As a child, going to the hospital was often a terrifying and confusing experience. It was for me anyway, a traditionally confusing time. It wasn’t all bad but even on the drive to the hospital I would be convinced that it was more than butterflies in my stomach; I would imagine all sorts of massive insects taking residence in my belly. My justification for this was the fact that it felts like there was “something” having a brilliant time in there. Whether it was me or not. But once i was in the building I felt fine. Normally.
A trip to the neurologist went a bit like this, with me it was and is not never straight forward. Mum and Dad and I used to arrive at the pediatric neurology department. The waiting room (as it was when I went there first) was massive, there were all types of magazines like National Geographic and Lancashire Life, Carp Monthly and possibly even Caravan Weekly obviously these are ideal choices for children to read (they weren’t yet down with the kids, but they did get there). So as you can imagine as a 10 year old I was riveted to the spot, avidly reading about the success that Billy from Nelson had fishing for carp using corn and finding out about traditional soft furnishings from the North of England and how they are made from rare breed sheep… and stuff.
Every visit to the neurologist came with a selection of tests. There was always a blood test, which I’m sure was looking at something important however this was never really made that clear to me. Or I wasn’t listening when they told me ;S. Then, came something that was far more traumatic than a blood test… I had to be weighed. This to some may not be that much of an ordeal. But I was a rather large child, we tended to put this down to my medication. But looking back, the most probable explanation was the considerable amount of food that I used to eat. Lots of it.
Anyway, back to the scales. I would stand on the scales the nurse would move the weight, then move it again, and again, and again then finally settle on something astronomic. She would then look up and hope that I might be able to pull some points back once she measured my height. Erm, that didn’t happen either. That nurse would look at me, smile then hold the door open… Wide. She never ever said a word, she was a good’un.
It wasn’t all bad I did catch up and grow and stop putting on weight, but by that time I was going to a different clinic. I didn’t get the chance to show that nurse that I did eventually grow… upwards.
Now the blood test, for some reason was always done using something that looked like a canular, I would follow the blood around the curly straw and into the syringe, I was mega tough. I have always tolerated needles without a problem. In fact I strongly remember asking the nurse (on numerous occasions) if I would be able take the blood. Oddly they would laugh, I was deadly serious. I genuinely thought that it looked simple enough and that they could be getting on with something else, other nursey/nurse-like type stuff. I’d planned it out in my head, We would come in, then take a seat but on the way pick up a needle and syringe (typing this, I realise now that I would sound like a nutter if I still thought this, drive-thru blood tests indeed). Then I would take the blood and pop it onto the trolley. Bob’s your uncle, all done. This was a perfect situation, in addition to this, I would just tell them what I weighed… Simple childhood genius. In my head I had reorganised the job description of a nurse because as far as I was concerned I could see no genuine reason why I couldn’t do these things myself ( I do now).
So, so far during my visit I have read magazines beyond my age and interest (not exactly tricky, but it did seem like they were trying to cause a riot of disinterested children) and adopted the role of covert manager of a department within the NHS. By this point I was yet to see the neurologist (I’m not complaining, just saying ).
I would eventually get bored and return to my seat next to my mum or dad and wait in the plastic molded chairs, which were dotted in between gaps by doors ( now as I am writing this, I have realised that this space is in fact called a wall…). Mum and I looked at the beige vinyl floor waiting for my name to be called. I don’t think that mum really fancied reading carp magazine either.
The doctor would appear from her door and call us in to her room. The first time I saw her I instantly liked her, she had the face, manner and voice that was put on this earth just to tell people stories. She should have presented Jackanory or worked in a library, aside from being a super doctor. In my head, she was what Enid Blyton looked and sounded like. However, she did not read me stories she had a different job all together. Entirely.
To me her job consisted of different mystical tests.Some that involved drawing a square with my wrong hand. I could never get it across to her that I would be so much better at this game if she just let me use my right hand! . I also had a little bit of a P.E lesson, in the form of standing on one leg and then walking on the outside of my feet. I couldn’t tell you if I was awesome at that or not, but like I said before, back then I was not lacking in confidence! The final test (there were others but they took ages and seemed silly to a 10 year old) that I had to do involved the tortuous tickling of my feet for what seemed like hours. I am incredibly ticklish. Despite knowing this, my doctor (who I think is amazing by the way) would proceed to tickle each foot. Then almost smile at me, like the cheshire cat! She knew what she was up to, she watched me trundle reluctantly to the bed and then with (what I thought was) sheer delight would watch my reaction with joy. I would do exactly the same if I was in her position The test she did involved running something blunt but pointy up the middle of my foot and I would wail because of how ticklish it was. I’m sure, really she was just laughing at me, really.But in my 10 year old head it was a conspiracy to tickle my foot. I used to be convinced that I was only person that had to endure a neurological assessment of the limbs. I watched the guy on the youtube video and he didn’t even giggle… My next job…I’m going to check if he is in fact a real person.
She was an experienced neurologist, she always had an answer and that makes me think incredibly highly of her, she was wise, wise like Yoda. However, she made sure I was the one getting the piggy back. My Jedi training consisted of drawing squares with the wrong hand and walking funny.
Oddly I think there is something strangely nostalgic about this neurological examination of the limbs… Yes, I understand that it is weird but, I’m just being honest.
Neurological Examination of the Limbs
Despite my confidence, there were questions that I wanted the answer to but never asked. I was always given the opportunity, I just never did.
First of all:
What use can tickling someone until they squeal be to this examination (I know now)?
Why, if my legs give way, are you opening my brain up? (This answer did come but pretty late in the day)
Who chooses the bloody awful magazines in the waiting room?
Why can’t people do their own blood, height and weight tests? I could have structured the whole thing for them. No problem. Their loss.
What makes me scream when I have a seizure?
There were other questions, but I wasn’t really that concerned at the time. So I try not to be now (this doesn’t work!).
By the time I got too old for the children’s neurology department, I had been moved on to the teenagers and young adults, (probably due to my radical drive-thru restructuring ideas that were clearly becoming more and more necessary with each visit ;P) by that time the children’s department looked awesome. It had kids books and toys, soft furnishings, the lot. I think this was due to me (as an 10 year old applying intensive political pressure ). Maybe not, maybe it was those nurses after all. Who were, and still are simply brilliant.
Cheers for reading, please comment if you like.