Christmas cheer in hospital too

By Genevieve Helliwell

Spending Christmas Day in hospital is not ideal but 9-year-old William Brown knows it will be worth it in the long run.

It is likely the Papamoa boy will be one of the many children forced to spend tomorrow in a hospital bed but William isn't too concerned.

"It's sore ... I would rather be here when I need to be here than be at home when I should be here.

"And I don't mind too much, it's quite comfortable here. I can push the buttons for the nurses ... and the food is really nice."

William's Papamoa family will also join him on Christmas Day, and they are bringing the Christmas tree with them.

"I'm not sure what the policy is but we're going to sneak it in," William's dad Chris said.

William, a student at Papamoa Primary School, is recovering from an operation to correct his right leg, which was amputated below his knee when he was one.

He was born with a defect on his right leg and had to have corrective surgery every few years to make sure his stump was centred and his knee in alignment to enable him the ability to walk with a prosthetic leg.

William has had about four operations and will continue to have work done on his leg until he stops growing.

There were 19 children in the ward last night but it is not known how many will be in tomorrow.

Santa Claus will visit the children on Christmas Eve and each will wake up with presents at the foot of their beds, clinical nurse manager of the Children's Ward, Lynnece Dowle, said.

"We've had a whole week of Christmas celebrations with people coming in from the community and donating gifts and presents and cheques," she said.

"The nurses dress up and wear Christmas badges and all the kids will have a really yummy Christmas dinner."

During the day television and movies keep William occupied, but on Wednesday night he stayed awake from 10pm to midnight to hand-make Christmas cards for his surgeon, nurses and other hospital staff who looked after him.

"I wanted to say thank you and I couldn't sleep. I also made one for my mum for Christmas.

"Each one took about 30 minutes," he said.

William's positive attitude and determination to heal was inspirational, his dad said. Shortly after his surgery, William was on his crutches walking around the children's ward. "He was racing around because his [left] leg is so strong. Some of the staff were worried and told him to get back to bed," Mr Brown said.

William doesn't like being stuck in bed but said it was worth it once his wound healed. It will take about three months before he can walk on his prosthetic leg again.

Christmas Day menu at Tauranga Hospital

Starter: Cream of vegetable soup.

Choice of: Roast turkey with cranberry sauce, roast lamb with mint sauce or vegetarian lasagne. Served with gourmet new potatoes, orange glazed baby carrots, minted green peas, roast kumara and roast pumpkin.

For dessert: Plum pudding with brandy sauce and whipped cream, fresh strawberry mousse, fresh fruit salad or jelly and icecream.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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