Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — “The pain has eased. I hope it subsides completely, and I can return home with my parents and younger sister in time for Tết,” eight-year-old Trần Kim Cường said.
Cường’s mother, who was sitting next to him struggled to hold back her tears.
Tết is the time for a family union and good health, but not so for Cường and many others like him who are confined to hospital beds because of various ailments.
Cường, who hails from the northern mountainous Sơn La Province, is suffering from bone cancer. He was admitted in Hà Nội’s K3 Hospital that specialises in cancer treatment in September 2015 and has been undergoing radiation therapy since then. Last year, he was allowed to go home for the Tết holiday. Cường hopes this year will be no different.
Bùi Thị Hải, Cường’s mother, is also hoping that her son’s health improves, so that the doctors allow him to go home.
Also seeking treatment in the same ward are Hà Anh Tuấn, a boy from the Mường ethnic group in the northern Phú Thọ Province and Lê Đức Cảnh from the northern Bắc Ninh Province. Both the children expressed their desire to go home, so that they can receive their share of the "lucky money" during Tết, like the other children.
The children in the hospital dread injections, operations and most of all, not being able to go home during Tết.
Talking to Kinh te Do thi (Urban and Economic Affairs) Dr Phạm Thị Việt Hương from the Paediatrics Department of the K3 Hospital recalled an incident when a few young children had to stay back in the hospital during Tết.
“It was 2007. I was on duty at the hospital and had taken along my two-year-old son. Before the New Year’s Eve, a 12-year-old girl burst into tears and sat facing the wall, refusing to talk to anyone. She insisted on going home, which was 100 metres away from the hospital.
“I led my son to the patient’s bed and asked him to say ’Happy New Year’ to the crying girl. Consoled, the girl then joined a group of children to celebrate the New Year.”
However, what struck Dr Hương the most was the words of apology from the girl.
“I am sorry. You must be tired as you have been working since morning. You and your son too had to spend the New Year’s Eve in the hospital, so I should not have insisted on going home like this,” the girl said.
Dr Hương said the schedule for the doctors and nurses during the New Year holiday had become more hectic.
“Everyone wishes to spend time with their family. So, we have to remind ourselves to keep up with the times and help improve the health of the children, so that they can go home soon,” she said.
Every year, fewer than 10 patients stay back at the Paediatrics Department of the K3 Hospital through Tết. By December 28 of the lunar calendar it is decided whether the patients can be relieved from the hospital.
For the benefit of those patients who stay back, doctors and the hospital staff prepare a warm celebration. Each patient is presented with a lucky money envelope, biscuits, candy, milk and Chưng cakes. The hospital is decorated with cherry blossoms and kumquat trees. Doctors on duty then welcome the New Year with the patients.
Having worked at the hospital for 17 years, Dr Hương has witnessed many touching moments with her patients and their families, when they welcome the New Year together. Along with wishes and happiness, they hug and encourage each other to stay strong and fight the ailments. — VNS