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  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy

Does Santa visit sick wards?

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Third round of chemo and everything was about Christmas. The hallway had been decorated with cards taped to the walls and spiralling cut-outs hanging from the ceiling. My mum had taken me to Haskins during my brief stay at home to buy items to put up around my room. Ribbons, decorative snowflakes, a miniature Christmas tree around which I had placed little animals. It is also important to mention that my mum had given me a collage of pictures all featuring my dogs during my first round. However now there were two collages and they were laminated. I also bought a light box with the image of a stag surrounded by forest. I still keep it out in my room. (We also had fake holly but it kept falling down)

We had a great time decorating my room once I was detached from my drip. My nurses appreciated the deco too, especially the lightbox. I don't think any of the other patients had decorated to extent that I had, I was likely a source of entertainment for my nurses with my puzzles, Christmas decs, and the pictures of cute dogs. I also let them try their hand at video games after having received the Spyro Reignited trilogy from a friend. As much as I love video games I'm not very good so when I got stuck and the nurses came in I would allow them to try to see if they could do it. I still ended up watching a lot of tutorials to figure out what to do.

That same friend visited me in the hospital with her father, both of whom live in Ireland. We hadn't been able to go and see them over the summer like we usually would have so it was good to see her. She even brought me an early Christmas present, a dragon carving and a t-shirt that truly sums me up. I love dragons so much it was great to have one up there with me, truly made the place feel like my own.

However, what I was most eager to know was if I could go home just for Christmas day. My parents said they would be happy to bring Christmas up to the hospital, but it wouldn't have been the same. Our dogs wouldn't have been there, I couldn't have tried out all my cool new things, and I don't know what they was going to do about Christmas dinner. Every time I saw a doctor I would asked. Every time the answer was the same "We'll just have to wait and see.". It would have been smack bang in the middle of my treatment. No immune system whatsoever, so going home (where there were not only people but animals too) would be risky to say the least. The risks still didn't stop my longing to go home though. All the presents I had bought were at there, wrapped in my hospital room then taken them home again once I was released. I wanted to give my gifts personally as well, I believed I had picked out very good presents this year.

To my immense joy they said yes. However it was immediate family only, no one was allowed to come around and visit like they usually did. Even my older sister and her boyfriend couldn't come as they both had colds. Disappointing to say the least, I was very proud of the gifts I gotten for both of them and I wanted to hand it to them myself. Plus Scott, my sister's boyfriend, was probably not expecting anything from us, my parents maybe but not me. I always got on really well with Scott so it was a shame I couldn't give him his present. This didn't dampen my spirits for Christmas day though. I got some amazing gifts and my family were thrilled with the presents I gave them. I got my delicious Christmas dinner (The hospital would have provided one but there was no way it was going to be as nice as the one my parents made.)

It was almost like any other Christmas but I knew I had to go back up. I'd been told I was scheduled to have a platelet transfusion that day because my blood was not clotting very well. Though my mum wanted me to stay later I knew that the platelets would have to be ordered, then arrive, set up, I would then have to have the transfusion and a flush afterward. I didn't want to be having a transfusion when I would rather be in bed. So back up to the hospital I went. My two favourite nurses were there for the night shift and it was decided that as soon as I'd finished my transfusion we would all play one of the board games room the social space. Cluedo was one of my favourites and I was itching to play. Everything was going well, I should've known it wouldn't last.

There I was lying in bed hooked up to the bag of platelets when my eye started to itch. It felt as if something was in there so I rubbed at it but it didn't help. Then my throat started to hurt. I was having a reaction to the platelets, damn. Very sadly I called in my nurses. My reaction meant that all of our evenings had been ruined, my nose had become blocked and erryding dounded odd when I doke. Though I felt bad about it, it wasn't as if I could tough if out, someone needed to call for a doctor especially since I'd started wheezing. Oxygen mask on and a visit from the doctor later I was given a dose of antihistamines. Most people take these in tablet form, like Piriton, when they have hay fever or a minor reaction to an insect bite. Instead I got mine as a liquid injected into my line. It wiped me out. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness but I had never had side effects like this before. All I wanted to do was sleep but I fought to stay awake (mostly) still desperate to play Cluedo. Now when I'm sleepy I have a tendency to act like I'm high so I'm sure it was very amusing for my nurses. Alas we were not able to play Cluedo but the antihistamenes worked a treat.

That was a bit of low note, so here are the dog collages my mum made me. (Plus me and my sister in Dr. Seuss land in Universal Studios, Florida.)

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