A Visit to the Vampire Nurses


One of the inevitable things we do every time we go to GOSH is visit the blood clinic. Dominic’s renal failure and treatment is all based around his blood chemical levels.

The system at GOSH is simple but effective:

At Clinic they print out all the blood test forms. For Dominic, this is about 5. Each form is a different vial of blood which undergoes a different sort of test.

The blood clinic is on level 1 with the Zebras. You go with all of your forms and hand them to the receptionist while taking an old paper raffle ticket from those machines you get at deli and butchers counters. The ticket gives you your number in the queue and the bright digital scoreboard behind the receptionist tells you when your up.

This wait can be long. We have been there for 2 hours before… but we’ve also been straight in and out so You never can tell.

When it’s your turn, you go into a room separated into 4 with those superb blue hospital curtains.

You have a choice – you can give your baby sucrose to distract him, or not. We only did this once. It turned Dominic into a sugar monster for over 4 hours – he didn’t know what to do with the buzz after the blood was taken so he just screamed. For over 4 hours. 

Instead of just filling up 5 vials individually with those vacuum vials, the nurses just put in a line and take out the volume of blood in one go – then decant it into the individual tests. While they are doing this, the play specialist comes in and plays baby things on an iPad – the last time we had the noise of the sea and a hypnotic scene of 2 boats on the ocean – all very stark in black and white.

Dominic doesn’t usually have an issue with his blood being taken – he doesn’t normally even cry. He usually saves that for afterwards when they’ve finished and we have to put the sore arm into his clothes again.

All in all, it’s not nearly as traumatic as it was at my local hospital. Here it’s something they do all day everyday … to babies… and you can tell!


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