the Starfish meets Doctor Dolphin.
book about an outpatient’s visit to hospital
including having a blood test and visiting the
Our Daughter Verity was diagnosed the
Lupus (SLE) in January of last year.
Her symptoms presented as swollen sore joints
(like arthritis) and also with a very low platelet
count. The low platelet count meant that at first
the doctors had to rule out leukaemia, which we
were very relieved about and we came out of the
hospital dancing that Verity ‘only’
had SLE. Finally the true implications of living
with a potentially life threatening disease sunk
in, and we got used to the daily administration
of drugs. However, the monthly blood tests that
Verity had to have were far from becoming routine.
They were awful.
|We used Emla
(Magic Cream) to numb the site where
the needle would pierce the skin, but unfortunately
this was not enough and at most appointments it
took three people to pin her down for the blood
to be taken. I found it extremely distressing
to bodily force her into having a blood test and
started looking for alternative forms of help;
Action for Sick Children produce
a leaflet to help the adult helper taking a child
for a blood test advising you what to do –
but, despite following their helpful hints Verity
was still kicking, screaming, terrified of the
procedure and in particular the tourniquet –
not the needle! It was so out of character for
her and I could see a true ‘flight or fight’
mechanism hit in, as she used every ounce of strength
to try and throw off her adult assaulters.
|I then turned to reading
story books. But the typical hospital
visit they portrayed involved a broken leg, or
spots, with the pain and hurt happening before
hospital which the ‘nice doctor’ fixed.
As far as Verity was concerned she was absolutely
fine before visiting hospital where the very horrid
Doctor hurt her and then she ended up with a plaster
that she didn’t even want; evidence of the
physical attack! Nor did any of these books portray
the cyclic nature of monitoring and testing, assessing
for correct drug levels slowly leading to a better
state of health.
|So really I was at a loss as to
how to help my child in the best way possible.
The idea of the lift flap book as born, knowing
how much very young children enjoy a game as part
of the reading experience. Sandy the character
came out of thinking about what Verity enjoyed
best – summer holidays – fishing in
rock pools and touch tanks at aquariums.
|I approached our local hospital
and talked with the phlebotomist, play therapist,
nurse specialist and consultants (whom we were
all seeing regularly) and asked if they thought
that the idea I was thinking of would work. Fired
up by positive responses, aided by my husbands
more adept rhyming skills I set out a story board
and went to find a cartoonist and designer. I
think you will agree that they have done a fabulous
job in translating my ideas to paper.
|With the storyboard I approached
a few children’s publishers, but it was
too much of a niche market, a ‘painful’
tale and not really at all cuddly and got turned
down. Determined that other children should benefit
from Sandy we have set about self-publishing and
are now at the stage of waiting for the books
to come back from the Printers at the end of March
– all very exciting!
|Also, we have been approaching organizations
and businesses to sponsor copies of Sandy into
their local children’s hospitals and wards,
and GP’s surgeries. If you know
of anyone who would like to purchase books,
at cost price, to help young children with hospital
visits in their area please don’t hesitate
to contact us via this web-site.