My Weekly Smile: Raigmore Hospital

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in the Weekly Smile, and yeah I know, a boring, un-beautiful hospital building doesn’t seem much to smile about, but I have some very fond memories of this place.

Although this particular building isn’t actually that old – it was built in the late 1980s – there had been another Raigmore Hospital on a different part of the site long before this one. The original Raigmore Hospital was a wartime construction made up of several individual one-storey brick-built ward blocks that were still actually in use when I gave birth to my three children in the early 1980s, all born there in the original maternity block not too far away.

Looking around now I’m not quite sure exactly where the original ward blocks were sited – under the present staff accommodation perhaps, or underneath the new ambulance base, or under the extension to the car park, all behind where I’m standing to take this shot (at the bus stop, waiting for my bus home)? To be honest the surrounding landscape has all changed so much (and been built on) since then I can’t really get my bearings any more…

Anyway, suffice to say I’ve visited this particular hospital building many times over the last 30 years – visiting at various times my maternal grandmother, my mum, and of course my dad – and I’ve been both an inpatient and an outpatient here myself, including most recently having my hip X-Ray in the radiology department last Friday.

I also worked here too, as a physiotherapy assistant a good 20 years ago – I loved that job, there was a real family atmosphere in the workplace. Being back in the familiar wards visiting dad over this past week or so has brought back a lot of memories of the wonderful camaraderie between the staff and has definitely made me smile – plus I know dad is being well looked after.

And best of all, all six of my grandchildren were born here in this hospital – although actually the new maternity unit is just out of shot to the left. Twice this week I’ve seen beaming new parents carefully leaving the hospital with their precious newborns, and it’s reminded me how all of life passes through the doors of our hospitals, our National Health Service taking good care of us free at the point of need, cradle to grave…

My last smile for today’s post comes in the shape of a stained glass window and access door combination sited in the main hospital corridor – it’s called The Four Seasons and sits at the top of the T-junction between the Outpatient Departments and the Inpatient Wards… so bright and cheerfully lit up by the daylight coming in from the courtyard behind it 🙂

Off to Scotland for a while…

I’m off to Scotland tonight on the overnight train, so probably won’t be around much online (if at all) for the next few weeks.

I’ll be spending time with my eldest daughter’s family while we wait with anticipation to see how things go with the rest of her third pregnancy – see here for an explanation…

As of yesterday she’s back in hospital for the duration, but all is going relatively ok so far, it’s mainly just a precautionary measure to make sure if anything does go wrong, she’s in the right place for fast action. The plan is now to get her to 35 weeks if possible, and then deliver baby by elective section five weeks early…

See you all when I get back, hopefully with good news of a stabilised diabetic daughter and healthy new grandchild 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share: 16 Nov 2018

If we were having coffee this week, I’d be having mine in a large mug with a slightly warm fruit scone and butter – yum! And I’d probably talk at length about babies, and childbirth, and problems, because that’s what’s on my mind today.

My eldest daughter is currently just under 33 weeks pregnant with her third baby. As a long-term type 1 diabetic, she’s recently been struggling (through no fault of her own) to regulate her blood glucose levels during this pregnancy, and as baby’s growth is also concerning (really small this time and with a slightly erratic heart rate, not really big like last time) there is now a distinct possibility that her new little one will be born even earlier than the early birth already planned for.

Baby’s calculated due date is actually very early January 2019, but because of my daughter’s diabetes the plan all along has been to have baby delivered by 38 weeks at the latest – just before Christmas – and that’s what we’ve all been aiming towards.

But due to these recent complications of erratic blood glucose levels, erratic fetal heart rate and small baby, everything is up in the air just now and after a 3-day stay in hospital on constant IV Insulin to keep her levels stable while giving her steroids to ensure baby’s lungs mature early enough, my daughter was discharged yesterday with the understanding that at this point it looks like reaching 38 weeks gestation is unlikely.

At next week’s clinic appointment the consultants hope to have a rolling plan in place for booking an elective section for probably around 36 weeks, but with the proviso that any further problems would mean an emergency section at any time before that date – decisions will be made week to week, depending on the results of the ongoing twice-a-week scans and fetal monitor trace (already being carried out for the past month), and plan adjusted accordingly.

So it now seems likely that my daughter will definitely have a section, and her new baby will probably be in the Special Care Baby Unit for an indeterminate time after birth, assuming all goes well. As ever, there are no guarantees that all will go well, and that is a concern. I’m hoping above hope that all goes to plan, not only that baby stays safe inside for as long as possible, but also is born safely and in good health. The not knowing is hard, as is the interminable waiting.

I mean, I know no-one ever knows exactly when a baby will be born, or how things will go, but this feels like an extra layer of not knowing all over again. My youngest daughter also had complications in the latter stages of both her last two pregnancies (for an entirely different reason), and both babies were born early but thankfully healthy. Those last few crucial weeks of waiting were excrutiating, with frequent hospital monitoring and never knowing week to week if baby was still ok.

I tell myself it will be fine this time too, but of course we can never know how things will turn out. So for now I’m more concerned than excited, but remind myself just how lucky we are to have such an excellent national health service here in the UK in spite of ongoing funding difficulties… 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share