women. In a place called “the mother’s unit” women were being accommodated. Men were not allowed anywhere near the unit. I had always heard of “the mother’s unit” in the hospital and automatically assumed that there was also a father’s unit. Even though I had never heard it being mentioned, I still assumed that it was because fewer fathers stayed in hospital compared to mothers. Never in my thoughts did I imagine that it had never been mentioned because it did not actually exist! In 2017 it was highly inconceivable that a provision was being made for women and not for men. In an era of equality. A time when human rights had taken centre stage. Where the adage what is good for the goose is good for the gander was seen being made apparent even when it was irrelevant. Well I found this out rather unceremoniously at the event of Fred’s growth and development. Considering all the bad news we have had to deal with in the last year, the one positive news that Otito was growing as he should, finally doing what he should naturally do without any help- growing had to be marred […]

Hospital life: Father’s needs matter


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This is going to be a very interesting write up. I say interesting not because I think that its contents might interest you but because of what I am actually doing while writing. One setback a writer has is the inability to show in real time what he or she intends to describe especially when the discussion is about is something in motion at the time the writing is supposed to be taking place. What am I doing? I am trying to tell you what I am doing now.  Now….I am painting a picture of a city. Actually I am colouring it in more like! I certainly cannot be trusted to paint because I am too fidgety! Earlier…. I found myself in a shop… It was a stationary shop in town. This one was with a twist. Everything was so colourful… so beautiful. There were tons of notebooks, jotters, journals, diaries, pencils, sticky notes, pencil cases… I was spoiled for choice. It was the most beautiful stationery shop I had ever been in. There was every colour of the rainbow in that shop. I got so excited that I felt like a child again. In an instant I began missing my mom. I had that dejavu feeling-  like she was somewhere in the shop asking me to stop staring at everything. The thought made me smile because deep down inside I was happy she wasn’t there to stop me. What’s more, I had my own money to spend! Why am I telling you this? You see the feeling I was experiencing was one I liked to give myself from time to time. We all go through different forms of stress in fact who doesn’t? Stress is part and parcel of life. We all say we like to wind down sometimes. But how do we do that?  Do we perform actions that make us feel more stressed without even realising? Or do we actually find ways to wind down? I have always been the sort of person to buy myself a birthday present every year. Call me self-indulgent but I’ll tell you one thing: …“ everyone needs to be spoiled”… Waiting for someone to spoil you can be overrated. It might come with its own baggage. Who better to take you out eh? You know what you like … you know the restaurants you love to dine … you know what you love to wear … you know where to go … and so on. So you see, I was not wrong afterall… You have all the answers!!! Giving yourself a treat does not have to be expensive. I love a spot of window shopping any time any day. As the Queen of impulse buying, is my only survival strategy. Some people like to eat… Sweet chocolates biscuits you name it. Getting yourself to walk past a cake shop might be enough to add that extra spark to your day. Whether you actually buy something is up to you. Do you remember that thrill … that buzz … and that feeling of excitement you felt as a child when you were invited to one of those colourful places that made you daydream?  Well, you can still let yourself feel that buzz again even now you are grown-up. The good news is that unlike when you were a kid, there is no one stopping you from buying what you want now! So every once in awhile when life gets as stressful as we know it can get, take some time out to give yourself a treat. Finally … I have just completed that painting…sorry…colouring. The splash of colours on the paper is one of the things that always excites me. It sets my imagination ablaze. The thrill of witnessing the transformation of a white piece of paper as it turns slowly into something beautiful is what I find most elating. I feel like no matter how useless I am or  how hopeless things are, this provides a chance for me to do one thing right. Never mind the fact that my only contribution to the masterpiece is a few strokes of my colouring pencil, it is my own part and I got that right!  It passes the time and helps me feel useful. When we feel useful, then we can feel happy and glad to be alive. So even though you don’t know me and I don’t know you, we have one thing in common: we are all people trying to do the best we can with the one life we have. Life is too short not to take time out to spend time doing something for yourself. Try it today. Live free! Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

An easier way to spoil yourself