Childhood Cancer

Childhood Leukemia

Chapter 11: 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 leukemia. Hospitals are noisy bureaucracies that run on a time schedule all their own. Staff members wake children in the middle of the night to draw blood or check temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. Groups of doctors at all levels of training drop in unannounced.

For a child, being hospitalized means being separated from parents, brothers, sisters, friends, classmates, 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. But with a little ingenuity, you can make the most of the facilities, liven up the atmosphere, and even have some fun on the good days.