Back in December, when he was just three weeks old, Benjamin was admitted to hospital because he was seriously ill. You can read the whole story here. He had jaundice and sepsis caused by an e-coli infection picked up at birth.
So far, he doesn’t appear to have had any lasting effects from his illness, apart from a weakened immune system. However, on Monday he had a ‘nuclear kidney scan’ to rule out any lasting damage.
When I had the letter, I was completely taken aback. I’d never heard of a ‘nuclear scan’ before, and it sounded terrifying. Reading the letter and information did little to allay these fears! It might say it’s harmless – but he was going to be injected with radioactive stuff!
A half an hour scan on a four month old who needs to remain still? I was dreading it!
We arrived at Heartlands Hospital bright and early. Benjamin had been quite unsettled for a few days because of his teeth and a cold, but thankfully he seemed much better. We got up to the ward where he was when he was when he was ill, which didn’t bring back very nice memories. A numbing cream was applied to the back of his hands and the crook of his arms ready for a cannula to be inserted. The cream took about half an hour to to take effect. We were then taken into a side room with a young male doctor, who didn’t even acknowledge Ben – he’s only four months but he still a person! He could not get the cannula in at all, trying both hands and arms, but it just wasn’t working. Luckily the numbing cream meant that he couldn’t feel it, but he started getting a little distressed at being pinned down. After almost half an hour, the doctor gave up and fetched another doctor. She was much nicer and chatted away to Ben. She took one look at his little bleeding and battered hands, and went straight to his foot. He hadn’t had any numbing cream so he did have a little cry, but it was over in a few minutes. It just made me feel so bad seeing my little baby having yet more needles stuck in him – he’s been through enough already.
We then had to walk down to the nuclear medicine department (the complete opposite end of the hospital!), where a radiologist injected a small dose of harmless radioactive material into him via his cannula. The cannula was then removed and we were free to roam the hospital for the next two hours.
Ben had remained fast asleep in his pushchair throughout the procedure, so we headed down to the cafe so I could have a latte and catch up on some work whilst he slept.
After an hour or so, he woke up. I gave him a cuddle and a bottle, and changed his nappy before taking a slow walk back up – Heartlands Hospital is huge!
For his scan, he had to lay on a narrow bed – the actual scanner was underneath him, He could remain fully dressed and have his dummy and his rabbit. Although nosubhealth.com the letter said it would take thirty minutes, the doctor said that if Ben lay still, it would be done in twelve minutes. He was obviously listening – I had my hand on his tummy to keep him still but he didn’t move once. I think he was too fascinated with the machine.
We won’t get the results until his follow up appointment with his consultant, but I’m not too worried. His initial scan on Christmas Eve showed no damage and this was just to confirm that. I’m just hoping that was the last of the tests – I don’t want to put him through anymore.