So to counter how upset many of you felt about the letter I published last week (still awaiting a reply from the lady it was forwarded on to – the Director of Children’s Services) I thought I’d tell you about our trip to the QE2 hospital for Jude’s blood tests last week.
I’m not going to lie, I was totally dreading it which I think is because I’m more stressed than normal at the moment. This is partly because of Jude and all the correspondences I’m trying to keep on top of, Jude’s behaviour, the girls and ensuring they are not feeling left out, work, housework (bottom of the list these days) and occasionally writing. Oh and sometimes sleeping. HA! That last one is a joke.
So our appointment was at 11.30am but I decided to keep Jude off school that morning as the nurse recommended we arrive an hour early so a numbing gel could be applied to his arm. I don’t think I’ve written about Jude’s previously attempted bloody test at our local hospital but it was horrendous. The nurse faffed, Jude panicked and didn’t know what was going to happen so he cried and unusually for him, frantically clung to me. What made me end the whole scenario was the fact the nurse had only managed to get a tiny bit of blood out despite several minutes of trying and because she was moving with such hesitation and eventually said with clear nerves in her voice that she didn’t want to upset Jude. I felt like shouting JUST DO IT WOMAN!! Anyway, a couple of years on and I felt uneasy about putting Jude in this situation again.
We went to a different hospital this time, the QE2 in Welwyn which has recently had a major face lift.
I was unsure about the parking and as I also had Emmeline with me, I was wary about where we’d be able to park, how we’d have to pay for it (I never have any change on me), would it be a long walk, etc. Anyway, we got there at 10.30 and managed to park literally outside the hospital. So far so good…
We walked in through the shiny new doors and were greeted by two ladies who were there to ensure everyone was finding the department they needed without any problem. Each section is colour coded and this breakdown really helps clarify where you need to go. SO off we toddled towards the red section and into a gleaming new lift. This is where Emmeline had a wobble and refused to wear the straps in her buggy. Here she is, literally balancing on the edge of the seat and feeling very good about her act of independent defiance. You can’t see me but I’m pretty sure I’m cursing her at this point…Jude, as usual, thinks it’s hilarious that someone other than him is being a pain in the butt so he was chuckling away and telling Emmeline to sit back. She didn’t.
We walked into the children’s section waiting area and my initial impression was what a lovely big space it is with large windows and decent looking toys. I tell the receptionist that we’re very early but that we’d been told to come an hour prior to our appointment by our nurse. BUT whilst I’m talking, Jude now takes it upon himself to repeatedly say to her “I don’t want a blood test. I don’t want a blood test. I don’t want a blood test.” Poor lady doesn’t know what to say so I tell Jude to shut up and we all go and sit in the corner, away from everyone else! This is pretty typical for me when out with Jude to avoid contact and choose the furthest seats in an area.
I have to say, Jude and Emmeline had the time of their lives together. They have such a funny relationship. Emmeline is fascinated with Jude (she calls him “Doood”) and his quirks just make her laugh; similarly Jude adores her and is always asking if she’ll play with him. Here they sat, side by side, smiling and playing peekaboo for about ten minutes which for both of them is a miracle amount of time to not run around. But better celebrated during our time at hospital was the notion of how happy Jude was. He actually made this expedition a joy. He was a joy. Chatting, laughing, smiling, not doing anything weird or awkward; it was without exception, a fantastic time together!
To cut a long story short, our nurse came over to us, we had a chat and decided that we wouldn’t bother with the numbing gel because a) I didn’t want to push our luck and try to maintain our good moods for another hour and b) it doesn’t actually hurt and Jude is only anxious because he doesn’t understand what is going on. In contrast to any previous hospital appointments, I felt that Jude and I had discussed it enough for him to have a better comprehension this time so he wouldn’t freak out.
Amazingly, we didn’t have to wait the hour for our actual appointment time and the lovely nurse came and collected us ten minutes later after the patient she was currently seeing. She showed Jude the freezing spray that she was going to use on him and even though he was reluctant she just got on with it and sprayed the arm I was gently holding as if we were linking arms. Before we even realised it, she had put the already connected up needle into Jude’s arm and in no more than ten-twelve seconds it was over and she was telling Jude to keep still so she could remove the connection. Plaster on and DONE. No panic and no tears.
As usual, Jude didn’t want a reward sticker but he decided to let Emmeline have it instead.
We thanked the lovely nurse and left to try and find the lift. Thankfully, I had Jude with me so he knew exactly where to go! Paying for the ticket was easy as the machines were right by the front door and within half an hour of our arrival, we were free and driving towards school.
I have to say, it was a fantastic morning. The children loved being together, Jude actually enjoyed the adventure of visiting a hospital and the blood test itself was a simple, uneventful process which is what I wanted.
Have you had any surprisingly successful trips that you were previously dreading?