Louise is a special little girl. Unlike other little girls, Louise has a condition of her lungs called cystic fibrosis. Not only does Louise get a pat on the back when she has done something well, Louise’s parents pat her on the back 20 times every morning to help clear her lungs.
When Louise goes to school, she coughs a lot. She keeps a box of tissues handy. Louise loves sport and the gym at school, but she often gets tired more than her schoolmates. At lunchtime, Louise takes tablets to help her digest her food. This gives her strength from her food so she can deal with her misbehaving lungs.
Having cystic fibrosis and keeping herself healthy is a big responsibility for Louise, her family, and her health time. There is a lot to stay on top of. Lucky for Louise, her brilliant imagination and her wonderful nature make coping with cystic fibrosis fun.
Today, Louise is going on a school excursion to body land. She jumps on the bus with her school friends. The teacher, Mrs Swift whirls her wand and the bus spins in the air in a magnificent show of fireworks and sparks. Suddenly, the schoolroom looks ginormous, and the cars on the road are a hundred times bigger than the bus.
“Did everything just get bigger Mrs Swift?” Louise enquired.
“No! We shrunk!” Mrs Swift explained excitedly.
“Today, we are going on an adventure into the human body! We are going to explore the lungs of someone with cystic fibrosis. I know it can be challenging for you with your illness and I think it is important that your school friends understand the human body so they can appreciate how amazing and special you are!”
Louise and her schoolmates were very eager for this adventure. Mrs Swift started up the engine and the bus flew from the ground and whizzed around the classroom and through the classroom window. The view was truly amazing.
The bus arrived in a near by hospital and Mrs Swift swiftly spotted a suitable location for their excursion. A young lady was sleeping with her mouth wide open in the lung ward of the hospital. “Okay class, we are going in”, Mrs Smith stated as the bus flew into the lady’s mouth and down her lungs.
“Today, I am going to teach you about cystic fibrosis”.
“Cystic fibrosis is a condition with the lungs where the body makes too much mucous. See – look at all these green goblins. They are everywhere!”
The class looked out the window and noticed little green men everywhere, hanging out in all the nooks and crannies.
“Healthy lungs produce green goblins, these are important for looking after our lungs and makes it easy to breath. For someone with cystic fibrosis, these green goblins become thick and they stick together. When green goblins stick together, they aren’t very good at protecting themselves from bugs.
The green goblins and thick mucous isn’t just a problem in your lungs. It can also affect your eating system. This is why you need to take tablets to help you get nutrients from your food.
To make normal green goblins, your body needs a special protein; in cystic fibrosis this protein is broken and doesn’t work properly. Cystic fibrosis is not contagious, so you can’t catch it off anyone; it is something you are born with. Does anyone have any questions?”
“Mrs Swift, it feels like there is an earth quake, what is going on?” One of the school children called out.
“Oh this must be the chest physio clapping our lady on the back!”
The green goblins were flying all over the place, the bus had to dodge and duck as not to be hit!
“Clapping on the back is helpful to stop the goblins sticking together, this is great at stopping bugs and infections in the lungs”, Mrs Swift continued.
“People with cystic fibrosis are very lucky, they have a whole team of people who look after them very well! The team includes a physiotherapist, doctors, nurses, social workers, and lung therapists so many! The team basically makes sure that the lungs are working as well as they can and that enough nutrients are being eaten. If you have cystic fibrosis, you can eat more food than someone who doesn’t have cystic fibrosis! Think of how many extra desserts you’d be allowed!”
“Even when all the team is doing everything right, sometimes the goblins can become infected – look out the left window class.”
The class looked out to see a bunch of goblins fighting some smaller gremlins with spitballs.
“See those yellow gremlins class – they are bacteria, bacteria can take over and cause an infection which makes you very sick”.
“Hopefully the goblins can win this battle against the gremlins… if they don’t though don’t worry! Infections can be treated with medicines that kill the gremlins so the goblins can live in peace again.”
“Okay class, I think we should go back to the classroom before we disturb the lady!”
Louise felt very special that she was unique and the class got to learn all about her today!
For more information about cystic fibrosis:
Cystic Fibrosis organisations in Australia provide support and services to people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and their carers and families. This is complemented by a commitment to research and a quality improvement program focussing on improved clinical care for people with CF.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust is the only UK-wide charity making a daily difference to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis, and those who care for them.
The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.