I love this time of the year. The Allergy testing, the chat with a consultant who knows what I am rambling on about when I mention prick tests, delayed reactions, food challenges, IgE and FPIES allergies…
Monday was no different from our regular paediatrician appointments, other than I had to pick everyone from 3 different schools to make it on time for Jumpy’s appointment at the very inconvenient time of 3.10 p.m. in a hospital quite far from home.
I had a spring in my step as I started collecting my children from their various schools at 2 p.m. I was in a glorious mood and we arrived early so the children had time to play with the toys in the waiting area. They were all really happy and wanted to “stay there forever!” There were wooden blocks, Peppa Pig characters, drawings to be coloured (Frozen for Beanie, Angry Birds for Crevette), books organised in age groups, a wooden horse. You would think this was a private practice. No, that was our good old NHS.
Other than inconvenient appointment times and a tedious referral system, we have been really fortunate in the way the NHS has looked after us and I am so grateful for this institution.Jumpy was weighed (14kg) and measured (97cm), so she is on the 9th percentile which is not surprising, but not alarming either. Fun was had, I felt chirpy. I could not wait to hear Dr Y’s opinion about the positive prick tests from last month. The only things my little lady is keen on are needles (prick tests, blood tests), but there were no needles involved today so everyone was happy.
After a bit more play, we were called in and that is when my face dropped. Dr Y, who has been Jumpy’s consultant since she was a baby, was not the man inviting us in. I knew he was thinking of reducing his clinics to slowly retire, but I was also told our appointment was with him, not some new doctor we had never met. I was speechless. In fact, I was everything but. I might have appeared rude, but the first thing I said to our new consultant was, “Where is Dr Y?”He did not take offence, fortunately, and we went through a ‘first appointment’ process, which made me feel a lot better. I enjoy telling Jumpy’s journey to diagnosis, from the eczema to the disastrous weaning stage, to my worries she might be allergic to ‘everything’ to the situation now where only a few allergies remain (eggs, wheat and nuts) and we have it all under control most of the time.
Dr Z declared he was quite proactive about food challenges and trying to eliminate allergies that might be on the way out so that Jumpy’s diet can become even more varied than it already is.
I love the fact Dr Z really listened to me about being prescribed Emerade, about carrying two Epipens and answered every single one of my questions without hesitating to use the jargon I now understand. He also works at St Mary’s, an allergy centre, and is planning to bring some changes forward. Instead of having a few appointments on different dates every year, we could well have them all on one day, like I experienced in Addembrooke’s for my own testing: weight and height check, prick tests, blood tests then consultant appointment, all on one day. It makes so much sense, right?
I hate change but you know what? I glad I had no idea we would not see Dr Y today, and I am glad about our new paediatrician, and as always. I am grateful for the NHS. What happens next: detailed blood tests, possible food challenges and an appointment booked with Dr Z, Jumpy’s new consultant, in a year’s time. I have also managed to book Jumpy’s blood tests on the ward, but the waiting list is long and we will not have them done until next month…