When I heard about Monkey Wellbeing I was instantly in love with the concept and how it came about. A Mum who was faced with her very young daughter needing surgery created Monkey, in story book form, as a way to describe to her little girl what was going to happen when she visited hospital, and help her feel calm and reassured rather than nervous and uncertain about it all.
When I was offered the chance to review the products that are currently available in relation to Monkey Wellbeing I knew that it was something that’d really suit us because we’ve got various reasons to be visiting doctors and hospitals on a regular basis – Sometimes in regards to Ethan’s health and sometimes mine. Anything that I can use to help Ethan feel more comfortable in a medical environment is Definitely going to be a help.
The first thing we noticed when we opened the package was, obviously, this adorable puppet of Monkey – Beautifully well made, very cuddly and full of character Ethan loved him instantly.
Monkey tried to have a chat with Ethan but Ethan was having none of it, he wanted a big cuddle instead. You may notice that Ethan isn’t exactly looking his best, there’s some big dark circles under his eyes, he’s still in his pjs and he’s got his towel with him. As it happens Monkey arrived a few days after we’d had our first emergency hospital visit with Ethan – He woke up screaming one morning and before long we were in hospital as he was screaming in agony every time he tried to wee. Having been born with urinary tract problems this scared us quite considerably – After a day in hospital and various pokings, proddings, blood tests and. eventually, some wees he seemed much better but we had no idea what had gone wrong. Would have been nice to have Monkey and all of his books and stickers with us on that day, but at least he arrived when he did!
The pack that arrived with Monkey contained two story books, ‘Monkey Has a Blood Test’ and ‘Monkey has an Operation’, an informative book about health, an activity book with crayons and all sorts of fabulous stickers – A real treasure trove of information, ideas and ways to engage a little one with things which would, otherwise, be really tough to talk about.
Both of the story books are fantastic, the photographs are a big Monkey being treated as the child would, explaining things in detail so as to make things understandable to a little one and allow them to really relate to things. As well as that the activity book is a great way to get them getting even more interactive and really paying attention to everything included – Honestly, this resource is just invaluable.
With a child like Ethan, that’s obsessed with stickers, the sheets of stickers are amazing. These can be used in a real variety of situations and there’s so many that, if you need to visit the hospital regularly, or have regular appointments, you’ll be able to keep using them for a really good long time.
It’s never, ever, easy having a child be ill, or even more so having them in hospital and having operations but a resource like this could make life so much more bearable for both children and parents. I am, honestly, over the moon that we have this – As a family who’s going to be in and out of hospital for the rest of our lives, this is amazing. I really hope that more families are able to discover Monkey Wellbeing or even that it could be provided in hospitals for children who’re going to have operations etc.
Ethan’s first operation was when he was two days old so he was far too little to need this, but over the last four years we really could have done with having Monkey at our appointments with us. Luckily he’s not needed another operation since but he’s had really regular appointments and various scans and blood tests which would have been much easier to explain to him with the information and stories in the Monkey Wellbeing books.
As it happens, Monkey came at exactly the right time, he may have missed our first emergency hospital appointment but a week later, a few days after Monkey arrived, we were back in hospital and Ethan was worse than before. We had a less than fun evening in the children’s assessment department and it was seeming likely that Ethan would need to have a catheter fitted to help his bladder work but, just at the last minute we had a reprieve, his bladder managed to clear itself and we were allowed home (at 1am, miles from home, we had to get a taxi).
Ethan was getting really upset, whilst having to get poked and prodded in his very sore tummy, again, after goodness knows how many times, he managed to calm himself down and told the Doctor ‘I can be brave, I’ve got a Monkey in my bag that can make me feel better’ – Think Monkey has done a good job here!
Thankfully Ethan’s specialist thinks that he, ‘just’, had a really nasty urine infection that led to the bladder retention; it could have been so extreme because we’re still not 100% of whether or not his bladder and kidneys function entirely as they should due to his problems at birth. But, regardless of that, Ethan is still the Least complicated patient his specialist has ever had and in all of his scans, thus far, his kidneys have looked so so good. We’re not sure as to how his bladder is doing because it’s never full in a scan but now that he’s potty training I’m hoping he can learn to hold it for a scan. In theory, as long as everything goes as expected, Ethan will just need to be checked on every year, just to make sure, and that there’ll not be anything wrong in the future – That’s what’s most likely to happen!
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