Thursday, 14 February 2013

It's stupid o' clock in the morning.....

but I need to get this out of my head so that I can sleep.

The Girl's cardiac clinic appointment:

After 3 days online research for buses and bus stops and street view walking from the outpatient clinic in Fulham Road to the main hospital in Sydney Street so that I feel comfortable being the grown up in control; when you get off the train at Victoria (which from our town now is just the slow train once an hour), Terminus Place is a complete jumble of construction work.

The main entrance is shut and the bus stop we need (G) is not in use.  So, we trot back through the hustle and bustle, get info from a random bloke in an official looking coat and go wandering to (I think) Buckingham Palace Road to find a bus (211 and not the C1 as last time) and a bus stop.  I buy a ticket from the machine and wait, the bus comes (it is friggin' cold too) but is going in the wrong direction, sigh.  We manage to find our way back across the street and up the road a little (with the bustling people, crazy traffic and assorted street furniture) to a bus stop and eventually a bus going in the right direction.  We get on and I feel dizzy with cold and anticipation and relief that we still have time.

So, the bus stops not outside the Outpatients Clinic in Fulham road as I expected but in Sydney Street but it's ok because I virtually walked it so it's familiar.  We walk and I chat about Lady Diana (this was her stomping ground I think) and we find our way to the Children's Clinic.  I remember to ask for the travel reimbursement form and all is well.

It is 11 o/c and we sit and wait then I realise all was not well.  We are in the noisy, baby-screamy waiting area - I crochet - then I feel something - she is crying. 

What, wait - she hates this place, "well after this we never need to come back, you will be in the adult clinic,", I try to reassure her.  She doesn't want to take her clothes off, "we will ask for a gown, or do you want me to stay outside", no that's fine she's just scared.  Ok, we sit and wait.  Through the din we hear her name and off we go with a sweet looking young lady (not English but we are used to that).  She sees the tears and smiles and tries to chat.  This is an ECG, something we have not had for a long time.  I can't see that they will get an accurate reading because of distress. 

We go back to waiting room where musicians have set up.  The tension between us is palpable.  She sits facing away from me with her hair down.  I don't know what to say or do.  I am not used to this as I can usually reassure others in whatever situation we are in.  I can chat, counsel, amuse and deal with anything.  Not this time, not this kid.  We are called again after half an hour of a sweet voice and plinky plonky violins and dithery young blokes that I want to turn to and say, "just play a damn tune that we can lose ourselves in and let the sweet voice sing".

It is a male doctor/technician (there are no uniforms or stethoscopes to point this out).  He says his name is Manjit but not what his job is.  He says sorry there are no ladies, I can do the ultrasound or you can come back at 2pm.  Yes please she says and he writes on our appointment letter.  We have to go back the main hospital and Rose Ward. (oh dear).

So, it is 1215 and we trot back past Amanda Wakeley and Catherine Walker, and I small talk about The King's Road etc and I point out the spot in the car park where we met Phillip Schofield (she remembers) and we get to the cafeteria and eat.  She relaxes a little and we reminisce about what else she remembers (not much I am happy to say).  I mention Rose Ward.  What's that.  "The ward you had the surgery in" wincing inside, though it is better to have a conniption fit out here rather than in front of the little children I think.  She seems ok.

We decide to walk to the King's Road and look at the posh shops.  We go in a lovely Antiques Arcade (dead posh) and look at the beautifuly shinys and chat and she seems more relaxed.  We go in art shops and print shops and wander.  It is time and we go back, passing the cashiers office and up to the 4th floor.  As we buzz the doors she remembers the smell and the bays, but it is ok.  We end up in the Play Room to wait.  She remembers and we chat and laugh and talk to the Playroom Assistant.  All seems well.  An hour later we are still waiting, square arsed from the chairs.  Then Manjit appears, the lady technician is here and off we go.  She can keep her bra on and he will sit with his back to her.  Ok then.  The ultrasound is painful but she endures, fascinated, twisting her head to see the images and hear the sounds, the whooshing and thwupping noises.  And then back to the Play Room to wait for a registrar. 

An another hour later I am anxious, the cashiers office closes at 4 and we will be out of the off peak travel time.  I go to the staff area right by 'our' Oasis Bay to ask what is going on and where is the Consultant we are used to - he has had to leave early and they are short staffed and didn't really know we where there at all.  They will find someone.  I leave the kid with the nice lady in the Play Room and trot downstairs and the nice lady in the cashiers office reassures me and I am reimbursed, thank goodness as we may have to increase our ticket at Victoria.  I go back and we wait.  Eventually a very young lady (Greek this time I think and very soft voiced, we can barely hear her) takes us wandering to find a private place in the day ward (where we slept our first night pre op. She remembers) to have our consultation. 

No Change.  That's it.  This is good and the expected news, but all that stress and worry for 3 brief minutes is exhausting.  The kid asks her question - the one that has been on her mind since the last appointment 18mths ago.  Is what she had genetic, can she pass it on.  (I could have answered that, but she would not ask me).   The answer is no, and later when we leave the ward she asks me why and how.  I explain about congenital heart defects and that a tiny message in the developing foetus didn't get through.  Her dad had a huge hole and he had emergency life saving surgery in 1959 aged 5, which was brutal (you should see his scarring) and his hospital experience has traumatised him, he was in hospital 2 months and his mother did not visit once as she did not want to be upset!!

Off and out in a rush to find a bus stop in the right direction and a bus.  The afternoon is darker and we say 'it's ok, it's not dark yet, we are fine'.  I think we get off the bus one stop early but it is better to be sure and we dash straight into the station and luckily straight on to a crowded train, no time to eat or get a desperately needed cup of tea.  Looong journey with a space stealing mouth breather. yuk.

Her dad was waiting and we got a quick MaccieD's (eye roll) and home where son made me tea (I told him later that was the first time in all these years I have had tea made for me when I have got home from one of these long exhausting days).  I then clean the kitchen of all the cups and glasses and plates built up all day and hear about The FW deciding he couldn't find the frozen curry in freezer and bought himself fish and chips instead.  (A perfect end to his day I feel).

The FW is dropping heavy hints about petrol for tomorrow's (today's) visit to college for interview, despite tripping about many miles on the motorway for his railway model shop and pub visits today, having a lovely time while we are hospitalling.  (It is these times that I hate him the most).

I was in bed by 9 and woke at 2.50am and needed to write, so here we are.  Again.  It is 3.48am.  Good night, I will blab less next time, folks.



  1. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
    I'm sorry you had such a horrid day, but pleased that you managed to get through it and that your meal was made for you. You have a lovely son.
    You mention that FW spent a long time in hospital as a child, my BoJ did too, age 3 and visitors weren't allowed. I wonder if there is a connection?

  2. It sounds like you had an awful day waiting around the hospital and the traveling, but good to know that your daughter is in good health. How thoughtful of your son to make your tea.
    Hope you didn't hear the petrol hints lol

  3. A difficult day - but you both got through it. Well done x


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