Being totally honest, my first 2 experiences at GOSH were a complete and total nightmare. After the smoothness of everything at John Radcliffe Neonatal, the genuine brilliance of my local hospital and my GP making me laugh by asking if we were mystery shoppers… i genuinely expected wonderful things going to the world class Great Ormand Street. Don’t get me wrong – now I ‘Get it’ we’re all good, and they are as brilliant as one would expect however it did take a couple of weeks to acclimatise to.
Firstly, getting a train to London with a 2 month old baby is not to be under-estimated. All I will say is that, far from realising you are a mum having to take her baby to London, all the commuters are downright rude at you taking up space with your pushchair and god forbid they give you a seat… nope. It’s floor allllllll the way there. Then, getting off the train and you get your wheel stuck between the train and the platform – it is actually necessary to turn around and loudly say ‘SERIOUSLY?’ to all the stuck up men in suits hiding behind their blackberries. I have no idea what they think I am doing going to London with a baby in a pushchair – but no-one in their right mind would be doing that for anything frivalous.
Luckily for me it is only occasionally I have to do this trip on my own. James nearly always comes with us which makes the whole thing more bearable. Although twice as expensive…
Now, I’m not being funny – but when your letter says ‘please refer to the noticeboard for where your clinic appointment is’ I wasn’t expecting it to look like this:
- level 1 – Penguins
- level 2 – Zebras
- level 3 – Elephants
- level 4 – Hippos
To be fair, three of those animals I just guessed at.. However, nowhere in any correspondance was I informed that Dominic was a Hippo. It may have felt like that on the 19th of August, but since then I wouldn’t have placed him in any sort of Hippo category.
Luckily, the security guards can identify which animal you are at a glance (unusual superpower, but none the less very useful).
The waiting room is complete chaos, as you would expect from a childrens outpatient waiting room – still… I hadn’t quite prepared myself for it. You just assume all sick people (children or adult) are nice and quiet. But the reality is, alot of the chronic conditions are life threatening but don’t stop children be children – it’s actually really nice. Just loud and intimidating on day 1. Oh and really really really hot and stuffy.
Our first appointment with the professor didn’t start well – apparently we’d missed our ultrasound appointment… that we never knew about and she hadn’t had all his history from JR. So it was a bit of a non event really. The dietician was really nice and explained that Dom’s intolerance to Renastart was probably a cows milk protein thing and gave us a different formula that try.
The second appointment was far better, for a start I knew where I was going! But this time I was solo because James had a cold. Unfortunately, post clinic appointment I had the most ridiculous amount of things to organise and places to visit – radiology, ultrasound and X-ray, nuclear medicine for MRI appointment, renal support unit for bloods and jab AND pharmacy for new meds. It was horrific. By 3pm both Dom and I were exhausted and traumatised and the pharmacy (after 3 hours) still hadn’t got our meds together so we could leave and catch our last train home. I was stressed. I ended up in the PALS office in tears… not sure what they did, but 1 cup of sugary tea later the meds had miraculously appeared and I was running back to Euston for the last train… which I made! Yay!
To be fair, now I know where things are and have some understanding of how it all operates – GOSH is actually quite brilliant. Apart from 1 Mardy radiology receptionist, all of the staff are incredible! They are well informed, helpful to the nth degree and they do look after you… you just need to be calm enough to see it.