GOSH has a school for children. Daya’s school teacher is called Jackie.
I don’t know her surname and….We don’t need to because like Beyoncé, Jackie is so fundamentally important and a completely awesome entity that she goes by one name and one name only.
Daya loves her. I love her. She’s awesome. She’s the most amazing person. She’s fun and always comes armed with a trolley full of fun stuff. Stuff that she has planned out carefully and all links together. The woman’s a genius and she’s been our genius. She’s brought Daya back to life again. She represents everything that is not medical or invasive. She represents fun and learning and exploration and childhood.
Several weeks ago this lovely little dynamo turned up outside our door and so began one of the most beautiful relationships Daya has had in months. They are restricted by space. They sit in a mat on the floor and engage with each other in this one tiny spot.
A few weeks ago Daya’s doctor was in our room checking her chest and Daya was sitting their forlorn, whimsical and silent. She had her head in her hand. Whilst she was allowing her access to her body she was also ignoring her; her behaviour was tolerant and detached.
*tap tap tap* at the door. With one look, Daya exclaimed ‘Its Jackie. Its Jackie’. Up she jumped. I’ve never seen her doctor look so shocked. She shook her head and smiled in disbelief. ‘Oh my god Daya…who is this?’
Daya: Its Jackie!!
Me: Yep. This is Jackie. Daya’s ok she’s just fed up of living here that’s why she’s not talking or playing today; but Jackie, Jackie is something else. Watch this. Watch Daya when she comes in. She’s special…just watch them together. You’ll see.
Everyone knows about ‘Daya & Jackie’.
I’ve heard it said that the best love is the one you find when you weren’t even looking. Well this is the love that Daya has for Jackie.
Since Erin left, Jackie has been the only person Daya can play with where there isn’t a focus on anything medical. There is no probing or discussing. There are no gloves, wipes or syringes. There are no bloods to be taken or tightening of blood pressure cuffs. She doesn’t need to assess the person or defend herself. She doesn’t need to be examined in anyway. She feels safe and free with her. I make a particular effort to keep everyone out of the room when it is ‘Jackie Time’. Even I leave. We have sneaky peeks through the window. Sometimes they are doing messy play, sometimes they are at the table in deep discussion, sometimes Daya is directing things or listening carefully.
Jackie has an intricate understanding of Daya. To be able to develop a child one needs to want to engage with them on the child’s terms. She’s clearly a very experienced teacher but she makes it all fun. It’s all learning through play. She has a lot of energy and she reads Daya all the time. Many of these children are being robbed of expected childhoods; childhoods were you wake up everyday and go exploring, where you get to walk around and meet other children…
She brought a play kitchen into the room to encourage Daya to play with food and eat something. I went to the shops and stocked up the little kitchen with real food. She bought couscous in to play with. The next day they poured water into it…Daya’s long hospital stays have deprived her of a lot of multi sensory experiences.
With Jackie she’s not a sick kid anymore. She’s just a kid having fun. Daya has been learning a lot and they do fun things together. Daya cries for her when she’s not there.
Having a school in a hospital is wonderful. The GOSH school is brilliant. Jackie, ‘The Jackie’, is wonderful.
Jackie made a great book for Daya of an hour we spent at the park. It’s the only time we have left the hospital together and it was a lot of fun for Daya to have Jackie with her. They spend a lot of time chatting together. They are always discussing something.
Sent from my iPhone