Posts Tagged ‘waiting room’

The Change.

August 8, 2009

Waiting GameAs a child I was under Great Ormond Street Hospital, I was referred there when my local hospitals and other hospitals in London realised it would be easier if all my surgeons/doctors were under the same roof, the fact that most local surgeons could not handle my condition added to the need for change. When I first started to go there it was a god send, no longer was I a small child stuck in a dull waiting room with no toys, filled with adults who either patronised me or did not know how to handle a child, now I was introduced to brightly coloured walls, comfy chairs, playing areas in waiting rooms in which the atmosphere reflected the children they treated.

For years I made many visits to the hospital, I had several operations there, handled by marvellous surgeons who somehow gave you confidence and trust when you felt you lacked it most. My parents, who have know told me that they sometimes doubted their choices/consent involving my treatment, were given all the information they needed, guided by thoughtful professionals who were always at the other end of the phone.

When I entered my teen years I started to feel more distant in the waiting rooms, surrounded now by babies and toddlers happily playing with their toys, oblivious, apparently, to the reason they were in the building in the first place. The annoying childrens TV shows seemed to be at a constant maximum volume, the jingles filling every corner of the room. I would look for magazines to read, only to find that the top choice of light reading was “We’re going on a bear hunt”, which I obviously loved…ten years ago. It was time to change hospitals, again.

For a year or so it seems you are forgotten about by the childrens hospitals yet misunderstood by the adult ones. I remember, particularly well, when I was discharged from my orthopaedic surgeon, he’d operated on me about a year or two beforehand and I had been having pains in my ankle, where the said operation had been. My foot was swollen and red so they took an x ray, put me in a cast and took my blood, only to then discharge me. My new doctor had no idea what to do with me and sent me back to GOSH, where they saw me again, took the cast off, took another x ray and arranged to see me in 6 months time…was there no way out?!

Although I still go to GOSH for certain appointments, I have now settled into my new hospitals, the waiting rooms are still as dull as I remember them being as a child, some have a few toys in, others, copies of magazines; six months out of date. Sometimes, when sitting on my own in the dim lit rooms, where phones seem to ring constantly, the water is always dry and the other patients, forty years my senior, look at me as if my wheelchair is not a good enough reason to be there, I miss the bright rooms of the childrens hospitals. What I’d give to be driven crazy by a baby crying for his milk; now only the ticking clock and the embarrassed silence as the nurse asks for the next in line.

Ali x

If you are a teen with a life long/life threatening illness wanting to be in contact with other people your own age who are in a similar position to you there is a great new charity:,
It’s aims are brilliant and the work they have already done has made a difference to many teens going through ‘The Change’; I hope to hear more of them over the next few years.

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