Lily in the Hospital

 

Lily in the hospital

Lome Louw

Illustration: Helena van der Nest

 

Lily does not feel her old bouncy, friendly self today. She is feverish and feels fearful…

 

She does not fear ghosts because she knows that ghosts can be scared away with a BOO!! Neither is she afraid of ants or bees because she knows that they are much smaller than her. And the dark does not scare her because she knows that Jesus is with her all the time, even when Mom and Dad cannot be around.

 

No, today she is extremely scared because she has to go to hospital: her tonsils must be removed. She is afraid because she had never been to hospital before. And she is afraid because she does not want to go to the surgical theatre all alone. Big tears roll over her cheeks.

 

“Lily! Lily ! Lily! Where are you?” Mother calls.

 

Lily does not want her mother to see her tears. Mom always says that Lily is her big, strong and sweet daughter. She swallows her tears and replies: “Here I am, Mommy.”

 

Mom enters her room. She immediately senses that Lily is upset. “Are you feeling sick, my love? Must I phone the doctor?” Mom asks her.

 

“Will you please phone the doctor and tell him that I do not want this tonsil operation, please Mother”, Lily ventures.

 

Her mother immediately realises that Lily is very scared. Mother walks out and returns with a book. She puts Lily on her lap and they start paging through the book.

 

“Lily, this is a book about hospitals. Look, here is a picture of a doctor. He helps people to get better. The nurses work alongside the doctors. Nurses are usually very kind ladies who see to it that you will get the correct food and drinks and they will give you your medicines when necessary. Look at this picture, Lily. This is what a theatre looks like on the inside. It is a large room with sharp lights, helping the doctor to see exactly what he has to do. One is never alone in the theatre: the doctor and nurses are always with you and of course Jesus will also be there. He will never leave you alone.”

 

“Why does everybody in the theatre wear green clothes, Mommy?” Lily wondered.

 

“The green uniforms indicate who may enter the theatre. Only the doctors and nurses who are qualified for the procedure may go in with the patient. Furthermore, green is a colour that pacifies and it does not show dirty stains that easily,” Mother answered Lily’s question.

 

Lily studies the picture of the theatre. She never knew what a theatre looks like inside. It does not even look spooky. She also did not know that the doctor and nurses are going to be with her all the time, neither did she know why they wear green uniforms. This information makes Lily feel much better.

 

“But Mom, what about the pain? Won’t my throat be very sore after the tonsils have been removed?” Lily inquired. “My dear, first tell me, how painful are your tonsils at the moment, or what was the pain like when they became inflamed?”

 

Lily strokes her throat. Her tonsils make her feel very sick and the fever makes it even worse. She cannot even go to school and play with her friends. She has to stay in bed the whole day and that is so bad. “I really feel ill, Mommy. And it is not nice to not be able to play.”

 

“Before the doctor removes your tonsils, Lily, the doctor will give you an anaesthetic. That means that you will not even know or feel when the doctor operates on you. When you wake up, Mommy is going to be with you. Your throat will probably burn on the inside. But the nice thing about removing one’s tonsils is that the patient may eat as much ice cream as she wants to! As soon as you wake up after the operation, the nurse will bring you your first ice cream. That will make you feel better. And the best part of the operation is that you will never ever get tonsillitis again!”

 

Lily ventures a smile. She can feel the fear dissipating. It will actually be very nice not to get tonsillitis any more. “Mommy, may I please take Teddy to hospital with me? Then he can make sure that the doctor does a good job while I am sleeping,” Lily pleads.

 

“Surely Lily! We can ask the doctor to give Teddy a green mask and cap so that everyone can see that he may enter the operating theatre. The mask and cap prevent the people in the theatre to get infected by germs.”

 

“I am no longer afraid of the operation, Mommy. Now that I know what a theatre looks like and what the doctor and nurses will be doing and that Teddy can be with me, I feel confident to go to hospital”, Lily announced.

 

Mom hugs Lily tenderly while Teddy gets packed into Lily’s hospital suitcase. “That is good, dear, I am proud of you. And please remember: next time fear creeps in, tell me about it. Together we can devise a plan to beat fear!”

 

Isaiah 41:10-12 (The Message): Don’t panic. I’m with you. There is no need to fear for I am your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

 

This story was first published in My Child and I, Winter 2014

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