Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things to Buy for the Child with Cancer

I occasionally feel the need to post an informational post that is (hopefully) not for my regular readers and is instead for someone who might google a certain phrase. Like when I wrote about Breastfeeding a Baby with Cancer. Well, a year and a half later, someone googled that phrase, got in touch with me, and put her friend (who was breastfeeding a baby with cancer) in touch with me. I now have two new friends and -- fabulous news -- her baby is now doing very well.

So, now I'm doing it again. I hope that none of my regular readers will EVER be in need of this information. But here it is ...

Helpful Things to Buy for the Child with Cancer

Actually, this is Helpful Things to Buy for the Child with Cancer and the Parent of the Child with Cancer. It is a thin line between the two, often blurred.

Now, first question for the parent is whether their child will require in-hospital chemos or whether they'll all be outpatient. A lot of the stuff below is geared for the in-hospital chemos. But the DVD player you need, regardless.

For the child:

A Travel Wipe Warmer. Why: if your child is getting chemo, you're supposed to clean them after every time they pee or poop, because they are excreting powerful chemicals and as Little Warrior will attest, they make you itchy/burny down there.

Aww, you don't need to warm the wipes, you scoff. YOU wipe a 3 year old at midnight, 1:30 and 3:00 in the morning with a cold wipe and attempt to get them back to sleep and then we'll talk.

Posters: if the child is going to need to be in the hospital on a regular basis, making their room look a little less like a hospital room helps. Find out their interests, buy a few posters (Ebay is good) and -- and this is key -- get them laminated so that they can handle being put up and taken down over and over. Be prepared for sticker shock on the lamination cost.

Portable DVD player: really, this should be at the top of the list. Get one that is fairly lightweight, with a swivel screen. Not handheld. You need something you can prop on a hospital tray table or on an examining table or wherever as you wait and wait and wait. One that has a rechargeable battery and an electric cord.

Unless it's really, really special or requested, Child does not need: stuffed animals. Everyone (including me) wants to give stuffed animals because they're soft, and huggable and comforting. The problem is, after a few, Stuffed Animal Fatigue sets in and they're just tossed aside.

Little Presents: Nothing big or expensive, just little things that the parent can bring out at opportune times, such as when the child has just gone through a very painful searching-for-a-vein or when they've been in the hospital for several days and have decided they really want to go up to the hospital library, but you can't, because it will take another hour for the chemo to go through.

Two Piece Outfits: If the child is on chemo, then they'll have either a central line or a portacath. Either way, they'll need clothes with easy access. So, no onesies, overalls, dresses, etc.

For the parent:

A college-size refrigerator: a food tray comes for your child, but not for Mom or Dad. And you don't want to leave your child to go in search of a meal. (You really don't want to ... not just children either. We've had too many near-misses on wrong medicine or such ... I wouldn't leave an adult alone in the hospital.) This is also for kiddo. Hospital food is bad enough ... on chemo, bleaugh.

Book Light: self-explanatory, right?

Swiss Army Knife: well, my daddy taught me that a lady (or a gentleman) always carries a pocketknife, but in the hospital, definitely. You just will need one for all the myriad things that come up -- opening toys, slicing food, craft projects ...

Screwdriver: if there's not one on the swiss army knife. Toys sometimes mean batteries, batteries nowadays mean screwed-on doors.

As I think of other things, I'll add them to this post.

1 comment:

Odette Molyneux said...

This was an amazing post for me! I have been searching for a list like this for days now. Thank you!