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!).