She wakes up from restless sleep hearing unfamiliar voices and needs some time to remember that she isn’t at home. She is lying in a hospital bed. Her mom brought her here yesterday and told her that she is undergoing some surgery in the throat but she can’t remember the complicated name of the procedure. She is only seven years old. But she remembers her mom saying that there are going to be other kids and that she will receive ice cream afterwards. To the girl, it sounded like summer camp – only indoors.
Now she wakes up in this room next to nine other children. The room is big and cold, five beds on each side of the room and still lots of room between them. Three large windows, running from floor to ceiling, let in the light and open the view to some kind of park. She is lying in a bed next to those windows and wonders why the curtains are moving like water. A crying sound from the other side of the room stops her thoughts. She looks at the nurses and children around her. Everyone seems very busy, nurses walking around with little medicine cabinets and thermometers. Child after child is given some medicine and then rolled out of the door in their bed. The nurses don`t look at her, she is lying quietly in her bed in the corner observing the room. She wishes they would move her out of the room in her bed as well. It seems to be fun.
After some time she tries to lift the heavy and stiff blanket in order to stand up but is quickly told not to move by one of the nurses. She does not understand why she is supposed to lie down when everyone else is so busy and gets attention. But still she lies down again, shyly following the orders of the nurse and starts jealously watching the other children getting rolled out of the room. She feels left out and doesn’t understand what’s going on.
After a while the first child is brought back into the room. It is fast asleep but also paler than before. She imagines what kind of fun they must be having outside that door, coming back that exhausted. Child after child returns but not all of them as calm as the first one. Some of them are crying already when rolled back in, some start later on. The child next to her starts coughing and gagging. There is blood! There is blood on her hands and on her mouth! The child is coughing bright red blood on the white linen! Is she dying? What is happening here? Why is everyone hurt? The girl gets scared and starts crying, looking for someone to comfort her. But all the nurses are busy taking care of the freshly operated children, handing handkerchiefs and strangely formed shallow bowls for them to spit into. The girl tries to not look at the other children but is fascinated by the whole scenery at the same time. The blood is so bright on the white linen.
Only after the last child is brought back into the room a doctor walks directly to her bed asking why she is still in there. The girl is confused and too afraid to answer. She thinks that they may have made a mistake but does not want to get the nurses into trouble. The doctor asks if she can get up and after affirming the question the girl walks out of the room besides the doctor. She tells her to wait a second in the hallway while she discusses something the girl can’t hear with another nurse. Then she takes her by the hand, leading her into the room of another patient – an old woman – telling her to watch after the girl for a while. Only then the doctor explains that the girl developed a fever at night and is not going to get the surgery that was planned for today (removing her tonsils). The doctor tells her to wait and play with the old lady until her mum comes to pick her up in the afternoon. The girl starts crying, relieved to hear that there is not going to be surgery and that her mum is coming soon.