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Phase 2 Day 9:  A very festive day

As usual, I started with the long term patient (3 years) who was waiting for me. He wanted to make a Santa puppet and soon we made him a sleigh and presents. He was also very keen that we play hospital again, with lollypop stick patients and beds of tissue. It was almost a repeat of last week`s game but with the development of the santa puppet arriving and distributing presents, and everyone (including santa, nurses and doctors) slipping on the lovely snowy pillow of his bed and ending up in hospital again, and again, and yes again! 

Next I went back to the other 3 yr old from last week to play him the new soundtrack from Fionnuala of a Carnival this time, we also returned to the Africa track from the previous week. It was great to see him out of bed and in better form. Across the ward from him was another little girl who the staff had suggested might also benefit from music so I also played the soundtracks to her and searched You tube for High Street musical as her mother said that was what she loved. Her mother didn`t think it was a good idea that I make her a puppet but suggested I make her something christmassy to hang over her bed. The mother was herself making decorations with the play specialist for the ward. The father of the little girl helped me make a tree where the little girl could watch us. We hung it on her drip stand. I returned to the first boy then to make him one, and we played a little, tickling him with the feathers before attaching them to the tree. 

I find it particularly challenging working with children with communication difficulties where it can be hard to know if what you are doing is useful and relevant to them, and to get `permission` from them to continue, or find ways to facilitate participation from them. It is almost that you have to learn and make new `languages` through which to work and it is hard to do this in one visit.

A six year old girl, also in the ward with them, made a puppet she named Jasmine. Visiting the `Magic Bus` in the corridor first she said she would take it to Africa but in the end made a little house for her with a toilet and bed in it (what more would you need?). She was a great performer, bringing the puppet around chatting to people but was film-camera shy. She had already had some fun with the play specialist earlier and enthusiastically declared that this was the best hospital ever! 

I worked briefly with a 2 year old before she was distracted by a bowl of rice crispies! And attempted to work with two boys 8 and 12 years sharing a room, but one said he was too unwell and although the other looked through the book with me and listened to some of the other children`s stories, he was on his way upstairs to play pool! 

My last patient was 9 and was drawing a book when I arrived, so it was no surprise to me that he took to puppet making easily and with evident pleasure. Unfortunately we were interrupted, first by a doctor visit and then by his tea arriving, but he made a lovely snowman puppet, Mr Snowy, who he decided would take the bus to the North Pole seeing as the snow was melting here.

8 children, 10 parents, 4 nursing and 3 other staff




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