From Paediatric to Adult Patient

Day 7 of Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week is here and I wanted to write about the differences of going from being a patient on a children’s ward to the adult wards. This was a very odd transition for me and took some getting used too.

I moved up to the adult wards at around 17 years of age, it was getting to the point where I just felt too old to be there and although it was really sad to leave behind the amazing nursing staff it had to happen sooner or later. The transition did not go as easily as I would have liked it too. Maybe I was spoilt by being in the children’s ward where the staff depending on how sick the other kids were had more time to sit and talk to me and just a little too much TLC. Here are some of the differences I had to contend with going from a child patient to an adult patient:

  • Whilst in the children’s ward I was allowed visitors whenever during the day and my parents could come whenever they wanted that isn’t like that on adult wards
  • The SHO’s (yes showing my age there! Basically junior doctors) used to write up all of the notes from the doctors round so that I could read things back or my parents could read it
  • I was used to having the same staff looking after me and the ward being small that I knew all the staff
  • If I wanted to stay in bed I was allowed too without being moaned at

My mam worked at the Friarage on the switchboard for years and a lot of the older staff or who had been there for a couple of years knew who she was which was both a boon and a curse. Confidentiality sometimes went out of the window and she would often know what was going on with me before I told her. Although the advantage was that if I was getting cabin fever I would go sit with her when she was on shift so I could get off the ward, watch tv and just spend some time with my mam. I would say to the nurses that if they needed me they could ring switch, the majority would smile and say that was fine they would ring when I needed to take my tablets or if they were bedding down the ward for the night and I needed to come back. There were the odd ones who tried to stop me from going but once someone told me my mam was there they soon let me go, knowing I was safe.

I have stayed on at least 6 adult wards since moving from being a child patient and all but one were fantastic. The Women’s Health Unit was the one I hated staying on. Although saying that the sister’s on that ward were amazing and would sit and show me the photos taken from my scopes if I asked. But there was a couple of staff who shouldn’t have been working in healthcare; I was told I was faking it, you can’t be in pain and I was too young to be so sick and the list goes on of very similar statements. This lead to the start of me being frustrated and getting angry or shouty my family often bring up the fact that I was a bad patient but in reality it was a direct response to someone in a care position being unprofessional; which was a huge shock as none of my other nurses had been like that. I remember one staff member being an absolute cow so rightly or wrongly I let her know she was being horrific and that led to her threatening to call security, with a snarky remark of go for it. Some of the staff smirked at this but only because they knew my dad worked in security, he would have known instantly that it was me he was responding to a bleep for and when he arrived I waved smiled at the staff member and went for a smoke. However like I said when I was in pain and people passed stupid comments about my disease or me I didn’t care who said it, I was going to shout – I guess the steroids didn’t help my aggression.

Due to the sheer amount of patients on wards and the turnaround I guess doctors don’t have the time to talk through what is going on with teenagers. Whether they don’t think they would understand or if they even care about what is happening to them; but I can say most of us probably do – especially if we have parents who want to know what is going on and due to boredom/pain meds/pain/brain fog we can’t remember what was said. Not all of us are able to fully understand what is happening to us – we go from things being explained in a non medical fashion to things being all medical textbook and things being spoken over us rather than to us. And yes I am aware that still happens to many of us as “fully grown” adults not just young people, hell after 20 years I still look at doctors and think “what the heck have you just said to me” but no one has the time to explain things to anyone anymore, we are more than just a number regardless what age we are so treat us as such.

Did you get a chance to read yesterdays awareness post? If not please click here.

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