Hi, I’m Tim.†
I’m 6 and I like to ride my bike with friends. Sometimes I feel sick and I can’t ride my bike, which makes me feel a bit sad. I’ll tell you a story about my friends.
† Fictitious patient.
I have two really good friends. Their names are Piet and Anna. Piet is in my class, and Anna lives next door.
Since we often play together, they already found out that I don’t feel well sometimes. And I have already told them a little about being sick.
I’m glad that I told them!
This is why:
The other day, we had planned to meet with some of the other kids to ride our bikes. But on the way home from school, I was really tired and hurting. I told Piet that I couldn’t ride with them.
I was really sad because I had to stay home alone. Again. At some point, the doorbell rang. I was pretty sure it was for my mum. But then my mum came into my room and said: “Tim, you have visitors. Shall I let your friends come in?”
When the other kids asked during the bike ride why I wasn’t coming along, Piet and Anna told them about my illness. Then they all agreed that they would first ride their bikes for a while and then visit me later. This is possible, you know, because my illness is not contagious. (This means that no one can catch it from me.)
So they came over! And they offered to play something different that is not so tiring for me.
But first, Adam wanted to know why I’m sick and what it has to do with automobiles.
“Nothing,” I told him. “The name for my illness just sounds a bit like it.”
“My illness can only be detected by a special doctor who knows a lot about this type of sickness. My doctor did a lot of detective work to find out that I have an autoinflammatory disease. He’s like Sherlock Holmes! Mainly, I get fevers a lot. Sometimes I get symptoms like people do when they get a bleeding cut or catch a stomach bug: like fever and rash and pain. Only I don’t have a cut or stomach bug. These things happen on their own. It’s not my fault. Not that it’s anyone’s fault when they get sick.”
“Well why do you get ill then?” Adam asked.
“This has to do with the defense system. The defense system is like the body’s police that protect us against attacks by bad guys. These bad guys are bacteria (like with sore throat) and viruses (like with cold and flu), for example. When they get into our bodies, we can get a cough..."
“…or feel sick. But the body’s police fight the bad guys so that we don’t get ill or can quickly become healthy again.
It looks like my body’s police work too hard – the cops work even when there aren’t any bad guys and when they could actually take a break.”
“My body’s police act like there are always bad guys around. Then I get a fever and pain, and I am tired because my body’s police work hard, and that takes a lot of energy.” After I finished telling my story about the defense system, we played. I was a magician and turned everyone into animals. They meowed and barked – it was fun!
Anna had the idea to write down a list of games that we can play the next time I feel bad.
This kind of list is smart. If you run out of ideas, you can pick a game from the list. This way, it’s never boring.
You can probably think of other games as well!