Top tips for hospital stays for children | Make-A-Wish
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Top tips for hospital stays for children

Jamie, wish child

Explaining hospital stays to children can be difficult and daunting. We've put together some top tips on what it's like to be on a paediatric ward, written by 7 year old Jamie (with a little help from his mum Susan!) 

jamie on a sleeper train

Hey, I'm Jamie and I'm 7 years old!

My mum has just told me the awesome news that I'm having a sleepover at Professor Peet's hospital today.

Well, maybe seven sleeps as I'm having an operation to make me feel better. I've been having some headaches you see and I feel quite tired and not very hungry.

The coolest thing ever is my hospital bed. It moves up and down and I get my own close up TV and when that goes off, I can play on my iPad or download a film - there's Wi-Fi!

I get to stay up late, have loads of my friends come to see me every day and if I'm really lucky, I'll get some presents.

I won't be on my own though as mum or dad can sleep right next to me!

The last time I was in here, we got some extra sheets from the laundry closet and made a den over my bed. It was so cool and funny as the nurses had to crawl in to it to do my 'obs' (nothing to be scared of...they take your temperature and measure how fast your heart is beating).

This gave me the idea for my wish – to go sleeping in lots of special places!  I would lie in my den and think of all the places I'd like to sleep like on a super-yacht, a train and in a castle....

jamie outside a castle

There's no school in hospital, just lots of rest and fun, knowing that when I get home a few days after, I will feel tonnes better! But you don't get bored because there is usually a play zone that is full of toys, books, board games and maybe even video games.

Sometimes, special visitors come to the ward like magicians or singers. I would like to see a dog maybe as I did miss my dog and it would be so cool to stroke one and cuddle him. Maybe, the next time, I could request one.

The nurses do everything they can to make you feel part of the family and at home whilst you're there. You can ask them anything and if you become afraid, they reassure you and stay with you until you are happy.

The worst thing is when they have to put a needle into your hand, but they have some special freeze spray so I just shut my eyes and count to five and it's not too bad. They always tell me how brave I am and that makes me feel good about myself.

Most of the time, you get a sticker and can collect a whole load. My mum usually treats me when I have earned five, which is great because then I can choose something special.

The food is not bad - no worse than school dinners anyway. You get to eat it in bed, like on a weekend at home. It’s pyjama day every day! Usually, breakfast is cereal or toast and either squash or a hot drink.

You get one hot meal and one snack meal a day, which you choose the day before. The nurses have a touch screen menu that they read out to you. There's always ice cream and chocolate.

Basically, they do all they can to make you happy so you can get home as soon as possible. The funny thing is, I really missed them when I got home.

jamie and his family having a selfie

My mum Susan was glad to be home because she said the ward could be really noisy at night with all the machines and people moving around. She took her earplugs in and could rest, as she knew the nurses would be watching me.

Sometimes, she left me on my own whilst she made a cup of tea in the Parents' kitchen or went for a shower on the ward. Other times, she might pop to the hospital shop to buy a newspaper or buy me a magazine. I always felt safe.

After your operation, when you can get out of bed, you may be able to go to the outside play area. They have lots things to play with there, like ride-ons and basketball.

The hospital corridors are so long and smooth, I'm going to take my scooter in next time! Watch out, here I come.....!!

You can read Jamie’s story and about his magical sleeping wish here.