I apologise in advance for the length of this post – it was initially over 2000 words long so I have therefore split it, and will upload the three parts in quick succession. I hope that I have done justice to my first day in hospital, before my operation took place.
On Tuesday 25th September it was finally time to be admitted to the Evelina Children’s Hospital. I wasn’t going into school, so I had a bit of a lie in, and then we got a taxi to the train station and got the train up to Victoria. I barely had any breakfast due to nervousness, but I think I had a bit of marmite sandwich on the train and some Ribena. However, I wasn’t sick before leaving, unlike the day of the pre-op!
We got a taxi from Victoria, as we obviously had luggage with us, and as we got nearer and nearer I got more and more worried (although there was a bright interlude when we drove round the roundabout at the end of Horseferry Road, because it was used in Torchwood, accompanied by the great song ‘Diplomatic Cars’). Talking of TV shows, the night before we had watched New Tricks, and it centred around St Thomas’ Hospital, so that was evidently coincidental and actually quite nice – I love the St Thomas’ building, despite its connotations.
We arrived at the hospital around 2pm I think. We were told to come between 12 and 2, but due to the cheap trains and want of a lie in, we agreed to arrive later rather than sooner. As we got out of the taxi, I broke down crying. We eventually managed to get inside the hospital and took the Sun lift (I believe) to the fourth floor, Savannah.
I was in Lizard ward, which isn’t detailed very much on the website (sorry, you will have to rely on my memories for this). We knew a bit about what to expect from the information booklet, but that doesn’t quite prepare you for the emotion and stress of actually being there. We were welcomed by a nice nurse, who I didn’t meet again so I can’t remember her name, and then passed over to ‘other’ Rachel (I have tried to google the nurses who looked after me, but I can’t find them) – I think of her as ‘other’ Rachel because the head nurse is also called Rachel. She was really lovely, especially after I was promptly sick after she showed me my bed. We assured her that this was normal (for me) and I wasn’t carrying any weird bug.
We then struggled with the EMLA cream. As I’ve said before, EMLA cream is my enemy, because EMLA means that a blood test is imminent. I think she just put it on my elbows, but had to use massive Tegaderm transparent dressings because otherwise the cream leaks out. We were then free to go for around an hour before having the blood test. So we did, but not before Rachel ran to give me my hospital band, you know, just in case I forget who I am!
We took this opportunity to go over to Gassiot Lodge, the ‘hostel’ on the hospital site where my dad would be staying. My mum had a bed next to me, but my dad also wanted to be around in the early morning when I went down to surgery, so took advantage of the £55 a night room a stone’s throw away from the hospital. It was pretty decent accommodation – he had a small double bed, a little TV, wardrobe, slight view of the London Eye, and almost his own bathroom (there were about 3 for 5 rooms, but they weren’t all occupied). I think there was also a sitting room with larger TV and some kitchen facilities. It was obviously preferable to my impending night on the ward.
We sat around there for a bit, I think the Weakest Link was on TV, but then had to return to the Evelina for my blood test. I was not a happy bunny. I think my mum was very close to walking out of the room. I would not let the woman touch my inner elbows to take the EMLA cream off. Once she put the elastic thingy on my arm (I believe this is still called a tourniquet), I recoiled and jerked my arm, and was thoroughly told off, because that was dangerous (to be fair if they had been taking blood it would’ve been). My mum told me to just let them do it, I would say she nearly shouted at me. I have a feeling a second phlebotomist came over as well. But eventually they managed to take my blood and stick a cotton wool ball on my arm with some tape. My inner elbows were red from the Tegaderm as well. And my mum was annoyed at me. But apart from that, things were all good.