Yes, we did have a plan for our first day orientation in Edmonton. Honest. Let’s just say events took a slightly different turn just after we awoke and we had to hastily reschedule our original plans. But looking on the positive side, it was a useful experience going through emergency A&E at the Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
Not only did we get to try out the ‘LRT” – local rail transit from the city centre out to the hospital (it’s a direct link you’ll be relieved to hear), and the whole process of buying tickets, working out which direction to travel and navigating our way to the right transit stop was remarkably simple. Not only that, I couldn’t get over not having to stand in a train carriage sniffing someone’s else’s armpit and hoping there was enough oxygen to last until the train opened it’s doors at the next stop. London Underground it is not. Thank goodness. In fact, it was almost akin to travelling late-morning on a rural train in the UK. Wonderfully free of vast numbers of passengers, searing heat and stress. A pleasurably experience and one I now have complete confidence to do alone in the future.
Anyway, I digress….
The Children’s Hospital is directly opposite one of the train stops on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. A beautiful modern building, extremely welcoming and with excellent signage. Getting ourselves and the ‘kids’ to the admissions area was a doddle and upon arrival, we were welcomed by a triage nurse who had both the ‘kids’ requiring medical assistance on the weighing scales, blood pressure checked and immediately assessed. Not only that, they both received wristbands (complete with a tinker bell fairy – much to their delight) and quickly ran off to play on the touchscreen games and entertainment systems that were in the waiting room for their amusement. With only 1 other family also awaiting assistance, it is a million miles away from my own experience of the NHS in England every time I’ve ever visited. This was a case study example of how emergency admissions should operate (for those who are seasoned readers of my blog, you’ll detect a slight trend towards emergency services of late – click here for past blog!). I do assure you we are not particularly accident prone, but I accept there has been a tendency to navigate towards this characteristic, especially where my ‘middle kid’ is concerned. She didn’t let me down on this occasion either as being one of the 2 directly concerned.
In the UK, we’ve had to wait at least 1 hour before meeting a medical professional – and that’s when there hasn’t been a myriad of similar patients awaiting for similar assessments in crowded and underfunded services. The NHS is a brilliant service in the UK. But overworked staff, underfunded services and a drive to keep costs as low as possible, often compromise the quality and efficiency of how people are treated.
Back to Edmonton. The fact that not only we were ‘out of area’ but ‘out of country’, this didn’t upset the system at all and within only 5 minutes of waiting, we were called to admissions to go through to a medical room to await the doctor. Much to the disappointment of all the ‘kids’ who were clearly about the relish the prospect of whiling away some time on the excellent touch screens and entertainment on offer. This wasn’t to be – and all I can hope is that this isn’t kept as a dormant desire (particularly in kid number 2), who’ll have us visiting there as soon as we arrive back to live!
A doctor arrived with due haste announcing there was a ‘2 for 1’ package deal on diagnoses today and it seemed on paper that we were vying for this offer. After a further physical assessment of both kids, a diagnosis was pronounced. An additional senior medical professional arrived to also confirm the findings and prescriptions were presented. We were informed that they’d only seen 2 or 3 similar cases of this in the last 3 years so it was a rare occurrence and something that needed antibiotics for treatment and would only get worse if left. Both clinicians had learnt a lot from seeing it in practice and thanked us for coming in. Ice lollies were then issued (obligatory I believe), and smiles all round as we went on our way and medications were dispatched and applied.
So, Day 1 Orientation. We not only got to see where the emergency children’s hospital was, but witnessed first hand how it works, what to do, where to go, who to see. Our experience was positive, efficient and effective – and above all, friendly and professional. You can’t ask for more.
Would we go again? In the nicest sense of the word, let’s hope circumstances don’t require it. However, I wouldn’t be phased by going through the same thing again should we need to.
Lets hope ‘kid number 2’ hasn’t got alternative ideas ….