I pay for my ticket and put it on the windscreen, and begin a slow and steady walk to the hospital. The little one is constantly chattering away “Where’s the hospital?”, “Is it there?”, “Will I see a doctor”.
We get to the steps. 9 steps up, cross a road, 20 steps down. There is no car park that doesn’t involve a series of steps. This has always struck me as crazy for a hospital.
The little one and I count the steps. We walk past the no smoking signs and the smokers as the George Orwell 1984-esque loudspeakers warn that smoking is strictly prohibited in front of the hospital. The smokers take shivering drags of their cigarettes, leaning against the no smoking signs, braving the freezing cold in their dressing gowns.
We keep walking. No she doesn’t want a magazine. No she doesn’t want the loo. We pass the cafe where we went after Adams scan when he wasn’t moving enough to get a proper look. And where I waited with a coffee while the hubby was in Cardiac Intensive care. We never went there while Adam was in NICU. We didn’t hang about the hospital.
We walk through to the far side to a long corridor with great views of the river Tay. I remember the times, at 6am where we walked back along that corridor. Watching the sunrise. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes hopeless. Often in tears.
The signs point to NICU, and Children’s Outpatient Department. It’s the same route. We get in the same lift as I’ve stood in many times. Not knowing what would find. And one day, where the world was a blur of despair, at 2am when we headed home with a box of Adam’s things knowing we wouldn’t be visiting him again.
Number 4 for the floor we want.
Number 5 for NICU
I press 4.
We walk outside to the department. We’re early and the little one is thrilled to play in the playroom. She is briefly inconvenienced by having to be weighed and measured but she gets a sticker and returns to the play area
A boy turns up with his mother and grandmother. He’s called Adam. The little one plays with him.
We get called through and talk to the Dietician about the little one’s typical diet and how, yes, we have had occasion to test that she is still wheat intolerant and she is. No we don’t want to do the 4-6 week test where she eats wheat.
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” the consultant asks the little one.
“No” I answer for her.
“I have a friend called S” the little one answers, oblivious to it all.
We discuss food and I explain I bake and cook so we get by fine. She says she’ll write to my GP and we should be able to get 3 items a month on prescription. More than we do now so all good.
We make an appointment to return in a year.
The little one wants to stay and play. I want to go to Starbucks. After all, Thursday is late night shopping so it’s what we do. “I’d love a coffee from Starbucks” says the consultant “I’m sure your mummy needs one too”
Little does she know how much.