I sat at a desk in the cleared dinning room which was now the reception of a imaginary hospital. I shuffled blank pages around to pretend I was working.
‘Hello!’ my seven year old daughter, Adile spoke.
I looked across at her with her waterfall of blonde hair and pink summer dress on. In her hands she held her favourite teddy bear. He was a medium size, with curly brown fur, a red faded bow tie at his neck, one ear and two black eyes.
She slide teddy on to the desk then with a determined but grim face began telling me a story, ‘we need to see a doctor. Teddy had an accident and he’s got a huge cut in his side and all his stuffing is falling out! You aren’t feeling so good, are you Teddy? So, we’ve come to the hospital to make him feel better.’
‘I see!’ I cried, ‘right, I’m sure we can make teddy better. Let me get some details down then I nurse will come and to assess you then the doctor will examine teddy.’
I grabbed a pen and piece of paper, ‘name please?
‘Mr. Teddy Bear.’
‘Which is what?’ I asked.
Adile recited our address carefully.
Adile thought and repeated the numbers of our house phone.
Then, though it was silly, I took Adile’s name and details, so it seemed this make belief game was real. Then I questioned what was wrong with teddy and wrote the details down.
‘Can you draw me a picture of his injures?’ I asked and handed Adile pencil and piece of paper.
Adile nodded and got to drawing a teddy like shape with a hole in his side and a cloud coming out of it.
‘There!’ she said and give it back to me.
‘That’s good. Please take a seat and wait for the nurse to call you,’ I said and pointed to the dinning room table chairs which were lined against the wall.
I put the paper I had written on and Adile’s drawing on a clipboard then I got up and left the room. Going into the living room, I changed my pink jumper to a blue one and put a nurse’s hat on my head.
I walked back in, stopped in the doorway and looked at the clipboard, ‘Mr. Teddy Bear?’ I called.
‘Here!’ Adile answered with her hand up.
‘I’m the nurse. This way please,’ I said and lead them into the conservatory. I sat down on the floor before the coffee table and Adile sat down on the other side. Teddy on her lap.
‘So, what’s the problem?’ I asked.
Adile launched into her story of teddy’s injury again.
I nodded along then asked to look at him. Adile placed teddy on the coffee table and I looked at the large hole inside and some stuffing poking out.
‘That looks sore,’ I said, ‘does it hurt a lot?’
Adile lent her head down as if listening to teddy whispering to her then spoke, ‘he says it hurts loads.’
‘Oh dear!’ I cried, ‘let me take your vitals and we shall rush you through!’
From the children’s doctor’s kit, I got a stethoscope and listened to teddy’s heart. I wrote some numbers on the paper. Then I took his temperature and so forth, as if I was a real nurse carrying out all the needed tests.
‘Right, that looks okay, Mr Teddy. I’m going to speak to the doctor right now and then we shall get you into surgery.’
‘Is it that bad?’ Adile shouted.
‘Yes I’m afraid so. We need to stitch up that cut and give you a stuffing transfer right away!’
‘Oh no!’ Adile moaned and hugged teddy tightly.
‘It’ll all be fine. Teddy won’t feel anything and afterwards, he’ll be as good as new. Can I leave to get the doctor now?’
Adile buried her face in teddy and nodded.
I left the room and went into the living room once more. I changed jumpers to a white one, took off the nurse’s hat, put the stethoscope on, my reading glasses on and tied my hair back into a ponytail.
I walked into the conservatory and announced, ‘I’m the doctor.’
‘Doctor!’ Adile cried, ‘please fix my teddy!’
Tears sparkled in her eyes and she was on the edge of a crying session again.
I knelt down and took both Adile’s hand and teddy’s paw.
‘It’s all going to be okay,’ I said gently, ‘I know just want to do. Would you like to come with me now? You can stay with teddy whilst I operate.’
‘Yes, please!’ Adile spoke.
I helped her up from the floor and we went into the living room.
‘Mr. teddy, please lay on the table here. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,’ I spoke.
Adile lay teddy on the coffee table and I handed her the nurse’s hat whilst asking, ‘would you like to be the nurse?’
With a nod, Adile put the hat on then patted teddy to comfort him.
‘Here’s a mask for you, nurse and also one for me,’ I said and we both put the green masks onto our lower faces, so our mouths and noses were covered.
‘Firstly, teddy let’s give you some special gas which will make you sleepy,’ I said, ‘nurse? Let’s count to ten together whilst I do this, okay?’
I picked up an empty paper bag and place it over the bear’s face. Then I gently and slowly pressed the bag inwards, so it crumbled and became flat. Adile and I counted to ten.
‘Mr teddy? can you hear me?’ I spoke.
Adile lent in then shook her head, ‘he’s a sleep,’ she added.
‘Good. Right. I got some stuffing here and I’m going to put it inside the wound now.’
I put a few handfuls of stuffing inside the teddy. Felt it and added one more handful.
‘Is that enough?’ Adile asked.
‘Yes, I believe so and now I’m getting the needle and thread….’
Adile gasped and put her hands to her cheeks, ‘No!’ she wailed.
‘It’s okay,’ I answer soothingly.
I thread the needle with brown thread and got sewing the hole closed.
‘Oh, teddy, oh teddy, please be okay!’ Adile muttered.
She started sniffing and sobbing. I reassure her as best I can.
I finished sewing the hole. I tied and cut the threads then smooth teddy’s fur to hide my handwork.
‘Nurse, I’m all done. You can wake him now,’ I say.
Adile gently shook teddy a few times whilst calling his name. I sit him upright and handed him back to her.
‘Teddy? Are you well again? Let me see!’ Adile said and she carefully inspected my sewing, ‘he’s fine now,’ she concluded and give him a tight hug.
‘Teddy needs some fresh and sun now. Can you take him outside to play? He should be able to now.’
Adile nodded and come over to hug me. Her warm arms wrap around my neck and I hugged her back. I took off the nurses’ hat and mask and kiss her cheek.
‘Thank you, mummy,’ Adile said.
‘Your welcome,’ I answered.
Adile rushed off and I tided things away and straighten things out again. In the conservatory, I paused and watched my daughter and her teddy bear playing in the sandbox, the sun bouncing off her blonde hair and her face full of happiness.
(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/tale-weaver-268-medical-26th-march/ with thanks).
I’d almost forgotten the delight of playing make-believe with young children. Thanks for the reminder
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