Everything was done for the day. All my admin stuff, all my teaching/guidance of nurses through normal routines and patient care on the ward. I had passed off everything to the evening charge and my to-do list had grown short enough that it was time for a break. It was an hour before supper, and I decided I had plenty of time for a visit to B ward. So I slipped through the door and within seconds was surrounded by small children, most no taller than my waist. Many wanted high-fives as they continued past to other children or activities. There were nurses on the floor on blankets with children surrounding them doing crafts or activities, there were nurses trying to organize plans for the care of these precious ones, and many other besides. And there was one small one who had just had his surgery to remove the eight plates in his legs, who wandered up to me and held up his hands.
It's one of those universal gestures. When a child walks up to you with hands raised, he wants to be picked up. So I picked him up and walked with him for a bit, before finding an empty chair to sink into. It wasn't long before he was resting his head on my chest, arms limp at his sides, content to hang out and let the world pass by. As I sat there, with my back to an empty bed, one of the other children came and climbed on the bed, chattering away and trying to tell me my hair should be "plaited" or braided. I had my hair back in a pony tail, with lots of whisps already flying free at the edges, so she encouraged more to pull out of the pony tail and proceeded to play with my hair. At four, the playing didn't accomplish much beyond making my hair messy, but her companions noticed what she was up to, and suddenly I had 3 sets of hands all pawing at my hair. And I just sat back and soaked it in. Another child walked up to me and started repeating "baloo, baloo, baloo" and gesturing as if blowing up a balloon. Seeing the number of balloons already sailing around the room and being played with, I decided they had enough, and didn't even rise from my spot, instead shaking my head gently and telling him no, not now. Chatting with the kids and other nurses, I spent my down time until supper sitting there, just enjoying their presence. This place is good for the soul.