Mr. Monkey and Elf – A Story from Pathways

A Tu Nidito Support Specialist has been working with an 11-year-old client who has a congenital heart disease. 

She has been struggling wearing her oxygen mask and tank for a couple of months now. During one visit, though, our Support Specialist introduced her to Mr. Monkey and Elf, pictured left. 

Mr. Monkey and Elf are the best of friends, and Elf helps take care of Mr. Monkey, who has a congenital heart disease just like the 11-year-old client. Mr. Monkey has also been struggling with wearing his oxygen tank and has to go to the hospital because of it. 

Elf always asks Mr. Monkey why he doesn’t wear his oxygen tank, and Mr. Monkey never shares why, he just ignores Elf. This makes Elf frustrated and sad because all Elf wants is to keep Mr. Monkey healthy by wearing his oxygen tank. 

Our Support Specialist had the client draw on Mr. Monkey what she believes Mr. Monkey feels inside that he doesn’t share with Elf. She drew a broken heart as well as an oxygen tank for Mr. Monkey. 

Our Support Specialist asked the client why she thinks Mr. Monkey doesn’t wear his oxygen tank. She replied, she thinks he doesn’t wear it because he is embarrassed to wear it in front of other people. He is embarrassed of what other people might think or say about him. Our Support Specialist asked the client if she felt like Mr. Monkey too. She said yes. 

Elf explained to the client and Mr. Monkey that they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about wearing their oxygen tank because it’s what helps keep them alive and healthy and that if people have questions, and they are comfortable answering them, they can tell people why they have to wear their oxygen tank.

Elf then asked Mr. Monkey if it would be helpful for Mr. Monkey to wear his oxygen tank if after every successful day/night, he would get a sticker the next day as a reward. Mr. Monkey loved the idea and asked the client if she would want to do this too, and she said yes. The Patient asked our Support Specialist what happens when she gets 100 stickers. The Support Specialist said maybe after 100 stickers, the client’s parents could give her a prize such as ice-cream or a toy.

The client and Mr. Monkey picked out their stickers from the art room and said they would try this out in hopes that this would help them wear their oxygen tanks more often.