Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

CHAPTER 8: Hospitalization

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

— Matsuo Basho

THERE ARE FEW THINGS in life more uncomfortable than rising from a lumpy pull-out couch to face another day of your child’s hospitalization for cancer. Hospitals are noisy bureaucracies that run on a time schedule all their own. Staff members wake children in the middle of the night to check temperature, pulse, and blood pressure or to draw blood. For a child, being hospitalized means being separated from parents, brothers, sisters, friends, pets, and the comfort and familiarity of home. A child’s hospitalization can rob both parent and child of a sense of control, leaving them feeling helpless. With a little ingenuity, however, you can make the most of the facilities, liven up the atmosphere, and even have some fun.