Saturday, 22 September 2007

The Balloon Fest...



An Anagram Balloon...





Remember the story of *Hisham and the Red Balloon, and how I promised to write about the balloon fest one day?

Well, that day is today…




Children naturally love balloons right? They love bobbing it about, they love the different colours and shapes they come in, and some very brave ones also love popping them…



Just a few days back, I paid Khai Yue a visit, and brought along one little Elmo (anagram) balloon which Ruverny and I got for her...That was the one thing that really brightened her day...Elmo, on a balloon...





Look at Little Khai Yue and her Elmo Balloon...



Now, I must admit I have always had a fear of popping balloons. I would be the first to run whenever some sadist of a person decides to include ‘sit on a balloon till it bursts’ in some telematch or party game…Nevermind sit on it, if someone were to do it in front of me also, I will be running!



But I still love balloons nonetheless! When I was young, my parents used to get me those tahan-lasak Anagram Balloons which don’t go pop, unless some naughty fingers intentionally take a needle to it…You know them; they come in shapes of animals etc, with prints of cartoon characters, and last quite a few months...



Even when I get admitted into the hospital (sorry lar, I had very naughty tonsils), and people will insist on bringing all kinds of fruits and all the things I cannot eat (sick lar wei!), I wish I could just say: Aiyo, go buy me one of those balloons.

They cost about RM 7 each (depending on size, of course) and I would actually be very happy…RM 7 costs less than a whole bunch of grapes, prunes, plums and the like anyway…



Which is how my best friend Yean Mei and I found ourselves deciding to throw a balloon fest one day in the hospital one day…


Being a bunch of erm, penganggur’s, we could not afford to buy those super expensive balloons. And you have to remember that we had to prepare a total of at least 100 balloons to cater for all the children!




It was Yean Mei’s sudden inspiration of buying from wholesale distributors that we managed to buy within our budget…In fact, on hearing about our plans, the shop keeper, bless his soul, even offered to sponsor the sticks (we could not afford to pump helium into the balloons to let them float, so we needed to use sticks to keep them upright!), as his donation!

And so it was that we ended up throwing a balloon fest in the hospital…




Early the morning of the 13th of April 2006, a Friday, Yean Mei and I trooped to the office of the Medical Social Work Department. We were quite ambitious, attempting to blow up and tie 100 balloons in an hour, with only one pump…

When the officers saw us coming in with bags of balloons, and more obviously, balloons sticks, they burst into grins. And so we started, Yean Mei and me alternating using the pump while the other relied on good, old, air from the lungs…

Very soon, Cik Faridah, a social worker, along with Pn Liza, the clerk, offered to help us, happy grins on their faces…


Pn Kala, the head of the department was busy with paperwork, but popped in every now and then to give moral support…




And then we hit a little snag…I found that the more balloons I blew, the redder my face had become. If that was not all, my lips were stinging very badly and puffing up. As it turns out, my face was somewhat sensitive to latex.


And the most ironic thing? There was no anti-histamine in the hospital wards! I needed to go to the pharmacy to get pills…I had to settle for warm water, and continue blowing with the pump…In the end, I just did all the attaching of balloons to the stick for the rest.





The next problem? How to get all the balloons up to the wards at the same time, with only four hands? We decided to go ward by ward in the end. Interestingly, quite a few balloons were hijacked along the way, including one by the security guards…

And yet another problem...How to get the handfuls of balloons into the lift?

We managed...somehow...




The first ward was Hisham’s ward, Ward 5D…Ward 5D is the Pediatric Surgical Ward. We visited each bed, and wrote the names of each child on his/her balloon, with thick marker. Every sibling too, if around, got one each. Some parents also asked for the children they had at home!


It turns out the balloons were not only a hit with the children, they were also a hit with parents and the staff. Some of the nurses instantly came forward and said ‘Saya dulu!’, with large grins on their faces…They were fooling around, of course, but we obliged with a few...





The last child to get one in Ward 6A...Sorry, this is the only picture I can use as the face is not seen (no permission to show face)...




Next was Ward 6A, the General Pediatric Ward. The children there were delighted with the balloons, some asking for a more than one. One very tiny little boy even took the balloons in his hands and squeezed it…

Needless to say, Daphne here ran for her life!

His mother lamented: “The only thing he does with balloons, is burst them!

And he burst into giggles the minute they exploded! Oh dear…




The 6A nurses whispered to us that that Sister was not feeling too well that day, so we left her a bright balloon with a big Smiley Face too! We also left balloons with the nurses of the wards, seeing how excited they all were...




Next up was the Pediatric (Day-Care) Oncology Ward...It is so amazing how something as small as a balloon managed to cheer these terminally ill kids up. The toothless smiles on the faces of the sometimes hairless heads was quite an experience...

I wish I could show you those happy grins...


There was one little girl with leukemia, *Susan, who kept accidentally breaking them...And before we left the ward, she had waddled up to us 3 times with her hand outreached, a big smile upon her pale face...Susan had no hair, but her mother said she was getting slightly better...



By this time, Yean Mei and I were pretty tired already. Handing out balloons turned out to be no easy feat...And the time was now almost noon...



With our last handful(s) of balloons, we proceeded to the Pediatric Clinic to hand out balloons to the children coming for their check-up's...

Along the way from the wards to the clinics, again quite a few got hijacked by little children who saw them, and even one very tired specialist whose face lit up when she saw the balloons. We automatically offered her one, seeing how tired she looked...

By the time we were done, our hands were aching, and we were already drenched in sweat.




But, it was worth it all...Who would have thought it would be such a hit? It didn't cost that much, and yet, it brought so much laughter and giggling into the Pediatric Wards that Yean Mei and I vowed to throw another balloon fest one day...



Which we will, sometime in December, probably nearing X-Mas...We also hope to distribute tiny goodie-bags...

Anyone care to join us? After all, more people means more budget, which means better balloons!


Whatever it is, you know what to get me, if touch wood (Touch plenty of wood!), I get admitted into the hospital...




*Note: Name has been changed...



24 comments:

Pi Bani said...

Hey Daph,
Just went to ward 6A today to visit my client's daughter who was admitted for kidney problems. Didn't bring her any balloons lah...

Next time I see you, I'll try to burst a balloon... *chuckle*

Jo-D said...

Daphne!
I have come back from my short vacation and it's back to routine. Looks like I have a lot of reading to catch up with. What a sweet thing you and Yean Mei did. I'm not surprised you two are best friends if you both have the same heart. And both wearing yellow! How sweet this world will be if there are more like the both of you. Remember to tell us about the next balloon fest ok?

Jaded said...

Count me in dear!!

But a word of warning. I'm one of those horrible people who pops balloons just for the heck of seeing people jump =P

Anonymous said...

First time here. Great job the both of you! I have always liked balloons too and even when I had my baby, I wanted balloons. How I wished when my daughter was admitted to the hosptial some people had thought of bringing cheer to the ward, in whatever way. Mostly they will only come if there is a celebration like Hari Raya and then they will come with reporters. That;s why it's a great thing when people especially people so yougn like you and Yean Mei do things like this just because you want to.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

ok, call me paranoid for all i care and no offence to him but y wld a security guard wants a balloon for? in the wake of what has been happening lately, i dread thinking what a balloon cld do in luring young kids.

i'm not being overly-paranoid, am i, daph?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

Yeah, I read your blog about Zainab's 5 year old...How is she? Hope she's doing well...=)

Oh, and remind me never to go near you when there's a balloon in sight!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jo-D,

Hey! Welcome back...I was wondering what happened to you already...

Haha...Would you believe me when I said the yellow wasn't planned? Purely coincidental...Honestly...

Thanks for coming back, by the way!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jaded,

Oh No! Another balloon-bursting kaki? How can somebody so sweet and petite like you inflict so much harm?

Same goes to Kak Pi...Such a nice person and yet so dangerous...

*Tsk Tsk*

Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned I have a fear of popping balloons...=(

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 9.20pm,

Ah-ha! My soul mate...

You like balloons too huh? Hehe...So I'm not the only 'weird' one lar...

Thanks for coming by, and I sure hope your daughter is feeling better now...

Take care...

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,

Haha...It was a female guard lar...She wanted to give it to her daughter lar...

But if it was a guy, I guess it is warranted if people feel apprehensive...

winniethepooh said...

Well done Daphne and Yean Mei :) kids and balloons are like bees to honi..never failed to bring alot of smiles to their face. hmm..should say even adults too huh :)

me too very scared of balloons popping! hehe *hi 5* Do let us know ur next balloon fest okie, i'm sure it will be a great success like the one u did :)

hv a great weekend Daphne!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Winnie,

Yay-yay! I found someone who is afraid of popping balloons!

"kids and balloons are like bees to honi", huh?

Looks like I never grew up then...Hehe...

I will blog about the next balloon fest, if all goes well...

You have a great week too Pooh Bear!

kl_gal said...

Great job. I'm sure the kids + parents wont forget the balloons.Reminds of this song my flatmate used to play a longgg time ago:
I have a blue balloon, a happy tune, love enough to last me all through the afternoon.....before the rivers run dry, before the last sad goodbye, let us be kind to one another, we can try :))
I'm sure the little ones felt he same way

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

told u i'm paranoid! God help me.

david santos said...

Hello, Daphne Ling!

Tahnks for posting, very good.
Have a good day

Jo said...

Its nice to know there are people out there who goes out of their way to help lighten up others' day!

I would like to join u the next time u throw such balloon fest. Just let me know when n where.

Elween said...

hi daphne, well done and i am sure many people will appreciate it. unfortunately i am afraid of balloons , which you might laugh bcoz i had a really bad experience in the past!

take care and have a great day! :)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi KL_Gal,

I've never heard that song before! Now I'm wishing I could actually get you to sing it to me...=)

Thanks for coming by...I think it is pretty accurate if I say that children generally love balloons, and so do some adults!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,

Nah...It's ok...In today's world, must be paranoid also...Not surprising seeing the things we see today...

Hey David,

Thanks for coming by, and you're welcome! I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed posting...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jo,

I would love to include you in our next balloon fest, but you gotta give me something to contact you with! I see your profile is not accessible =( Thanks for coming by though...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Elween,

No, there's nothing funny about fearing balloons...People are all afraid of 'funny' things...

After all, one man's meat is another man's poison...=)

Thanks for sharing this story despite your fear of balloons...

-hana- said...

OMG~! What a great experience you have with the kids ~ i wish i could do the same too.. hey, tell you what, i'd looovee to join your next ballon day/fiest/whatever u call 'em! loL! And of coz, with great honour i'll contribute some of the budgets! after all, the more the marrier, isnt it?!
p/s: first time to your blog ~ sure i'll read more.. lol!

Cheers~!
-hana-

fafa said...

hi daphne, its been great reading your blog and i'm hoping to join you in your next balloon fest! its a wonderful idea and well done the both of you!

much respect,
farah

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Fafa @ Farah,

Thanks! Will holler if and when we have another =)