Kyle & Leo visit the ward
16 Oct 2013
When I was initially diagnosed one of the first question that we were asked was if we had children. As I’ve previously mentioned we have two boys, Kyle aged 11 and Leo aged 9. The impact on children in all of this is clearly taken very seriously. It isn’t just me who is being looked after here, they do think about the whole family.
My Breast Care Nurse Amanda immediately gave me information and advice on how to tell the boys this dramatic news in a way they would hopefully be able to understand. She also said we could bring them down to the Oncology Ward to have a look around so they would know where I was being treated and could see it wasn’t a scary place to be at all. So we decided to see if they wanted to go along to have a look and luckily they were quite excited to go on this particular trip.
For Kyle I think this was more to do with the fact that Shola Ameobi (one of his favourite Newcastle United players) had opened the Oncology Ward I am treated at and there is a plaque on the wall to commemorate this “momentous occasion”. Obviously the visit would have to take place when the majority of patients had left so I arranged to take them one evening after school.
Now it appears the Oncology Nurses in Rake Lane like sweets and chocolate so we took them a large box of celebrations to say thank you for looking after us all so well. Once we arrived the first job was for a Nurse to crack open the sweets and offer them around. Then the tour could begin. The first stop was obviously the Shola plaque and we were shown the tree he planted in the small garden outside the ward. There was also a large stone owl next to the tree. I had already noticed owls all over the ward previously and it turns out this is the wards mascot. The stone owl next to the tree is called, funnily enough SHOLA!!
Next up was the room where cannulas are put in before we arrived in one of the two “day wards” for want of a better description. There was still a lady getting her treatment and the boys were fine seeing this, they politely smiled at the lady and were swiftly taken through to the other day ward which was empty. Now the boys were faced with a room full of 7 reclining chairs including a “love chair”.
I’ve never been in this ward, I believe it’s the quiet ward so I can’t possibly think why I’ve not been put in here, but I digress! Well the first chair they had to try was the love chair. This is a chair big enough for two people! I’m not sure why anyone would want to use this chair as it didn’t look very big to me and if Simon is going to work through my treatments I think it could get quite uncomfortable for us so we will probably give this a wide berth!
But the boys seemed to enjoy it! They took turns to work the reclining mechanism before Leo went off to investigate another chair that has a mechanism that tips the chair up to let people out. I’m not sure the Nurses had ever seem this chair so “tipped up” but Debbie the really cheeky Nurse helped him work it much to his delight. Kyle by this point was back chatting to the other Nurses.
We then had to visit the water fountain that Simon is constantly visiting on my behalf and the office where the newspaper article of Shola’s visit is proudly on display. We then saw the little consulting rooms where initial checks are carried out before a quick stop to see the toilets (named Buoys and Gulls) which concluded our tour!
The Nurses were truly amazing with the boys, they joked with them and answered any questions they had. They asked the boys questions and the boys politely answered, making me very proud of them, showing me again how well they have taken this news.
After we left I asked how they had enjoyed their visit. They both had and were surprised at how nice the place was and how funny the cheeky Nurses were.
I appreciate not everyone may agree with me taking them in to the ward but again there is no right or wrong way to handle this situation with your kids. Simon and I did not make them visit, we left the choice entirely up to them and they jumped at the chance so we went for it. I think it did them good to see where I am and now when they know I am going to hospital for treatment they will have a nice picture in their heads of where I am and will hopefully not be worried.
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