Saturday 27 April 2013

Tonsils out!

Yesterday my daughter was scheduled to have her tonsils out at Furness General Hospital (the downside of living in south Cumbria is that our hospitals are up to a hour away!). She had been repeatedly suffering from tonsillitis which was impacting on both home and school life. It hadn't taken much convincing of the consultant once our GP finally referred her. So at 6:30 yesterday morning she and I set off on the hour long drive out to Barrow in Furness. Its a beautiful drive when your mind isn't elsewhere!

The hospital is on the outskirts of the town and as we were there so early it was easy to get to and also find on road parking. Then we found our way to the front entrance and someone directed us to the right ward - typically right at the other end of the hospital! We were half an hour early but they let us in and showed us the side ward my daughter was assigned to. 

An initial chat with the nurse (including the magic local anaesthetic gel) was followed by the surgeon arriving, he informed us that her notes were still at the Westmorland General in Kendal! This put a delay on her operation as they were waiting for a taxi to bring them over... Meantime a nursing assistant explained more of the operation to my daughter and the anaesthetist came to see her. Then she was allowed to play whilst I had a coffee.

When the time came a nurse led us through a few corridors to the operating theatre. She looked so tiny lying on the trolley as I distracted her from the needle going in. All too soon she was asleep and I was told to distract myself for an hour! I went outside with a paper but it was hard to concentrate and I was soon back in in the ward.

My daughter was a bit upset and disorientated when she came round but I sat and held her hand. She tried to sleep and eat but it was all a bit much. 

In the end they decided to keep her overnight as a precaution. The ward had fold out beds so I could sleep next to her. Just wish I'd thought to bring over night gear for myself!

It wasn't a great night as when we first tried to sleep a teenager down the corridor had too many loud visitors. Then a baby kept crying! I am a light sleeper so the random electronic beeps, phone calls and corridor lights weren't good. I ended up watching kids' films on the bedside TV until I was too tired to stay awake! A nurse checked my daughter at 2 am (my daughter slept through that! Then at 3 the fire alarms went off... I was getting out of bed when a nurse assured me it wasn't in our part of the hospital and to get back to sleep! Hard for us to do when the alarm wouldn't shut up...

This morning I was told that if she ate some toast we could leave as she looked and felt a lot better. I was so relieved when she managed to do this. It was a good feeling to walk back out of the hospital and to our car. We are both a bit tired (despite having a sleep when we got home!) and she is still feeling a bit rough but hopefully a couple of weeks off school and she will soon be back to old bubbly self!

My top tips for accompanying children to hospital:

  1. If you are far from home have an overnight bag in car for both you and the child. Earplugs and eye mask could be useful!
  2. Unlike me take your phone charger..
  3. Have a good book or other distractions for you and the child
  4. Take plenty of snacks for yourself as hospital food is expensive
  5. Have a decent travel hot drink mug (the ones at Furness dripped on me!)
Do you have any other tips?

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