Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Bedtime Story (18/7/2018)

This week, I've been thinking a lot about a close friend of mine who is unwell.  This story is dedicated to her - may she make a full recovery and be back to her fabulous self, soon!

Apologies for the lack of a podcast all July.  My throat is very sore and just not up to recording the stories.  Here's hoping the podcast will make a triumphant return in August.

Charlie's Hospital Stay

Charlie blew out a long huff of air, as she watched her mum packing a bag.  "Maybe they'll let me come home today?  I might not have to stay overnight?"  She suggested, holding Grimpy, her teddy bear, very close to her chest.

"Sweetheart, you heard the doctor at your appointment, last week," her mum replied, patiently.  You have to stay in hospital just one night, so they can keep an eye on you."

Charlie rolled her eyes.  "But it's not like they're cutting my leg off or anything!  I'm only having my tonsils out.  It's no big deal!"  Charlie's cheeks turned red as soon as she spoke the words - she knew she was lying.  Ever since the doctor had told her she had to have an operation to remove her tonsils, Charlie had barely slept, for worrying.  She had never stayed overnight in hospital before and she'd never had an operation!

"I promise you," her mum replied, breaking Charlie's thoughts, "it's not going to be too bad.  You'll be back home this time, tomorrow."

Charlie sighed and cuddled Grimpy even closer.

She didn't say a word all the way to the hospital.  She sat in the back of the car, watching trees, houses and shops pass by in a blur.  Her baby brother gurgled from his car seat.  Mum and Dad tried to chat from the front.  But Charlie stayed silent, lost in her own little world.

The hospital ward was bright and busy.  There were pictures of balloons painted on the walls and the little girl in the bed next to Charlie's waved, as she sat up, drawing pictures.  A friendly nurse came and put something called a "cannula" in Charlie's hand, which she said was going to help the doctors put medicine into Charlie, so she would fall asleep for her operation.  The nurse had to use a needle and Charlie jumped.  It stung!  But it didn't hurt for very long.

Everyone was talking around her, but Charlie was too nervous to join in.  Before long, a smiling man came over and told Charlie it was time to go to theatre.  Charlie sighed, wishing it was a theatre like the one Nan had taken her to at Christmas, to watch a pantomime.  But she knew that this theatre was where they performed operations.  Her stomach lurched as she lay back on a trolley bed and was pushed down the corridor.  Mum walked beside her, holding Charlie's hand.  Mum had Grimpy tucked safely under her arm.  She promised he'd be waiting for her when Charlie woke up.

Finally, they reached some doors Mum wasn't allowed to go through.  Mum gave Charlie a kiss on her forehead and as the doors closed, leaving Mum on the other side, Charlie took a long, shaky breath and tried not to cry.

A lady wearing a green hat and a matching green outfit, came over to say hello.  She was smiling and talking, whilst some other people fussed about, around her.  "We're going to put some special liquid into your hand, now," she told Charlie.  "It'll make you go to sleep, okay?"

Charlie's lower lip wobbled and she struggled to nod her head.  This was it - the moment she'd been dreading!

A strange, cold sensation flowed up Charlie's arm, as the lady injected a needle into the cannula in Charlie's hand.  She lay back and stared at the ceiling, waiting to fall asleep.  Her dad had told her to count to ten, but Charlie was so nervous, she was counting much quicker than usual and she was horrified when she reached ten and was still awake!  She wanted to open her mouth and shout, but she suddenly felt very strange and woozy.  Out of nowhere, she blinked once, twice and fell into the deepest sleep she had ever had.

When Charlie woke up, she was a bit confused.  There was a radio playing, somewhere, but it seemed ever so far away.  She was in a small room, with peachy-pink walls.  Her throat felt a bit sore and she felt very groggy, but other than that, she was fine.  She could hardly believe that the operation was over - it felt like only five minutes ago, she'd been counting to ten in her head!

"Oh, hello there!"  A man grinned.  "We've been waiting for you to wake up.  Your parents and your baby brother can't wait to see you."

Charlie frowned.  This definitely wasn't the ward she'd been on, before.  "Where am I?!"

"You're in Recovery," the man replied.  "This is where people come after their operations, just to wake up nice and slowly, whilst we keep an eye on you."  He smiled again.  "I'll take you back down to the ward, soon.  Everything looks okay."

Before long, the man was as good as his word.  The brightly lit ward came back into view as Charlie was wheeled down the corridor.  She saw the same little girl in the bed next to hers, no longer colouring anymore, but instead sitting up and talking to a lady that Charlie assumed was her mum.  And even better, Charlie's own parents were sitting, waiting for her.  Charlie's baby brother was smiling as he perched on Dad's knee.  To Charlie's amazement, there were two brightly coloured balloons tied to the little cupboard next to her bed, and Grimpy was sitting on top of the cupboard, next to a bubblegum pink, cuddly unicorn toy!

"You've been so brave," Mum explained, as Charlie gazed at the gifts.  "We wanted to get you to something nice to come back to."

"I love it all," Charlie beamed.  She picked up the unicorn and stroked its rainbow hair.  "I'm going to have to think of a name for this little one..."

"What about Beau?"  A voice piped up.

Charlie looked round.  The little girl in the bed next to hers was grinning over at her.  "I like the name Beau, because it sounds like the end of the word 'rainbow,' and that unicorn has really cool rainbow hair!"  She waved her hand.  "My name's Beth, by the way.  I broke my leg and I had to have an operation on it."  She pointed down to a plaster cast on her leg that Charlie hadn't even noticed, before.  "It was so gross," she laughed.  "The bone was starting to stick out and everything."

Charlie pulled a face, but she laughed, too.  "I'm Charlie," she said.  "And I like the name Beau!  Thanks for naming my unicorn!"

Soon, a lady in a stripy apron came over to Charlie's bed, with a big bowl of ice cream.  "Here you are," she told her.  "This will make your throat feel better."

Charlie couldn't believe it - first she'd gotten a cool new toy, then she'd made a funny new friend and now she had ice cream?!  Being in hospital suddenly wasn't so bad.

In fact, soon, Charlie was enjoying herself rather a lot, despite still feeling a bit tired and fuzzy from her operation.  She didn't even mind when Mum and Dad had to take baby Ben home.  They kissed her goodnight and asked if she was okay.  Charlie pointed to the little TV monitor by her bed.  "Beth's going to show me how to get cartoons on TV," she giggled.  "I get to wear headphones," she added, pointing to a pair.

That evening, Beth ate chicken pie and mashed potato for her tea, whilst Charlie had a few bites of a sandwich.  She wasn't feeling very hungry, but she was in a much happier mood than she'd been when she came into hospital, earlier that day.  After dinner, the girls chatted about school, their friends and what their favourite hobbies were.  It turned out that they both liked collecting shells from the beach and they didn't live very far away from one another!  Charlie thought it felt a little bit like a sleepover, albeit a slightly strange one, with nurses coming over to check their blood pressure throughout the night.

Beth showed Charlie the little shower room, where they could clean their teeth before bed.  She also introduced Charlie to another little girl called Sabrina, who was in the bed opposite Beth's.  Sabrina had bad asthma, and she showed Charlie how she had to take her inhalers.  She was nice, too.

When Charlie's eyes finally started to close, once again, she couldn't believe what a big day she'd had.  She'd been braver than she ever thought she could be, and now she'd realised that sometimes, even the big, scary things don't turn out to be half as bad as you imagine they will.

With the soft bleeping of hospital machines in her ears, Charlie drifted off to sleep, with her mind full of ice cream, friends and rainbow-haired unicorns...


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