Posts Tagged With: empowering children with cancer

Make your Stays Merry and Bright

There were some great replies to my last post, Must Do, Can Do Chart for Kids on Chemo.  Below, I have shared a few of my readers suggested ways to cheer up the hospital room during a kid’s stay that would work with any age!  They have also been gracious enough to share some pictures to go along with their responses.

Randi said “One of the things we did when she needed to get her chemo during overnight hospitals stays was to bring decorations for her room. Most hospital rooms are dull grey or beige (at least they were then, 15 years ago!), and bringing some streamers, drawings to hang up and other fun items not only makes the room more cheerful, but it also gives you and your child something to do (that’s fun), and gives the hospital staff something to comment on or talk about besides all the medical and bodily fluid stuff. 🙂 One time she decided to have a circus theme, complete with her stuffed animals on a ‘trapeze’ from the ceiling, red clown noses for us and required wear for anyone entering the room. She even popped popcorn and sold cups of it for a quarter a piece to the doctors and nurses. I think she made about $3.50 during that visit … 🙂

Lindsay w Blustery Day room Lindsay and friends - clown noses (1)

         Decorations      Left: “Blustery Day”  Right: “Circus”

Maryclaire said “Recently, my 26 yr old was in over the holidays so we’d added lights to her IV pole and hung stockings under the TV (which had a Yule fire video!). It really helped personalize her space. And I LOVE the idea of making people wear a clown nose. It definitely gives the patient some ‘power’ and again adds a topic not related to procedures.

More themes: Moustaches? Unicorn horns? Groucho Marx or Harry Potter glasses? Alien antennae? IV pole with Victoria IV with bows and lightsThis could be very cool.”

I wish I had thought of the streamers idea!  We brought in things like Silly String (oops, a bit messy!), window clings, mini dart boards, and sponge dart guns.  Here are some photos of when Nick pulled Nicky around through the hospital halls to fire at will.  The hospital staff always so willing to go along to make him smile.  (He could not walk well at the time because of where he was in treatment, and vision in one eye was not good so he liked to keep it covered.)

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Stacey

Categories: decorating a hospital room | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Must Do, Can Do Chart for Kids on Chemo

Taking chemo every day, multiple times a day gets old and frustrating for
anyone having to do it.
Sometimes a child needs a little motivation!

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Besides going to the hospital weekly for chemo, there were a few months when Nicky had to take a variety of medicines multiple times a day at home as well as care for his mouth (some of chemotherapy drugs* that he was on for a short time could cause mouth sores). So here was a child who did not feel terrific and who had to be asked over and over again throughout the day to swallow more horribly tasting pills, and to swab his mouth with a disgusting liquid medicine, or better yet-to have to put a pill under his tongue to fight nausea while feeling nauseous!

Up went the Must Do, Can Do chart.

This chart helped empower him for a few reasons.  For one, he knew exactly what it was he would have to get through each day from the “Must Do” part of the chart.  Knowing what to expect helped him to be less upset when I said it was time for his medicine.  Two, there were fun choices that he could decide about from the “Can Do” section.  And lastly, Nicky could see which days would be hospital free days and which day he would need to take the road trip up to Yale Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Nicky last saw this chart when he was six years old.  He and his brother are fourteen going on fifteen now. We were talking about what might help a teen get through those tough days when a person feels like crap, needs to be pretty isolated from others because the immune system is weak, and to top it off has to take all the medicine. Together we designed these two coupon books-real easy and you can make your own.

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Next we brainstormed ideas for the coupons to go inside the booklets:

  • pizza delivery
  • new magazine
  • back massage
  • make ice cream sodas
  • breakfast for dinner
  • have a friend over to watch a movie
  • play cards
  • henna tattoo on the head

Readers-What ideas can you share here with others about how to empower and encourage a child or a teen in the thick of chemo?  Share your thoughts in the comment section for all to see! Hint: to leave a comment you must click on the title of this post and the “Leave a Reply” section pops up!  

Want to check out the ideas readers have shared?  Simply click any of the “Comments Welcome” section to the right of this page! …you can also click on the post title and comments will show up at the bottom 🙂

*Daunorubicin, Doxorubicin, Cytarabine, and Cyclophosphamide

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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