My first association with hospitals when I very small. I had never been to one, but when my sister got her tonsils out she was given the book, “Curious George Goes to the Hospital.” The story of how Curious George swallowed a puzzle piece and had to have an operation mesmerized me.
Some of the illustrations are still clear in my memory today: The doctors holding up the X-ray and seeing the puzzle piece in George’s tummy; when the nurse gave George a shot and told him it would hurt – but only for a moment (and the look on poor George’s face!).
The book showed that good things can happen in the hospital too. I loved the pages depicting children in the playroom, especially when George put on a puppet show using all four of his hands and feet, or when he spun around on the record player. It made me happy to know that kids could smile or laugh even if they were in a hospital.
Like all Curious George books, his mischief got him into trouble, but in the end everyone forgave him. This one was no exception. After trying out Stevie’s wheelchair and crashing into a cart full of food, making a mess, it was okay because George made sad little Betsy – a fellow patient – happy again.
For many years, my vision of what it would be like to have an operation or be a patient in the hospital came from that book. Naturally as I grew older, I realized hospital stays entailed much more.
As a kid, I certainly didn’t give any thought to how a parent would feel, having a child in the hospital for extended periods of time. I still don’t know exactly how it feels as we have been outrageously fortunate with our four kids. But I have watched helpless as some wonderful friends have had children undergo treatments, chemo, surgeries, and isolating stays in the hospital.
The silver linings during these incredibly difficult times are no different than in the Curious George book: the moments that make a sick child smile or laugh.
In preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, our daughter Janey is busy with her mitzvah project. She has chosen to help a new friend, 9-year-old, Julian Dunn. In 2008, the year before Kindergarten, Julian was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a grade 4 cancer of the brain and spinal column. He underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and beat it.
Unfortunately, the cancer came back. Two things that have consistently made Julian happy during long hospital stays have been Legos and the Music Therapy program at CHOC.
With that in mind, Janey is holding a Lego Drive. she is collecting donations of between one and two dollars, and hopes to purchase every Lego set on Julian’s wish list.
Janey has also organized a fundraiser for the Dunn family and the Music Therapy program at CHOC, in the hopes of bringing a bit of joy to other kids who must stay in the hospital.
The community is invited to attend the fundraising event, which will be held at the One Ford Road Club House in Newport Beach on Saturday, Feb. 16, 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
There will be a pasta bar dinner and “Lego” cupcakes, as well as activities for kids. To attend is free, and according to Janey, “donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.”
It’s a curious thing…while working to help bring a smile to others, my little monkey is the one filled with joy.
To RSVP or make a donation, email me at [email protected] I will pass the info on to Janey.