It started just like any other day.
I woke up in a good mood, I won a wrestling competition with Daddy on the bed, and had a yummy bottle of milk. Mummy gave me some nice breakfast and got me dressed. I shuffled over to Daddy ready for him to take me to nursery but he kissed me goodbye and went on his way to work.
Strange. Oh well, perhaps today is a hospital day, I thought.
I was right. Soon after, Mummy got our stuff together and we set off in the car. I was playing happily with my musical book and Mum wasn’t chatting away with me like she normally does. It had been a much longer journey than usual to the hospital… I babbled to Mum that I was getting a bit stiff and bored sat in the car seat… but we seemed to have finally arrived.
I looked up and realised this wasn’t our usual hospital. Mum didn’t seem to know where she was going as she pushed me along the corridors. She was definitely behaving a bit strange today, so I tried not to whinge too much.
We went into a room and there was a man that I don’t remember meeting before. He talked to Mum for a while and I bottom-shuffled around the room exploring. Mum kept telling me off but I couldn’t help it, there was too much exciting new stuff to put in my mouth and throw across the room! There were bandages, and some feet made of white plaster, and a real skeleton dangling in the corner!
The man went off and came back with a big white thing with straps. Goodie, I thought, another toy to play with.
Mum scooped me up onto her lap, where she was sitting on the hospital bed, and opened a story book. The man brought the new toy towards me and I reached for it excitedly. But he grabbed my wrists, pushed my arms up and pressed the cold plastic around my body.
Ouch! It hurt but Mum didn’t stop him. She held me really tight so I couldn’t get away from the horrible man. It was really hurting now. I cried out to make him stop but no one listened. He pinned me down on his lap and pulled the white thing all the way round my body, and he was tugging on the straps at the back.
Why was Mum letting him do this to me? I cried louder.
Mum gave up trying to read me the story. The man flipped me over so I was on my back and I was struggling to take deep breaths. This was so horrible, why wasn’t Mum doing anything to stop this?
I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I looked up and saw that Mum did too.
The man left the room, mumbling something about ‘getting used to it’.
Mum pulled me in close to her, and I could feel her moving her hands around, trying to find a bit of my real skin to cuddle. The plastic was covering most of my front and back. Her tears dripped onto my bare shoulders.
Then she sat me on the cold, hard floor, and I immediately wobbled backwards. This thing on my body was pulling me upright and I couldn’t keep my balance. Mum propped me up again and I tried to stay sat up.
My usual method of movement, shuffling on my bottom, was really uncomfortable. It was hard to even reach the floor with my hands as the hard plastic was digging in to my armpits.
I toppled forward, and planted my face on the floor. Mum scooped me up and we were both still crying.
The man came back into the room and prodded me, rolled and manoeuvred me around again, and finally, took this thing off me.
Phew, I thought. That was horrible, but it’s over now.
Mum and the man talked for a while longer and then he put the white object in a bag and gave it to Mum.
Back at the car, Mum put the bag next to me on the backseat. It remained visible out of the corner of my eye and I found it hard to take a nap, knowing it was there next to me.
I must have slept because the next thing I knew we were home and it was lunchtime. After lunch, Mum and I played with my toys for a long time. Mum was being extra nice to me, lots of cuddles and laughs and tickles and all my favourite games. She even let me watch my favourite videos on the iPad!
I was really pleased to see Daddy when he walked in the front door that evening, and I could tell that Mummy was pleased too. They had an extra-long cuddle, but then Mummy started crying again.
Dad and I played with my planes and dinosaurs, and then Mum came into the room with the big white object. I shrieked to warn Dad that it wasn’t a toy, it was for hurting people.
Mum took off my t-shirt and brought the thing towards me, like earlier. I heard the evil crunch of the Velcro as she wrapped it around me. I struggled and wriggled.
I realised then that I needed to be brave, to show Daddy that I could be a big boy. And I really didn’t want Mum to cry any more today. I sat still while Mum and Dad fussed over the straps. When they were done, I looked down and inspected my new jacket. It wasn’t so bad, in fact, I already felt straighter and more supported.
I showed Daddy how I could still bottom shuffle with it on, but I could see he was disappointed about how slow I was. He put me on my ride-on car and I propelled myself forward; phew, at least I was still able to ride my vehicles!
I realised that the best thing to do was to be brave and not cry or make a fuss. After all, it wasn’t so bad, it was actually quite comfy, and I bet none of the other kids had a shiny white shell like mine!
Mum took it off me, and we had tea, bath, story, snuggles, and bed. I might have been imagining it, but I think Mummy and Daddy were being extra nice to me. I got an extra-long go on the iPad and custard for my pudding!
Well, I must remember to be big and brave every day, if this is what happens!
To be continued . . .