Our youngest two boys have kept us very busy with hospital appointments; Isaac has two sets of very fat medical notes, Noah has three and has had 81 hospital appointments in his time! So I guess you’d say we’re quite experienced!
Today’s paediatric clinic with Isaac was one of the most straightforward and enjoyable. So, afterwards, I thought of five reasons for this, most of which could be adapted to all hospital visits.
1. I was relaxed
It had been more than a year since Isaac’s last appointment and we had no real concerns about him. The sun was shining. I’d just had morning tea with my grandson and daughter-in-law followed by lunch with my daughter, so I wasn’t hungry and was in a good mood. I didn’t have anything else planned for the day so wasn’t racing to fit things in. Isaac could read my mood and he too was relaxed (well up until the time of his blood test anyway!).
I wish I could give you a good day like this for your clinic visit, but in its absence the main thing is to do everything possible to be relaxed. You can guarantee that if you are very stressed the visit will be harder.
2. Everything kept to time
We got to the hospital in plenty of time and slid immediately into a parking space (very rare!). When we got to clinic we were seen almost straight away – Isaac even complained when he was dragged from the playroom that he’d only just entered!
Many, many clinics we’ve attended run an hour or more behind and it makes so much difference when they run on time. You can’t do anything about the clinic timings but you will ease stress if you get yourself there in plenty of time which may mean researching things like parking and exact location of where you’re going.
3. I knew what was going to happen
I’ve been through this so many times before that I could do it in my sleep! We know where the various clinics and wards are, along with the X-Ray department and ECG room. The receptionist recognizes us. We know where Isaac will be weighed and measured. Obviously if it’s your first visit, everything will be new and strange, but even then you could have a look at the hospitals website, and reading through our posts on various procedures that may happen (echo, ECG, CT scan) can help to prepare you.
4. I understood everything I was told
Obviously, having a medical background helps me understand what I’m told and today was all good news which was great too. But understanding what your doctor says is of vital importance and is one of the key reasons why your doctor’s there. So ask questions if you don’t understand or at least get something written down that you can research later. Often clinics have information sheets too.
5. Staff were patient and professional
The paediatric receptionist, nurse and doctor all had time for me, chatted with me, explained things and listened to me and most importantly to Isaac: Even though Isaac can’t talk, he made it very clear he didn’t want his ears examined, so the doctor stopped.
When it was important to do something he didn’t want, the nurse was very professional. She used distraction with bubbles then very competently took a blood test. – Tonight he is very proud of the smiley face sticking plaster he got!
You all know how much difference the attitude of hospital staff can make and one of the most helpful thing we can do to encourage positive professional attitudes is to always remember to thank good staff.
Paul loves going on the oncology ward, where they often have chocolates or home baking from grateful patients and families.The doctors joke that the post-natal wards have the best chocolate haul!
Other departments of the hospital can sometimes get overlooked. Operating theatre staff were very pleased when after Noah had emergency surgery, we brought in a big jar of nice instant coffee and some luxury biscuits for their tea room. We knew from experience just how wonderful a good hot drink seems after a long surgery.
Do you have a particular way you prepare yourself for hospital appointments? Or any tips you would like to share with others?