Hospitals are fine places, because that’s where sick people go to get better. Without them, it would be much more difficult for doctors to cure their patients. And there is another reason why hospitals are great. Do you know what that is? Well, it’s where your mom went to have you!
Sooner or later, almost everybody goes to a hospital for some reason or other. Maybe it’s to have tonsils removed, or to have an appendix out, or to have tests done for a sickness that isn’t getting well quickly enough at home, or to have a broken arm or leg fixed. The fact is that hospitals have the equipment and the instruments and the machines and the medicines and the special doctors to cure most diseases. A doctor’s office can’t have all that equipment or medicines or different kinds of specialists. And certainly, your home doesn’t have an X-ray machine and a laboratory to do blood tests, or an operating room, does it?
The main trouble with hospitals is that many of them won’t let your mom or dad stay overnight with you when you are there. Some might allow this, but many hospitals don’t. And, of course, no youngster likes the idea of being separated from his parents. But it can’t be helped sometimes, and most children realize that they are only going to be in the hospital a short time, so it won’t make too much difference.
Although a child is likely to be at least a little homesick and anxious for a day or two after entering the hospital, he will soon meet other children and enjoy the recreational and entertainment programs that many hospitals provide.
To make up for your parents not being with you, many hospitals have specially developed programs to entertain children. In some hospitals, it’s pretty much like being in a play group in school. There are special sections of the hospital set aside for children so that they will have plenty of friends to play with. And hospitals have books for the children to read and games and toys to play with. Some hospitals even have shows and movies for the children. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Would you like to know what happens to children when they go to the hospital? Here goes:
1. A child takes a pair or two of pajamas or nightgowns, and a bathrobe and slippers to the hospital as well as a comb and brush, and toothbrush and toothpaste. It isn’t necessary to take a radio or television as they have them available in the hospital. It is also unnecessary to take toys or games or blankets or pillows. They have those in the hospital, too. A favorite book or two can be brought along, if one wants to.
2. When he gets to the hospital, the child and his or her parents will go to the Admitting Office. There, the mother or father tells the people the child’s name, age, and address. They then put this information on a bracelet which is slipped on to the child’s wrist. Doing this allows all the nurses and doctors to know exactly who the child is. All they have to do is read the information on the bracelet.
3. From the Admitting Office, the child goes to his room. It may have only one bed, or there may be two, three, four or more beds in the room. It is frequently more fun to be in a room with other youngsters with whom a child can talk and play.
4. After getting to the hospital room, a child undresses and gets into bed. A whole bunch of tests are carried out on almost all patients, no matter what is wrong with them. Here are some of the things that most children experience.
a.) An examination is done by a doctor. Often, the doctor is an intern or resident, and wears a white uniform. It may be a man or a woman doctor.
b.) The nurse takes the child’s pulse and temperature.
c.) A laboratory technician takes some blood from the child’s finger or arm to send to the laboratory. (This hurts just about as much as a mosquito bite.)
d.) The nurse asks the child to urinate in a bottle so that the urine can be sent t&the laboratory for examination.
e.) An X ray of the chest is taken. (This doesn’t hurt at all.)
f.) Special tests are done, according to the child’s illness.
g.) If the child is going to have an operation performed, the skin is shaved in the area that is to be operated upon.
h.) A child who is going to be operated on the next morning may be given an enema the night before. Also, one who is to be operated on the next morning should not eat or drink anything after going to sleep at night.
5. Parents are always allowed to visit their children every day, even if they aren’t permitted to stay overnight. They will come each day and will stay during the visiting hours. Children must understand that it is sometimes not possible for the parents to stay all day long. If they did, the doctors and nurses might not be able to give all the treatments that the sick children require.
6. As soon as a doctor can tell when a child is well enough to go home, the child will be told. It is perfectly all right for a child t ask the doctor when that time will come, but a child must understand that the doctor cannot always tell for sure. Some illnesses clear up in a few days; some take much longer. And, of course, a doctor is not going to send a child home until he is completely recovered.
7. The best way to go home quickly is for children to cooperate fully with their doctors and nurses. If they take their medicines and treatments without raising a fuss, they will get well much more quickly.
A parent can help prepare a young child for a visit to the hospital by reading the child picture books about hospitals and talking about them in a general way.