The army of parents helpers.
Yes, I like to think of all the friends I have made along my way on this journey of parent caring as an army. A legion, in fact a confraternity! There is something very comforting about meeting and knowing parents on the hospital ward where your child is being cared for.
It feels like we all share in that unity of purpose. We all find ourselves trying to be the best parents we can be to the children who are all severely unwell. There is a comfort in sharing our journeys together.
I like to group the parents into three categories:
- the short stayers
- the long stayers
- and the returnees
Yes, it is pretty self-explanatory. This short stayers come to the ward and stay for a short while. Some are out within a matter of days. The longest ones here stay a couple of weeks. The long stayers are the hospital Methuselahs like myself. They stay for months and sometimes years. While the returnees have been on the ward for either long or short stays in the past and find themselves back again staying for a long or short time. It doesn’t really matter.
I have struck many a friendship on the ward. They are very sincere and true friendships. Unlike other friendships – normal ones that happen in your normal lives outside the hospital, these hospital friendships have no baggage. It is just simply struck over a chat, a cuppa or on a corridor while watching the kids play.
There are no complications where these friendships are concerned. These friendships do not depend on class, money, status or things like that. Life humbles us like a pack of sardines and we find ourselves brought together by fate. Our paths cross as a result of something otherwise negative – sickness. These beautiful friendships blossom and grow amidst our struggles. We seldom plan to strike them but the positiveness and strengths we draw from them keep them alive.
We share and unburden our pains with one another without any fear of being judged. There is a comfort in knowing that when you say the weirdest thing about how you feel, the listener not only understands but chances are that they have felt that same way before. We share thoughts we cannot even disclose to our otherwise nearest and dearest. We moan without worrying too much about boring the other party. It is an interesting type of moan where we all take turns. We listen because we learn from one another. We don’t switch off midway like our regular friends who we feel tend to moan about things we do not consider to be problems and who feel we are broken records.
We rejoice when the other party rejoices over the progress of their child. We are allowed to feel jealous and wish for the same progress without being judged. We are sad when we hear the other parents kids are deteriorating. We whisper prayers for each other. We draw strength from one another and pull ourselves along the path.
My friends feel like a support group because in no time, we exchange contacts and carry on our friendships even after the long/short stays. With these army of parent helpers as I love to call them, we are never truly alone. It is always interesting to meet them when we return to the hospital. It is of course sad to be back but for some of us with seriously unwell children, hospitalisation is unfortunately part of our existence. For this reason, it is inevitable that children’s admissions coincide and we see again. It is always fun to catch up on all the progress and gossip from the last time we were on the ward.
Thanks for reading.
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