Find out how the Giggle Doctor's helped Nell during her time in hospital.
We recently spoke to Gail about her Daughter Nell’s experience of hospital.
“Nell is three years old. We live in Brighton and Hove but we were transferred up to Evelina Children’s Hospital because she had quite a serious infection. Nell was in PICU for 6 days then moved to a surgical ward for 7 days. This was where we met Dr Whoopee.
Although Nell is very little, she was quite traumatised by the whole experience, especially what she saw whilst on the wards. She has fully recovered physically but emotionally it’s taken longer. I think she felt she wasn’t in control. She was saying no to people and they were doing it anyway.
They ended up putting us into a private room on the surgical ward which was a lot better. However, she shut down a bit then. If someone came in to the room, her bed was her safe space and she didn’t want to engage with anyone then. As soon as someone walked in, she would turn away and pretend she was asleep. Then she would open one eye to look and see that they had gone. She was just totally fed up.
The first time that she had positively interacted with anybody or let any interaction happen was when Dr Whoopee came into the room. She didn’t initially interact with her, she just kind of closed her eyes as she had been doing but Dr Whoopee was brilliant and really knew how to draw her out, along with my encouragement. Dr Whoopee played with the machine that measurers your SATS and Nell really loved that, she really liked the kind of slapstick comedy and as it went on you could tell that she was showing interest. She was following Dr Whoopee’s movements whereas before she was just ignoring everything. I think she even spoke to her which she hadn’t done to anyone else. Dr Whoopee gave her plenty of time in terms of one to one attention too which Nell really liked.
Other lovely things had happened whilst she was in hospital but she just wasn’t engaged at all. Dr Whoopee really helped her. It was the first time I had seen her laugh since she had been in hospital (about ten days into her stay). She had been in a lot of pain and hadn’t really moved. She was very sad. Her personality had just disappeared but I saw a glimpse of it coming back when Dr whoopee was there.
She also met Dr Snug in Brighton. We had nurses coming in to see her at home for the first week and they suggested we went to a stay and play day at the hospital which was mainly for children with additional needs or children who had gone through trauma to help them have more positive experience of hospital. That’s where we met Dr Snug. It also helped my middle daughter who had also been affected by her sister being in hospital. She loved Dr Snug and meeting her really helped her too. Now they have more positive images in their head of hospital.
When you are in hospital you have a lot of awful things to talk about but there are also a lot of happy memories and we think it’s important to try and talk about those. We often talk about when Dr Whoopee came as one of our positive memories. Our other children like hearing about it too.
As a parent Dr Whoopee’s visit helped me too. It made me smile and I was so happy to see her smile. I work for an arts education company so I’m from that world too. Me and my husband both work in theatre so I know the benefits that it brings and it was great to see that first hand”.