This week in my Child Life course we are getting an introductory lesson on preparation and what it means to prepare a child for a medical procedure. This lecture, filled with tons of information and example procedures, shot my memory back 14 years to when I was the child being prepared for my Hickman or NG tube insertions. I found myself slightly emotional reading through the lecture and chose to share my real thoughts with my classmates.
One of the key reasons that I want to enter into the field of child life is to share my story. I don’t mean I want to sit down with every child and tell them that I was sick when I was a kid too and that it can turn out ok. No. I want to share it with them in a way that maybe they won’t know I’m even telling them a story. I want to build a relationship with the children and families I work with so when they say something hurts, and I say that I know it does, they know that I really do know.
Being a child in the hospital sucks…there’s no other way to describe it. I can’t eloquently put into words just how crappy it feels to know that your friends are at school and enjoying recess and you have to sit in an uncomfortable bed, in a small room, with strangers constantly coming in and out of your room to poke and prod you. Child Life made being in the hospital okay. They made me think, “I don’t care if my friends are enjoying recess, because today I decorated my whole room and raced my IV pole down the hallway”. They made me feel like it was okay to not feel well, like it was okay that I was so ill and that it was okay that I couldn’t do the things I used to. They accommodated for me and advocated for me. And that’s what I want to do for others.