In the past, whenever I visited someone in hospital, I would make sure to do a bit of a hit-and-run. Hospitals smell funny, reminds me of my granny and my perpetual fear of blood, syringes, pain and passing out.
It was quite a systemic shock to realise that we would practically be living in the hospital. Not for just a day or two, but at one stage for 5 weeks without going home.
I quickly got over my thing for hospitals. Seeing amazing people doing such amazingly unselfish work with so much Faith and compassion does that.
I must also admit that we were very fortunate in having access to such good medical care in a private hospital. We had a decent restaurant, working vending machines, satellite TV, good food and very, very smart staff.
Everything was clean, working and we were really Blessed having a medical aid that paid…and paid…and paid. The total bill was over R1.5 million. The R200k I paid out of pocket, on and above the R6500 per month for the medical aid, just about ruined me financially (along with being retrenched just after treatment stopped).
But, if you are an Oncoparent you will do anything and everything for your sick kid.
Woutertjie was very weak, but also very determined to make the most of his sudden newfound freedom to lie on his back and watch TV the whole time
His “stories” became his new best friends (initially he was the first and only pediatric oncology patient in the hospital, this changed later when his new friends, Enrico, Ethan and Duran arrived).
Cars, Toy Story, Thomas the Tank Engine, Wheels on the Bus and every other Disney/Pixar/Nexxt movie you can think of became his refuge. He knew the dialogue by heart, viewed the characters as personal friends and he lived inside his story world.
That was when he was not being prodded with needles.
It is awful if you know they must get blood samples, must get a drip in or must do some or other test… and it is going to hurt him.
Suzanne and me had the attitude from the beginning that we are not going to work against the doctors and staff. We decided to make their life as easy as possible.
After we have been thoroughly “institutionalised” and the staff knew us and knew our attitude, we could understand their frustration with some parents.
There are some real idiots.
Some parents will come into hospital with their little one having some or other non-life threatening illness. I can really understand that parents are stressed when their little beloved one is ill. But coming into hospital thinking that this is a hotel, that nurses should be available only to you the whole time, that you can be grossly rude to nurses and other parents? That is just moronic.
I had to sometimes physically restrain myself from not going and “klapping” an arrogant daddy for yelling on the staff because the food was not presented to his little one at precisely 17:27, as is the custom at his favorite hotel.
The staff should really be praised for not assaulting some of these jokers. They do not realise that their antics are taking time and attention away from children that are really ill.
Well, I allowed myself to get really sidetracked with this issue.
We were starting to settle in to hospital life. The support and prayers and friends just kept on pouring in. It was in this time that Suzanne started the Facebook Group/blog. Social media is really a blessing if you want to keep people updated on what’s happening, but you often just do not have the strength to speak to anyone.