Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Goodbye to the Sick Kids Hospital

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Goodbye to the Sick Kids Hospital

 My daughter didn't have the easiest start in life. She went from being unviable at 12 weeks of pregnancy, to an in utero diagnosis of unilateral talipes (club foot) at 20 weeks, to a dramatic entry into the world where it was discovered that she was one finger short of the customary ten.


The initial fall out at each step of the way was traumatic for our family.


Was it my husband and I's genetic make up? Would we be able to have more children or would they all be susceptible to the same fate? Would she be able to walk, run or dance like other children do? Would she be able to write, to do up her buttons and dress herself? Would she be able to attend mainstream school? Or be picked on for her differences? 


These worries consumed us. 


We were relatively healthy individuals whose family trees bore no suggestion of underlying conditions laying in wait for a susceptible foetus. We had worried to the normal degree in pregnancy but had subconsciously expected everything to go to plan. Our world was being repeatedly turned upside down. 


Then the Sick Kids Hospital stepped in. 



We were counselled by a warm, friendly and immensely reassuring physiotherapist about the ensuing treatment pathway for our daughter's talipes while she was still housed safely in the womb. Upon her arrival we had her genetic make up scrutinised, her hand assessed and a plan made by a specialist plastic surgeon so that by 12 weeks of age we knew where we were headed. 


There were no false promises or unfounded reassurances given but we felt that with these people in our corner we could navigate the uncertainty. 


As you may imagine, such diagnoses have meant that we have become frequent flyers to the Sick Kids Hospital both with my daughters long standing conditions and planned operations but also with the many childhood illnesses that the majority of parents endure. It has almost become a second home; with its cosy intensive care, high ceilinged victorian wards with beds lined up like soldiers and its warren-like corridors which make you feel like leaving a trail of pebbles so that you can find your way back. We have learned to feel reassured on entry like an embrace from an empathetic family member. 

Knowing that it is being decommissioned comes with a mixture of feelings. We are well aware that the services have outgrown the paltry footprint that the building holds on the Edinburgh map and they will greatly benefit from space and the ability to install more modern equipment but we will miss the warmth of the aged premises and the memories that are held there. 


All we can do is trust. Trust that the beating heart that is the staff, once transplanted into their new built-for - purpose accommodation, will instill the same feeling of reassurance and empowerment that has given us the ability to cope with whatever hand (even the four fingered type) that life deals our family. 


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Goodbye to the Sick Kids Hospital

 My daughter didn't have the easiest start in life. She went from being unviable at 12 weeks of pregnancy, to an in utero diagnosis of u...