Bringing joy and confort to ill kids was like a job she was given by a star constellation since birth.
Since Dr Bailey joined the Unit she found that fighting for the well being of her kids despite the budget cuts was easier- and also he had once recommended her to take two more hours sleep if she wanted to look after the patients in the best way.
Tricia was the star nurse, also envied by her colleagues for her imagination and gift to tune into kids’ waves: when they felt pain, she would ask “what’s the name of this new pain?” and create a character for it.
Whether in the tummy, head or leg, she had elaborated a way to hypnotise the pain dead. “OK. The pain is called Dragon. Lets make him.” After stuffing a blue rubber glove and painting a face and name on it, she would smile and say “tell the Dragon to stop annoying you, or else we’ll punish it into the tissue box “.
“Stop annoying me, Dragon! Or I’ll snatch your ears off!”
“Watch out, he might spit fire from his mouth. Lets muzzle him.”
The fascination of the children pulled them out of their pain, as Tricia put a plaster onto the Dragon ‘s mouth.
“Do you want to sing a lullaby to the Dragon?”
“Maybe next time! The pain is gone and I wanna sleep!”
Eight year old Nathan was admitted and Dr Bailey stole Tricia for a minute “we’ll do our best to save him”.
Nathan’s mother couldn’t help giving Tricia nasty looks but Tricia had gone through situations like that before. Nathan developed the habit of telling the ” pain glovies” that ” you are not coming to the wedding.”
“what wedding is this?” Tricia would ask.
“wait and see.”
But one day on an early shift at five AM, Nathan starting crying very loud. Tricia and Dr Bailey happened to be on shift.
” The tube hurts, said Nathan, lets kill it or it will not come to the wedding!”
” What wedding are you always talking about? asked an exhausted Dr Bailey.
” Yours and Tricia’s Wedding!”
The two health professionals looked into each others eyes during a very awkward second.
” OK, said the Doctor, ask the Gremlin to make me an engagement ring or we shall soak it under the sink!” So Nathan opened a plaster and Dr Bailey proposed. Despite the surrealism of the scene Tricia saw a sparkle in Dr Bailey’s eyes that she had never seen before- he was actually proposing to her, right there, in front of Nathan and the Gremlin.
After a tearful Yes, Nathan clapped with excitement, just as a healthy eight year old would, and continued
“The pain is gone! I can sleep forever now!”
” None of that” said Tricia
” I was only joking. Now lets make the Gremlin a girlfriend in case he comes back”.
Nathan was luckily discharged three days later, but strict Hospital rules determined there could be no contact with children after Hospital episodes- so he missed the wedding.
Shortly after, the Baileys received a Thank You card from Nathan’s mum and a picture showing him plummer, in his bedroom with a dozen of stuffed gloves.
Tricia soon started training nurses in Hospital Play and their first born was named Nathaniel- after Nathan.
It is sad to think that not all Hospitalised children have Nathan’s luck, but there are amazing professionals and volunteers in these Units as children deserve to feel a sense of wonder, even if they will not survive.
This story is based on true characters.