Enemas are usually scary and highly uncomfortable, especially for our younger warriors. While looking around our supply closet for something I could use for medical play, I found this baby alive doll! This particular doll can be fed play-doh through her mouth & the play doh falls right through her out of her bum. The opening on her bum is also large enough to place an enema, so perfect for my intervention!
During the medical play session my warrior and I had so much fun feeding baby Emily (my baby alive doll) a big serving of play-doh. However, Emily then became constipated and needed some help in getting all that poo out. When I asked my warrior how we could help her he suggested we put some water in her bum to help it all come out. While we were doing this I suggested Emily could blow bubbles while the water was going in to help keep her calm and distracted. He thought this was a great idea.
We did this again and again and again; who knew playing with enemas could be fun?!
Earlier this week I had a 2-year-old girl, let’s call her Lily, come into the ER because she had gotten into her grandmothers blood pressure medication. I was able to successfully distract her during her IV, being hooked up to a monitor, etc. After all of this, however, came the hard part… getting her to drink all of the activated charcoal on her own to avoid an NG tube.
Luckily, Lily was thirsty from the moment she arrived to the ER so when she got a bottle with a “black milkshake” in her hands, she quickly latched on and chugged a good amount! After a few gulps, her mouth and chin were covered with black goop and a small drop splattered onto her hand. She stopped drinking and asked me to clean her hand for her (such a girly girl)! However, this was the end of her willingly drinking the “black milkshake” and there was still about a quarter left.
The nurse told mom that Lily needed to drink the entire amount given because this was being given as an exact dosage. At this point mom started to get a little nervous begging Lily to drink it, bribing her with toys, trips to Disney world, ice cream, you name it. But Lily was not budging – she would quickly turn her head the other way and scrunch her forehead.
This is when my “Child Life Lightbulb” turned on! I rushed out of the room and grabbed my tea set (shout out to my Child Life Assistants for always keeping my toys clean for situations like these!) I set up the tea set for Lily, mom, the nurse, and I to have some fun. We pretended to pour tea into our cups, cheers, put “air sugar cubes” in our tea, sing, etc. Lily still wasn’t too happy to be drinking out of her bottle since everyone else had tea cups so, the nurse poured Lily’s drink into a medicine cup which she seemed to be satisfied with. And just like that, Lily drank the last bit of her black milkshake! Thanks to such a pro-child life nurse & a calm & supportive mother, we were all able to work together to help little Lily drink her activated charcoal, avoiding another procedure. This is definitely a Child Life win in my book!
A common problem as a child life specialist is having your toys “walk away”. Being that I’m still fairly new, I haven’t found a grand source for toy donations so the toys that I do have to lend out to patients, I take extremely good care of.
One of my more popular toys is my “little people playsets” – you know, a plastic castle, home, or scene that comes with little characters to play in. Since the playsets themselves are fairly large and have “pediatrics” “please return to child life” “Peds ER” written in sharpie all over them, they rarely* walk away. The “little people” however disappear before they even come out of the box! I’ve been wanting to find a good solution to this that didn’t include spending millions on a lifetime supply of “little people” nor stopping use of the playsets all together.
Earlier this week I made a trip to Target where I found these cute Mystical Ponies! Each pack contains 20 and costs $1 (LOVE TARGET’S DOLLAR SECTION!) For boys, I have dinosaurs/ toy soldiers (not pictured) which also came in packs of 20 for $1. I stocked up on these little figurines & now if they’re taken, I have backup!
I love this idea for creative play with children – allow them to come up with their own story lines and scenarios. I’ve seen this technique used as a tool to help assess how a child is coping with hospitalization.
I was able to find two options of these fun print outs that would be great for any medical play session! The first option is not free to print out, but there is a sample you can print to get a feel for what you can expect if you buy them. The second option is totally free to download after you make an account with the company you’re downloading it from. I’d say it’s worth it! They are very cool!
“We created the Reinforcer Kit to provide a selection of products that many children diagnosed with autism would not only want to play with but would be willing to “work for” during their one-on-one intervention. Although teachers can always use praise, food, candy and other toys, we think this kit will help our families get a head start on what to use for children wanting a favored object. Our kit Contains: A Spinning Light Up Meteor Storm (battery operated), a Flashing Spinning Top, Wooden Slide Whistle, Magic Mic (an Echo Microphone), Magic Spring, Squishy Ball and Bubbles. Created by Ozmo.”