In a few weeks, Dillon will be having a cystoscopy and Deflux to correct his urine reflux, which he has had since birth (he’s now one years old).
Like most anxious parents whose child has to undergo surgery at the Evelina, my Husband and I took Dillon along last week to the hospital for his pre-assessment.
The Evelina is a specialist children’s hospital located within the grounds of St. Thomas’s Hospital in Westminster. Formerly part of Guys Hospital, the Evelina moved to St. Thomas’s in 2005 and still looks very new, clean and welcoming (very reassuring when you’re an anxious parent!).
The pre-assessment clinic is a walk-in clinic (open Mon-Fri 9am-12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm). You just need to turn up with your admission letter from the Evelina and head to the Children’s Assessment Centre located in the Ocean reception area. Here the receptionists will print off your child’s documents and hand you a two page questionnaire to complete about your child’s health.
I was very impressed at how swift everything ran when we turned up at the Evelina. Armed with our forms we headed up to the Beach block where Dillon would be seen by a nurse for his assessment.
In the few minutes wait we had (we were expecting to wait for up to an hour to be seen) we had just enough time to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about your child’s medical history, with tick boxes for you to answer any illnesses your child may have such as diabetes, asthma, any known allergies, reactions to medications etc.
Dillon was seen by two different nurses. The first nurse took some swabs from his mouth, groin and armpit (to check for infections), tried to take his blood pressure (he wasn’t in the mood to let that happen!) and took his temperature. It was all over in a matter of minutes. Bubbles and lots of bright coloured stars on the walls kept Dillon occupied for a few minutes.
Our appointment with the second nurse lasted a lot longer. She went through the answers to our completed questionnaire, and briefly went through the procedure Dillon will be having for his urine reflux.
The main purpose of the second nurse was to discuss parental consent for the surgery (a cystoscopy and reflux isn’t really surgery, more a procedure but as he will be under general anaesthetic it’s classed as surgery), and to make us aware of any side effects from the general anaesthetic. The nurse also talked us through what happens on the day, what time we need to be at the hospital (please note, it’s very important to ring the hospital before you leave home on the day to make sure they have a bed available – your appointment letter will include the number you need to dial), ran through what happens on the day (we will be there with Dillon when he goes under general anaesthetic), and if your child like Dillon is on preventative antibiotics, then you should be given advice on increasing the dose beforehand to prevent further infection during surgery.
The nurse also listened to Dillon’s pulse and chest, part of the pre-assessment routine.
Before we left, the nurse gave us plenty of opportunity to ask any questions, she was incredibly helpful. We were given lots of notes on fasting, consent and how to look after your child after surgery.
- The pre-assessment ran really smoothly, and very swiftly. I anticipated lots of queues so was pleasantly surprised when we were seen by both nurses straight away. The nurses were ever so friendly and helpful – it has definitely made me feel less anxious about Dillon’s surgery in a few weeks. If you’re in the same boat as us, I know it’s hard not to worry. The thought of Dillon going under general anaesthetic breaks my heart, but I know that the doctors and surgeons at the Evelina are some of the worlds best, and I have every faith that they will do their utmost best with my son (and every other child) when he is under their care.