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Feeling Bad, Getting Better
A Kid's Guide to Illness and Injury
By Tom McGrath, R. W. Alley
Abbey PressCopyright © 2002 Tom McGrath
All rights reserved.
Being Sick Is No Fun
When you are sick, your body feels bad. You may not feel like doing the things you usually do. You might need to have medical tests, get shots, or take icky medicine. You may have to stay in the hospital for a while.
Nobody wants to be sick. It's okay to be mad about it—or sad or scared. It helps if you know a few things about being sick, and about your sickness. It helps to understand why you feel bad and what you can do to get better.
Remember, there are many people who love and care about you. They want to do everything they can to see that you get well.
Life Is Different
When you're sick, your life changes. You might not be able to run and play as you usually do. Sometimes you can't hang out with your friends. You may have to miss baseball games or a party.
If you stay in the hospital, you will be sleeping in a different place and eating different kinds of food. You might share a room with someone you don't know.
A hospital can be busy and noisy and sometimes even scary. Even though a hospital can seem very strange, everything that happens there is meant to help you get better.
It's Okay to Be Mad or Sad
Being sick can make you grumpy or mad. Sometimes you feel lonely and sad. And often you just feel bad.
It's normal to have feelings like this when you're sick. As you get better, you will feel more like yourself again. Your life will become more like the way it was.
Tell your feelings to someone who understands, like your parents, or the nurse, or your aunt when she comes to visit you.
You probably don't know why you feel bad. You might wonder what's going to happen to you.
Ask the doctor, nurse, or your parents anything you want to know, like:
Why do I have to take that medicine?
Why do I need to stay in bed?
When can I get up and play again?
Sometimes the grown-ups you ask won't know all the answers. Ask anyway, so that the people taking care of you know what's on your mind.
When you're sick or in the hospital, you can't be with your family and friends as much as usual. This can make you feel lonely.
Even though they can't be with you, your family and friends still love you and care about you. Keep something close to you that reminds you of your home and family—like a favorite stuffed animal, or a family picture, or a scarf that smells like your mom's perfume.
When I was seven years old and sick in the hospital, my classmates wrote me letters and drew pictures for me. This helped me to feel connected with my friends. I still have that box of letters today! Maybe your friends can send you some letters or pictures.
Don't Blame Yourself
No one wants to get sick or to get hurt. You try to take good care of yourself, so you can stay healthy. You try to play safely, so you won't get hurt.
But sometimes people do get sick or hurt. Maybe you caught a bad germ. Maybe you had an accident. Maybe something in your body just isn't working right.
This is not a time to blame yourself for being sick or hurt. Your sickness is not a punishment for doing something wrong.
This is a time to think about what you can do now to feel better. That means listening to the doctors and others who care for you and following their orders.
Excerpted from Feeling Bad, Getting Better by Tom McGrath, R. W. Alley. Copyright © 2002 Tom McGrath. Excerpted by permission of Abbey Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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