Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Purchased Courage

Over the course of her childhood Alexandra visited BC Children's Hospital as an outpatient over fifty times. Throw in her hospital admissions and that number is closer to sixty. Unfortunately these visits often involved needles. She was terrified of getting poked, and would scream and kick and carry on until I feared for the safety of those around her (myself included). It is a horrible thing to see your child be so terrified, plus all of her thrashing about made the procedures much more painful than they would have been had she sat still.

There was, however, one thing Alexandra loved about going to Children's - the gift shop. It was quite small, but was filled with things that delight a small child - fancy pencils and erasers, notebooks, stickers and cheap jewelry. 

After one particularly harrowing event in nuclear medicine I came up with a brilliant idea, one that was to see us through many a rough spot over the coming years. In a word, it was bribery, although I prefer the term I used in the title of this post. Purchased courage.

I made a deal with her that roughly went like this. If she had to have a poke for a blood draw she would get $1. An IV would net $2, a procedure (endoscopy, kidney biopsy, etc.) was worth $5, and surgery earned a whopping $10. The money was cumulative, so if she had surgery she was into the big bucks because she usually had to have blood work ahead of time, plus there was the IV when she was put under, along with the surgery itself. 

But there was a catch. When she had these things done she could not scream, throw herself around or kick the unfortunate people who happened to be standing nearby (this last one was for my own protection). She could say "ouch" loudly and wiggle her toes and still get paid. Anything more than that and she wouldn't get a penny. Let me tell you, this worked like magic. Never once did we have an issue after this plan was implemented. She would march off to the gift shop and spend time looking at the goodies, figuring out what she could afford with her hard-earned money. She was so focused on the money that she would be calculating ahead of her visits exactly how much she would be earning! 

Now that Alexandra is an adult things have changed. As we were walking into the hospital a couple of weeks ago ahead of her surgery I turned to her and jokingly asked if she wanted me to pay her. She laughed and said no, that was okay. Of course, she was right. She is way too old to think she has hit the jackpot if she gets $10, and it has been many years since a $2 ring with an adjustable band, one that would turn her finger green within a couple of days, held any appeal. 

She has matured and so have her tastes. This latest hospital stay netted her these. Knit with Biscotte & Cie self-striping yarn purchased from The Loopy Ewe.




I'm happy to say these brought a smile to her face every bit as big as she used to get all those years ago at that little hospital gift shop.


20 comments:

  1. I'd do nearly anything for a pair of those socks. :) Maybe not surgery, but nearly anything else. They're gorgeous -- I hope her recovery is quick and uneventful! Lots of good strong healing thoughts coming your way.....(and the mama ought to get some little gift too, I'm just sayin.)

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    1. Ha! I think Alexandra would have rather had a way to get these socks other than surgery too!

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  2. beautiful socks for a beautiful girl!

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    1. Thanks Karen! They seemed a good match for her spicy personality!

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  3. The socks are spectacular! I sincerely hope there's no need to cheer her up for a long, long time.

    A bribe is only bad if it's to get someone to do something bad (dereliction of duty) or something routine (like clearing the dinner dishes).

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    1. I agree. Bribes can go either way. I never bribed my kids to get mundane jobs done. I do, however, bribe myself to get mundane jobs done with things like chocolate and tea. :-)

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    2. Haha, perfectly acceptable--and wise. I've always maintained that I can't be bribed and I'm willing to accept gifts to prove it.

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  4. Purchased courage rocks!

    Wiz got a pair of socks for each blood draw when he was little. He was a tiny little guy so it wasn't too difficult. But, considering that he has a bone marrow failure syndrome, I knit a LOT of socks.

    Now he just wants cash or ugly dolls.

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    1. And here I was, thinking I had come up with a unique form of bribery! :-)

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  5. great socks, bribery is fine if it achieves the right end result

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    1. Thanks! Yes, in this case bribery was a good thing. :-)

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  6. Kristie,

    I love that cheerful looking socks! I was wondering what is purchased courage, and I thought it very creative. You wrote "cheap jewelry" and I smiled. For children, they are as good as real diamonds.

    I hope parents of sick children are reading your blog. It might help many people. When we have problems, we tend to think only of problems rather than creative solution.

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    1. Thanks Keiko! It's funny you should say that about parents of sick kids reading this. I know two such parents who read my blog, and they have both used a similar bribery system. One of those parents is Kate, two comments above yours.

      And yes, it is so easy to only see the problems in front of us and not solutions. I am afraid I frequently fall into that trap.

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  7. Those socks are so cheery! Much better than $10 :)

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    1. Thanks! I think Alexandra thought they were a much better deal than $10 too!

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  8. You have a heart as big as Texas! You are a sweetheart! The best knitting is when you are knitting to bless someone else! I find I get too "into" myself when I am knitting something just for me....... but when I knit for others it just brings so much joy!

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    1. You are right. There is something great about knitting for other people. It is like your thoughts and well wished for that person are knit into each stitch!

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  9. If you are interested in hand knitted and crocheted creations Jass Design is the blog you should visit. Jass Design is a blog packed with ideas, yarns and inspiration. Welcome.

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  10. Love those colors! They definitely are happy socks :) I have used a version of purchased courage.. it would probably more aptly be called 'purchased acquiescence', though. Our then little girl used to fight getting pics taken at the local department store so I'd have to promise her something from the toy department. Oh, I'm thankful those days are over!

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    1. Ha! I think she had you figured out. :-)

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