Or­deal chance to give back

The Press - - News - JOEL INESON

Jo Triplow still gets emo­tional when she re­calls her new­born son’s seven-night stay in hos­pi­tal.

Jack, now a healthy 4-year-old, had what was ‘‘prob­a­bly like a cold for any adult’’ but at nine weeks old he ended up spend­ing five of those seven nights in Christchurch Hos­pi­tal’s Pae­di­atric High Depen­dency Unit.

It be­gan with a week of doc­tors vis­its. Triplow was told Jack likely had ro­tavirus and they would be in for ‘‘a tough 10 days’’. But the di­ag­no­sis ‘‘didn’t feel right’’.

‘‘We went back on the Fri­day and they took one look at him and said ‘go straight to hos­pi­tal’. We lit­er­ally went from the doc­tor’s surgery up to the ward,’’ she said.

‘‘We were in­side for a week...on the Wed­nes­day I think I stepped out­side for about 10 min­utes but you just don’t leave your baby in those times.’’

Triplow still does not know what virus Jack had, but he even­tu­ally made a full re­cov­ery.

The key things she re­mem­bered from his stay in ward 22, a 20-bed ward for chil­dren up to age 15 , was how she was treated and the dis­com­fort from stay­ing by her child’s side for a week.

‘‘The nurs­ing staff were just so in­cred­i­ble. I re­mem­ber there was this one nurse . . . she said ‘is this the colour your baby nor­mally is?’ Be­cause he was grey,’’ Triplow said through tears.

It was a sim­ple ques­tion with an ob­vi­ous an­swer, but one which gave her hope at a time she felt help­less, she said.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously ba­bies aren’t grey. It was just the way they treated you, they gave you back con­trol and they sort of show what you say has value. It was so spe­cial.’’

She wanted to show her ap­pre­ci­a­tion and give back to the ward, to im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence not only for par­ents but staff as well. A visit to friend Re­nee Jones sparked an idea.

Jones worked for Path­way Trust, which owns com­mer­cial fur­ni­ture com­pany Al­loy­fold. The pair spent three years with the com­pany to find chairs which had to meet a list of strict cri­te­ria, from anti-bac­te­rial fab­ric to be­ing load tested.

An­other year of fundrais­ing more than $22,000 un­der the um­brella of the Ma¯ ia Health Foun­da­tion meant the last of 12 chairs could be de­liv­ered to the ward last week.

Marsh­land School fundraised for one and EduKids Pre­stons picked up the tab for three of the chairs. Strangers do­nated money to a Givealit­tle page.

Tracy Jack­son, the ward’s charge nurse man­ager, said the chairs meant they could bet­ter pro­vide for fam­i­lies in need.

‘‘Staff recog­nise that fam­i­lies want to be with their chil­dren and they need to be com­fort­able.

‘‘When we nurse a child, we nurse a fam­ily, so for us to make sure that car­ers are re­ally com­fort­able as well, and get­ting rest, is re­ally im­por­tant.’’

The chairs can re­cline com­pletely hor­i­zon­tally, have a re­tractable footrest for breast­feed­ing mums and a side which drops for wheel­chair ac­cess among their many fea­tures.

More in­for­ma­tion about the chairs and Triplow and Jones’ ef­forts can be found on the 12 Chairs for the Chil­dren’s Ward Face­book page.

"The nurs­ing staff were just so in­cred­i­ble.'' Jo Triplow

PHOTO: IAIN MCGRE­GOR/STUFF

Jo Triplow was mo­ti­vated to help start a char­ity to sup­ply comfy seats to Christchurch hos­pi­tal af­ter her son, Jack, spent seven nights there.

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