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Just sayin’…

April 12th, 2022Just sayin’…

I WON'T say every Easter because that would be a lie. But when I talk to people like Natalie Kirby, I think about my stint in the Royal Children's Hospital. If you don't know the connection with Easter and the hospital and Nat, head back to page 11.

I WON’T say every Easter because that would be a lie. But when I talk to people like Natalie Kirby, I think about my stint in the Royal Children’s Hospital. If you don’t know the connection with Easter and the hospital and Nat, head back to page 11.
Anyway, I think about the hospital because I was there as a child, maybe seven. I am not sure what time of the year it was but I do know when I got out after a week I was allowed to sit in the garden and I remember seeing butterflies, so spring perhaps. Maybe summer. But not school holidays because it was at school I had an asthma attack.
I managed to pick up asthma when I was two years old. I was, apparently, seeing my nan off on one of her many overseas trips and we were there to wave the ship goodbye. No, not just me, at two. The entire family. And, apparently, it was cold, and then I suddenly had asthma.
I remember as a kid lots of trips to the doctor in the middle of the night and being put on oxygen combined with something like Ventolin. As I got older, they could actually give you a Ventolin inhaler but we were seeing a doctor who specialised in asthma and he didn’t believe in patients having their own Ventolin. I kid you not. Like a doctor who doesn’t believe in penicillin.
Anyway, I was at school and having trouble breathing. So the teacher asked if I would like them to call my mum to take me home. No, I said, I want to stay at school. I liked school. And so I stayed. Just like that. And got worse. And eventually, after another hour or so, they decided I really did need to go home. And mum took me to the doctor and they said she could either drive me to the Royal Children’s or they could call an ambulance. So pretty bad I guess. There were whispers for some weeks later of “she could have died”, which ceased when I entered the room.
Being in the hospital was interesting. They popped me on a drip and I joined another five children in a big ward. Parents could visit for an hour a day, that was all, the rest of the time it was just us kids and the nurses. I was offered “googie eggs” for breakfast, which I refused, and we all got in trouble for playing in the wheelchairs along the corridor.
I don’t remember being sad but I do remember the boy over the way crying. He was from the country and never had any visitors. I remember my dad spending most of his allocated one hour with that kid and being pretty pissed off about that. Dad was from Ararat so I guess he spotted a country kid a mile off. Still, it was meant to be about me. A week later, I was allowed to go home where I was treated quite specially for about a day and then that wore off.
So, I think about the hospital and how they got a sick kid better with not much fuss and lots of care. I realise it is all different now, and parents can stay, and I bet the food is better and the wheelchairs are kept locked up for health and safety. But it is a great resource and if you can spare a little you could do a lot worse with a donation.
If you are keen go back to page 11 and read up on where Nat’s volunteers will be shaking tins, how you can maybe win a raffle prize in exchange for a few dollars, or just donate online.
When we drive past the hospital on our now infrequent trips to Melbourne, I often see parents outside and I think they must be having the worst days of their lives. But I am sure they are helped by the thought their children are getting the best care possible and will hopefully come home to some butterflies. Just sayin’…



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