John-Paul’s Story – Teddy Hospital
Spending time in hospital can be a scary experience for anyone, regardless of age. John-Paul’s Dad tells us how the Teddy Hospital was used as a really helpful way to explain what was happening to him so could understand and speak about this and be more comfortable in the hospital.
John-Paul was born with chronic renal failure on 25th August 2010 and spent a few years on dialysis until he received a live donor kidney transplant on 16 April 2014 and continued to receive weekly blood tests. The process and repeated tests became a way of life for us as a family and John-Paul just got on with it without complaining however in the lead up to ultra sounds, operations etc he was quieter than usual however never complained about the procedure and accepted it saying he was fine. We always assumed he was born with kidney failure and didn’t know any different and this was his “normal”.
Following transplant John-Paul started to take anti-rejection drugs to prolong his new kidney. As a result of this he is prone to catching any coughs and colds going about and requires regular bloods and urine tests to ensure he is in good health, however December 2016 he contracted Type A Influenza where the virus started to attack his brain causing his to take seizures and was put into an induced coma to protect his brain.
He spent 11 nights on a ventilator in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit however when the time came to waking him up his lungs collapsed and this prevented removal of the ventilator for another few days. When he was awake we discovered he had lost all his motor skills, only being able to move his eyes and was transferred to the neurology ward. Over the course of four months he required daily physio, orthotics, speech and language and various types of aids and supports to gain the ability to communicate and learn to walk.
During this time spent in hospital John-Paul was in was introduced to Jane from the Teddy Hospital during teddy walk round. It is impossible to put into words the talent that Jane has explaining and reassuring kids how complexed procedure are carried out in her role playing games. John-Paul only just learned to speak again and Teddy hospital helped him build his confidence and express himself during these role play games bringing on and encouraging his speech which helped him find his voice.
Following discharge John-Paul still talks about Teddy Hospital and always wants to visit it at clinic appointments. He has an ambition to be a doctor and fees he’s in that role already when working with Jane and now talks openly about cannula’s, surgery, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound telling his teddy’s what they will feel. “It’s ok to be scared, I’m the same sometimes but it’s all going to be fine.”
Read more about health and social care for disabled children and young people and get more information on the Supporting Disabled Children and their Families website.