This time last week I had just returned from London after my final appointment at the Evelina. Yes, you read that right, I am never going back. And not just because I am 19 and too old to go to a children’s hospital, they have actually discharged me. (Well done to the eagle eyed among you who read the title of this blog post). So here is a little recap of my last day doing the hospital trek!
You may be aware of my fairly severe anxiety prior to the appointment and so this meant that I was very stressed for the journey. This was compounded by the fact that our train was delayed and full so we had to stand for the first fifteen minutes of the journey, making me feel quite queasy. Fortunately the train was connected with another quieter train and we found two front facing seats for the remainder of the journey.
We got to the hospital around 11:45, half an hour early, and after a minor issue with the automated check in service, where the computer did not recognise my new GP surgery and the idea that it is nowhere near my permanent address, we sat down ready to watch the screens. My name came up and as we were gathering ourselves to go upstairs we bumped into Rachel Hunt, the very lovely lead nurse for the clinic (the shortest way to describe her anyway!). She was very interested in what I was doing and we were very happy to give her a copy of the article on scoliosis that I wrote for The Founder, Royal Holloway’s student newspaper.
We went up to X-ray, I was asked my age before being given the pregnancy declaration form, which was odd seeing as you have to complete it from the age of twelve and I’m sure I look older than that! I changed from jeans into leggings, my X-ray friendly clothing showing that I am a seasoned patient! I’m sure the student radiographer was about my age, but the pictures were soon done and we were back in Ocean reception waiting for my name to appear on screen again. And for anyone going to the Evelina and having an X-ray, do tell a nurse that you’ve returned!
The physical examination is the part of the appointment that I hate the most. People touching my back directly is not something I like, especially consultants because they have cold hands! But we finally got the notification to go to Octopus 5 to see a completely new doctor, as Rachel had already said that Mr Lucas was not around. His first line was “Oh, you shouldn’t really be here anymore” – many thanks for the obvious statement! We explained how Mr Lucas felt there was little point in transferring me for one appointment and gave a few details on my surgery, which he really should have known through reading my notes. The weirdest bit was the next bit. Instead of getting me to lie down and swap my clothes for a hospital gown and do nerve tests and the like, he just got me to walk on my toes and walk on my heels and then did a forward bend test. Then we were all done and I was discharged. Rachel said farewell and before I knew it we were out of there, what’s more it was only 1:15pm!
We pushed the boat out with toasted sandwiches for lunch in the M&S Cafe on site, then headed to the National Portrait Gallery, where I had been told to go for one of my modules next year. We spent most time in the Victorian collections (because of the Victorian module) but my favourite painting would have to be General Officers of World War I byJohn Singer Sargent (http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw00108/General-Officers-of-World-War-I). It is pretty large and the sentiment behind it, the generals being aloof from actual fighting, is very similar to themes in Oh! What a Lovely War, which I studied last year.
By the time we got to the Tudors area I was absolutely drained, having left the hospital feeling quite tired. The stress really takes it out of you, so we headed back to Victoria on the Tube and caught the train home. We got fish and chips and were home in time to eat with my dad. I finished the day by watching a documentary on Virgin Atlantic.
So, now I am officially normal. No more hospital visits. Bittersweet, but I’m very happy all in all!