London, Out and About, Parenting, The Kidlets

The NHS is all kinds of awesome…

…2 weeks sleeping in an NHS children’s hospitals has made me confident of that!

My last post was on the day Master 7 went under general anaesthetic for the first time.  After that post (and my goodness does web browsing drain the Kindle battery like nobodies business!) the nurse got a call to bring me back downstairs to recovery (they were great letting me hold his hand and chat to him as he fell asleep).

Unfortunately they hadn’t operated.  His CRP levels were very high in A&E the day before and they suspected his appendix may have perforated.  When they examined him whilst asleep, his stomach muscles relaxed they could feel an abscess.

They made the decision to give him a strong course of antibiotics to treat the abscess before removing the appendix in a few weeks time.

Unfortunately during that night his pain went from worse to worse until he was screaming that he just couldn’t take it any more.  He at one point asked me, “Why does it feel like my belly is about to explode? Why Mummy, WHY!”.  I suspect that was when it burst.  A Nurse Practitioner finally answered our nurses urgent calls for a doctor (or nurse practitioner) to give the green light for morphine so the poor little guy could finally get some rest (it was nearly 2am by that point).

The next day several doctors came to see him, his belly was swollen and he was completely out of it and in intense pain.  They put in a catheter and an NG tube down his nose to relieve some of the pressure in his abdomen.  When the consultant (head honcho guy) finally came to see him in the afternoon he spoke to me first before examining Master 7.  He told me that they may need to up the dosage of antibiotics for the next 48 hours to attack the abscess more aggressively.

He then walked around to the other side of the bed, laid a hand onto Master 7’s belly and didn’t even fully examine him before turning to his colleague and saying, “We need to operate now”.

They knocked Master 7 to the head of the queue for an emergency appendectomy.

It was a scary wait whilst he was in surgery but he came out of it safely and sent the first day in PICU before going back up to the general ward.  His appendix had burst and the contents had spread throughout his abdomen (as I sat beside his bed helplessly).  They were very positive about the results of his surgery though, having removed what was left of the appendix and cleaning out all the gunk.

He was pretty out of it for the first week with a crazy amount of green gunk coming out of his stomach and his breathing being very laboured (he was Peritonitic and it affected his breathing).  He was on three types of I.V antibiotics and his CRP levels slowly went down.  He needed oxygen for a few days whilst his lungs improved and eating and drinking was out of the question for the first week after surgery.

On Day 8 he was allowed to start drinking again and eating again on day 10 (it was a horrible wait, he so desperately wanted to eat and drink!).

Physio‘s must be the most hated members of staff in a hospital having to force patients to do things that hurt for their own good!  Master 7 dreaded visits from the physio and having to go for short walks.  Granted he wasn’t too fond of the nurses and I by the end of his stay either, making him get out of bed instead of watching telly all day and even badgering him into going to the hospital school.

His brothers missed him terribly and Master 7 loved them coming to visit him in the hospital.  On a day when the nurses and I had been nagging him to get up and walk about since mid-morning to no avail, the appearance of his brothers suddenly had him happily walking from one end of the ward to the other playing.

I don’t know if any one else is like this, but I kind of grieve a little when I leave somewhere I’ve semi-lived for a couple of days or more.  Hotel rooms, B&B’s and now sleeping on a pull down bed in a London hospital.  I’ll miss the wonderful nurses and the kick ass cupcakes and cappuccino’s in the hospital cafe.  I’ll even kinda miss sitting by Master 7’s bedside, chatting to him on and off and reading novels in between.

I am so happy to be home sleeping on our comfy bed and not having to worry about a stranger knocking on the toilet door whilst I’m in the middle of getting down to business.

Did I mention there was an awesome slide downstairs to lure sick kiddo’s out of bed?

Our experience with the NHS was amazing.  The nursing staff took such good care of him and the doctors were always willing to explain in-depth everything that was going on and answer any questions I had.  The U.K should be very proud of their National Health Service!  I’ve spent my fair share of time in Australian Hospitals (General and Children’s) and whilst they are definitely adequate and the nurses there also do a great job, this particular NHS hospital in my opinion was a lot better.

In retrospect I suspect Aussie hospitals are under staffed (by no fault of the nurses or doctors on duty) and that makes it more difficult for them to give adequate attention to each patient.  In the NHS hospital the nurses desk at the end of each set of 4 hospital beds was always manned.  Each nurse had a maximum of 4 patients under her care and when Master 7 was particularly unwell he had his own nurse (yes all to himself!).  There was no need for a button to call the nurse she was always nearby.  I’m sure you can find the same level of care elsewhere but you’d probably be paying a packet for it.

4 thoughts on “The NHS is all kinds of awesome…”

  1. Glad things worked out! I’m sure it was very scary! He’ll always remember this and boast to his friends about the time he had an appendectomy!


  2. Oh it was! We had two seperate doctors come to us quietly and advise us to just prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario that he’d be on a ventilator in PICU for quite some time just before he was rushed down for emergency surgery. Thankfully the surgery went really well and he bounced back more quickly than expected.

    He was so unwell for a while there but one day he just turned a corner and came along in leaps and bounds!

    Oh and you are so right, he already thinks he’s pretty awesome. His whole class made him a card and his friends are forever asking his brothers about him…he’s going to have such a big head when he goes back to school next week 😉


  3. His brothers are happy he’s better as well. They feel the stress too. They may not totally grasp the seriousness of it all, but they sense something is terrible wrong.

    I wondered what his classmates did. He’ll definitely be the talk of the school!


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