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Hospitals, books and babies

I was going to write this post last year, but life got in the way at the time, and learning to manage a little one with asthma went from tricky to manageable and so this post fell out my brain.

Milo had about three visits to the hospital, over three months from last October. Each time he caught a cold, his breathing fell apart and he needed nebulisers and steroids, along with the usual antibiotics, calpol etc… He’d have to stay in for about three days and two nights each time and to begin with he would have nebs every hour. Try getting a massively overtired baby to sleep when someone wakes him up every hour for medicine! It was exhausting to say the least.

The third time, they diagnosed asthma and confirmed that it was unusual that he had needed so much help with his breathing. We had a short trip in January but the medicine he has at home meant it wasn’t serious and he didn’t need to be admitted. Unfortunately we’ve just had another short trip. Again he didn’t need to be admitted this time, but it was an early Saturday morning (4.30 – urgh) ambulance job and lots of nebs.

When Milo’s on his medication his heart rate goes up considerably and he becomes a super hyper, hard to control, very active little man. Not so bad last year when he couldn’t walk, but blimey, very tricky last weekend. Wriggling and running all over the place. Impossible to keep him still. Except for books. Thank goodness for books.

Whenever we’ve been on a ward I’ve always been so impressed with how many books are available. I don’t know if it’s the same in every hospital, but Lewisham is packed with them. Some are old and need replacing and they could definitely do with a few new ones, but the shelves of books at little people level are invaluable.

I never really appreciated just how necessary they are. So important when you can’t leave your bed, or when you want/need someone to try very hard to sit still.

With this last trip and to calm him down after a crying fit because he was so tired, we read The Baby’s Catalogue by Janet and Alan Ahlberg. He loves this book so much and as he’s now starting to talk he likes to point at a picture and tell me what it is. In the past, lift the flap and touch and feel books have been great. He read Jack and Nancy by Quentin Blake in his first trip to hospital and loved it (I like to think he recognised Quentin Blake’s illustrative style!) and I remember him being delighted to find a copy of Dear Zoo on one of the shelves – a big board book version, bigger than the one he had at home. He wanted it for the whole day!

So, if you have any old children’s books that aren’t in too bad a shape, perhaps instead of chucking them out or taking them to the second hand store, take them to your local hospital with a children’s ward (and remember that it’s not just babies who have to go to hospital, older children and teenagers too). Believe me, they will be used and really appreciated.

Milo’s feeling a lot better. If there’s a next time, we will be taking his Maisy’s Amazing Big Book of Words with us. Hours of fun! (I’ve actually hidden it from him as we have a long car journey coming up and we’ll be needing it for that!).

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. So sorry to hear Milo has been poorly. My husband has asthma and it was only diagnosed in his mid-20s when he had a full-bolwn asthma attack after we had switched the heating on for the first time. Scary times :0(
    Do you have Nick Sharatt’s “You Choose”? This is brilliant for keeping little ones occupied. Milo might be a bit young for it yet but definitely one to look for in a year or so. Also Usborne’s “1001 things to spot” series is brilliant. We always have our copies in the car.
    Hope he feels better.

    August 25, 2010
    • natashaworswick #

      Thanks so much for the book suggestions. The 1001 things to spot series sounds right up Milo’s street. He loves spotting things in books. I dug out my old Richard Scarry books for that very reason! I might get him the 1001 things to spot – town book for his birthday.

      So sorry to hear about your husband, that really does sound frightening and so unexpected. I’m not a huge fan of central heating (I always open windows for at least a little while each day during winter to get the fresh air in). I hope he’s okay now?

      Milo’s miles better – still has a small chesty cough but managed to live it up at his friend’s 2nd birthday party yesterday eating all the cake he could get his hands on!

      August 28, 2010
  2. Annette Hogwood #

    Glad he’s better. And yes, most hospitals do have a stock of children’s books but with the same problems you mention with them getting worn out & could always do with more…so anyone near King’s College Hospital, please donate! (Mind you, for teenagers now we also fund raise for Nintendo DS and X-Boxes!)

    August 25, 2010
    • natashaworswick #

      The Nintendo’s and X-Boxes are fantastic in hospital too, we saw several kids playing with them the last “proper” time we were in, but they only had a couple of units to share amongst a big ward and if you are there for a long time (Milo’s ward buddy, Mark (13), had been there for two weeks) you really need that stimulation. So yes – more donations of everything, everywhere! Lewisham a&e has signs up asking for children’s dvds and dvd players as they are trying to replace old videos and video machines. We managed to distract Milo for five minutes with In the Night Garden, but he’s so active his interest in television is a bit fleeting! x

      August 28, 2010

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