I recently blogged about my mini man and his swollen balls! Basically be fell off his bike and the next day his poor right goolie was very large and painful (read the full story here). The long and short of it was I took him to the doctors who promptly sent us to the children's ward and from Thursday to Sunday we were in hospital.
Thursday they kept Mini Man nil by mouth incase the testicle was twisted and they needed to operate quickly, about 7pm though they decided they would just observe him and let him have a sandwich much to both his and my relief. The facilities in our local hospital were lovely, we were fortunate enough to have a room to ourselves with a little en suite shower and toilet. The parents room was outside the ward but only opposite the door and provided a microwave, coffee, tea etc and a sofa. The children's playroom was also very well equipped, with an outdoor play area as well as drawing, crafts, a playhouse, train track, cars, and TVs/DVDs for the bedsides.
On Friday night they eventually decided he could go home for the night with open access to the ward incase his goolie swelled up again and got painful (read they needed his bed!). Saturday we had to go to LGI (Leeds General Infirmary) for an assessment with the surgeon and were told we would probably need to go back during the week for a small operation.
I drove Mini Man to LGI Saturday believing I would only be there a couple of hours with him so stuck £2.80 in the meter. Luckily I did also stick a bag with wash bag and pj's in 'just incase' (old habits die hard after 2 prem babies and numerous hospital stays!). Anyhow the surgeon was 2 hours late to see us, which I didn't mind considering he was in surgery, and seeing us inbetween cases. He then decided he wanted to operate that day and we were to stay. I was a little surprised but pleased they were so keen to work out why he was in pain.
I asked about a parking permit but was told one could only be issued on a week day. By this time I had put £11 in the meter and an overnight ticket was £16.50. In the end a nice nurse wrote a permit for me but apparently you now need to live over 30 miles from the hospital and have a critically ill child to qualify which I personally think is disgusting.
The ward we were on had a decent playroom, not as good as the local hospital but loads of board games which kept Mini Man amused. However the ward was full of babies all being starved for surgery so they cried non-stop which Mini Man and another little boy found distressing. However we were moved about 9.30pm to a different, quieter ward where I managed to get a starving Mini Man to sleep.
At 11.15 pm the surgeon came to see me, the same one who had been in surgery since 9am that day, and said he had 2 further cases ahead of ours and would have to push us to Sunday. I was quite pleased though as it was so late. However the nurse decided Mini Man needed to be woken and feed which resulted in him getting besides himself, so distressed I think the pressure of crying made his goolies swell again and he was then crying in pain. He was literally writhing round the bed, and I didn't know what to do. I was nearly in tears too and the nurse just said 'oh, I'm sorry, I thought he should eat' and walked off and left us. After 30 minutes I stood pressing the button until she got a doctor and some pain relief for him.
Mini Man was then starved all day Sunday and by 2pm was so hungry he was not a happy bunny so I got a little cross and said if they hadn't given us a time for surgery by the time the tea trolley arrived, I would feed him as a 4 year old can not go for 2 days with no food or drink. Strangely enough the list was then moved round and suddenly we were next down for surgery. In this new ward though the playroom was shocking, there were hardly any toys, there were pens but no paper and the nurses couldn't find any, there was a car garage but no cars, and 4 ceiling to floor cupboards all empty. It was not good when you have a bored child. The parent's facilities were also dreadful. Within the ward there was 1 toilet and a shower in the same room, which was broken incidentally, you had to hold it to shower, for 25 parents. The other toilets for parents were out on the corridor. 1 toilet for 25 adults seems very wrong to me!
Over the last 7 years we have been resident in more than one children's ward, and I have to say LGI comes at the bottom of my list for facilities. Staff-wise I can not fault LGI, the nurses and doctors are fabulous, just sadly very overworked. There was clearly not enough staff on for the number of patients, and the poor nurses didn't know if they were coming or going. I asked for pain relief for Mini Man it took 45 minutes to arrive simply because the poor nurse was being pulled every which way possible.