In some circumstances I really did need to be there. I didn’t get much sleep but I was needed.
Once she turned thirteen she was admitted to Ward 17 where things are a little different.
As the ward is for teenagers, parents are not really encouraged to stay. This particularly applies during routine admissions.
At first it is very difficult to leave her there alone. We got late night tearful calls. I remember this as being a very stressful time for the whole family.
I was desperate to get a good nights sleep. At the same time I felt awful leaving her there alone. I’d often ring the ward and ask the nursing staff for reassurance. They were very understanding.
After a short while, our young teenager started to make friends with the other patients and join in their activities like Club Ado. It is a great feeling to see her independence and confidence develop.
There are a lot of benefits that come from mixing with other teenagers who have battles of their own. Sometimes my daughter has told me that she thinks other kids have a harder time than she does. I think there is considerable benefit in having this sort of perspective.
Staying by herself also means that our teenager learns to ask for and receive assistance from other people.
This is a helpful development during a time when she, like most teenagers, increasingly disregards most things we have to say.
Nursing staff and fellow patients can play an important positive role in helping her come to terms with managing her own health.
Once I got used to it, I did start to enjoy my daughter flying solo on Ward 17.
So if you are negotiating the transition to Ward 17 let me say – “If you are going through hell, keep going.” You will enjoy it when you get to the other side.
Photo courtesy of Lip Kee at Flickr Creative Commons