HAVING A CHILD HOSPITALISED can be traumatic for both child and parents.
Brisbane mother of four, Becky Wauchope has drawn on her experience with her son’s lengthy hospital stays, to write a book that helps ease the journey for both parents and child.
Aptly called Help! My Child’s in Hospital, the cleverly illustrated book is based on Becky’s experience with her youngest son, Gus and how she coped with his endless hospital stints. Gus, now a healthy 12-year-old, was two when diagnosed with a form of tuberculosis called atypical mycobacterium – extremely rare in children. The condition caused the rapid growth of a large benign mass/tumour between his lung and heart.
The family was living in the UK at the time of diagnosis and Becky was forced to stay behind while Gus endured endless treatments and the rest of the family left for Australia.
“I was told we couldn’t leave for our Australian emigration and that Gus would remain in hospital for a while, as something was very wrong with his breathing and they needed to find out what it was before he could safely fly. I felt as though my world had turned upside down!” recalled Becky.
Gus visited a total of five different hospitals over a gruelling three years, experienced 18 general anaesthetics and a year of invasive drug therapy. Through this experience, Becky was able to observe different hospitals, their facilities and depth of care. Gleaning from her own UK Nursery Nurse training, and her intrinsic motherly instincts, she became increasingly adept at preparing Gus for his next visit and all the ensuing treatments.
“I had to learn very quickly how to cope, how best to love and protect my child in this new environment and how to work alongside all the medical staff,” she said.
Becky also noted first-hand the struggles experienced by families coping with very sick children and was able to offer empathy and compassion. The book, Help! My Child’s in Hospital is a progression of that empathy. It offers a plethora of practical, well researched advice on how to cope.
In essence, it is a lifeline and timely survival guide for parents facing their child’s hospitalisation. It is also a helpful resource for childcare centres and kindergartens and for any families with young children.
“You never know when you’ll end up in hospital with your child and in a time of uncertainty, stress and possible trauma, it’s so important to be prepared, calm and in control,” said Becky.
Help, My Child’s in Hospital is available in good bookstores (RRP $14.99), online at www.helpmychildsinhospital.com and in E-book format.