Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Right Now! Coach Goes to Hospital Camp

We spent much of Sunday packing everything we could think of to make two weeks in the hospital seem less like, well, two weeks in the hospital and more like hospital camp. We have books, magazines, movies, multiple craft projects, at least two bead project kits to create for other children who come to the hospital, and activity bags to make for sibling visitors. (Elly is working on one of those at right.) Of course the most important items in our suitcases, according to fashion-comes-first Elly, are our clothes. Elly spent a lot of time making sure that both of us would be dressed appropriately. (That means no sweatpants for Mom!) 

But no matter how much thought and effort we've put into bettering our hospital stay, the hospital is still a hospital. Elly doesn't like the smell or the daily needle sticks. Neither of us is crazy about the all-night lights and noise. And I don't like having to walk down the hall to the parent shower. Despite the challenges, I am glad we are here. The goal is a good one: getting Elly to eat. (And she is doing well so far.) The staff has been incredibly helpful, especially Elly's team of psychologists. And as long as Elly keeps eating, she is free to explore the playroom, go to the school room, and watch movies. 

And that's just what we are doing today at hospital camp. After spending a few minutes in the playroom, Elly went to school with several other children. Later, I will pick her up for our afternoon movie and craft time. (We're putting together keychain kits to give to the Create A Project Program at the hospital.) Tonight she plans to blog—because no matter where you are, fashion comes first!

More soon from hospital camp.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Happiness Budget

A few weeks ago I read at the Ode Magazine Web site about towns in the Netherlands who are giving their residents a happiness budget. At first I was troubled by the idea of using money to buy happiness. But then I read the article again. The people who designed this experience were not inviting people to buy a bunch of stuff. Instead, the purpose of the money was to encourage people to invest in projects that bring them happiness.

I immediately thought about my birthday purchase—a new bike. I'd been wanting one for years. The last time I had a new bike, I was a college student. I felt exhilarated when I got on my new bike for the first time. What a sense of freedom! This purchase fits with the happiness budget idea. It provides me with both transportation and a tool for exercise (a major happiness booster). Plus, it's pretty! :-) 

Next Monday, I'll be taking my daughter to the hospital for a two-week stay. She'll be working with the feeding team at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She's been having tube feedings since February of 2008. We're hoping that she will be able to leave the hospital and maintain her weight (and even grow!) without needing tube feedings. 

During our hospital stay, my daughter will have three meals each day with the feeding team. Aside from that, we will have little else to do. We've been talking about how we can use our own happiness budget to better the hospital stay and help other people. We're hoping to make something we can give away to children who need them. 

We're still in the planning stages, but we will both be blogging during the stay. So check back here for updates on how the happiness budget works for us!