Travel blog – Trip to London – 27th June 2019

I’m off to the hospital today. My annual trip to see my sleep specialist at St Thomas’s Hospital. I quite enjoy this trip every year but I’d been kinda dreading it this year.

I think this is for several reasons but I don’t know which is the actual reason for dreading it. I’ve put it down to two reasons.

Reason number one, the last two years I have been to see my specialist it hasn’t gone well.

Two years ago they sent me to get bloods done as I was struggling really badly with my sleepiness but also had been losing my hair badly. They were hoping the bloods were going to show I had an iron deficiency. Which it did. However while I was having my bloods taken I had a major pain in my chest. It hurt so bad I wanted to pass out. This meant I was sent to the A and E department to find out what had happened. Now Bella had had her 12 week jabs the day before I went to the hospital so she was at home with my dad while Daly and I were in London. I was sat for so long just waiting to be registered into the A and E that by the time I was sent through to Urgent care it was 8pm. Then I saw the wait time 4 and a half hours. I panicked. That would mean we were going to be stuck in London over night. My baby was at home with out me, dealing with the aftermath of her jabs. I t was happening. I completely broke down, panicking. I had to go home then. No if buts or maybes. I was going home. I didn’t stop crying until we were on the train out of London. I was just so scared I was going to have to stay over night and I was away from my baby. The pain was gone, I was good so I was going home.

Last year when I saw my specialist we took Bella with us. We thought we’d make a nice family day of it and go to the Natural History Museum. Bella really likes dinosaur so I wanted to take her to see some. Also Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures is suppose to be set in the museum so I thought she’d like it. The only problem, we had the pram and I didn’t want to try and take it on the underground so we had to walk everywhere. Trying to walk from Victoria to the Natural History Museum to them St Thomas’s and back to Victoria was not fun. I found it so stressful we swore we wouldn’t be taking Bella for a day out when I have hospital.

Reason number two is the day before mum died I had gone for a day trip to London with my Bestie Leanne. I had been dreading it because mum had been in hospital and the hospice but I had also taken the view that I couldn’t just sit at home and wait for mum to die. That wasn’t fair on me or Bella. This trip had been planned long before mum went into hospital and it was mainly for Bella so I didn’t want to cancel. Mum had been happy for me to go, we had prepared everything for me being gone so she was ok. She had my brother in law on call and as soon as my sister finished work she went round. Even though I know mum wanted me to go I still feel guilty I should have been with her rather than enjoying myself in London. My mum was my world and I put myself and daughter ahead of her to go and enjoy ourselves and it turned out it was her last day alive. I feel we should have been spending time with her but I have to focus on the positive, we got her home to die which is what she wanted and after I sent a lovely day with her on the Friday, Rachel spent the Saturday with mum before she died on the Sunday.

I’m sure all these bad things and stresses that had happened over the last few times in London I’m not surprised my anxiety has been so high recently. I need a good London experience to change it all around.

Now today I was prepared. Check out my London Day Trip Bag to see how prepared I was. I had also organised Bella’s clothes for ballet and nursery as well as her lunch and bags to go to nursery and then off to Grandma’s. Bella is staying at Grandma’s tonight as Daly is at work and I have no idea what time I will be back from London.

I got Bella up so I could get her dressed for ballet so I could try to leave Daly in bed as long as possible. He currently on nights so he finished work at 5am and ballet starts at 10am. I sorted out Bella’s breakfast and she happily munched on the sofa while I sorted out my clothes for the day. At half 9 I went to wake Daly up so he could get up and get Bella to ballet on time. I popped Bella in the car for Daly and gave her a kiss goodbye and then I waved them off.

While Bella was at ballet I finished off her lunch by making her sandwiches, got myself dressed and set off into town to catch the train. I love being able to walk places on my own, it means I’m able to listen to my music. So I walked into town enjoying my music. I kept going hot and cold as I was walking which was annoying I had to keep throwing my jumpers on and off. Before I went to the train station I bought a bottle of water, I didn’t want to pay station prices so a nice bottle for 50p from Savers was ideal and fitted perfectly in my bag.

Time to go to the station and get my ticket. Now I occasionally use the underground while I’m in London so I always get travel card when I’m going to London so I know I have the option. Problem is I can never remember what the damn thing is called. The poor ticket guy probably wonders what’s this weirdo that’s turned up at his window asking for a London travel thingy with the underground. I am beyond words sometimes. Luckily the guy knew what I wanted so I received my ticket and went and sat on the platform. There was a lovely breeze while I was sat there and for once there were some Metros still sat in the newspaper holders, so I grabbed one of those.

I had a while to wait before my train, about 20 minutes, so I sat and relaxed for a bit. Daly called after ballet to tell me how Bella had got on. Apparently she had joined in, on and off but had been over it by the end of her class. It’s a shame but I knew she’d be a bit off today without me.

Eventually the train turned up and luck have it I managed to score a table seat.It was a nice relaxed journey up to London Victoria. I read my paper but that got boring really fast. So I popped my headphones in and enjoyed people and sight watching. After an hour of travelling we finally started to come into London. We passed Battersea Power Station which has scaffolding all around it. The famous towers are still standing but I’m not sure what they are doing to the site. I suppose a quick google search would tell me.

Finally we pulled into Victoria and there was the made rush of everyone trying to get off the train. I was in no rush so just happily sat there. Everyone was pushing and trying to get past. Once everyone had got off I left the train and made my way through the station. I was feeling a bit hungry but didn’t want to stop for any food in the station. They were all rammed with people getting lunch.

Instead of using the underground I thought I would walk down to the Thames and Westminster. When we’re in London we normally walk one way whether it’s to the hospital or back. It was a pretty day so I thought I’d walk to the river and see what I could find.

Now when I’m in London I tend to pick a direction and just go with it. Luckily I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction. So I headed out of the station and chose a road and just went with it. And it turns out I chose a good road. I did stop to check a map briefly to make sure I was going in the right direction and I was thankfully.

Before long I found Westminster Abbey. I didn’t even realise that that was the land mark I was going to come across first. I thought I was going to come across St James Park but I guess I was in the road next door. There were quite a few people around the Abbey. I don’t think anything special was going on it was just the regular tourists going in to check it out. As I walked past I realised I’d never been in Westminster Abbey but I didn’t feel today was the time to give it a go.

Along the fence outside the Abbey there was a bag piper who was attracting a small crowd. I had got caught up in the middle of a school crowd so wasn’t able to actually able to stop and enjoy the music or take any decent photos. I carried on being swept along by the crowd before they disappeared outside the Houses of Parliament.

The road was fairly quiet outside the Houses of Parliament. The last few times there’s been protests and a heavy police presence but not today. There was one lone protester with an EU flag. Not saying anything just standing there with his flag outside the building. Big Ben or Elizabeth Tower was being repaired or something so sadly couldn’t be seen. It was encased in scaffolding so I didn’t get any of the usual Big Ben photos this time but maybe next year.

I started to go across Westminster Bridge to the hospital. I had a bit of time before my appointment and I was still hungry. I know the area pretty well so I had a think about what sort of food I was fancying.

I decided Subway was going to be more filling than McDonalds. It is in the street behind the Sealife Centre and London Eye so I set off. It was pretty busy inside. Not surprising with how nice the weather is. I miss coming up in the winter for appointments rather than the summer. I am not impressed with the price though. Normally a six inch Subway Melt is £3.49ish in this Subway it was £5.10. There’s me with my five pound note thinking that’s going to cover it but no. I mean I know I should expect higher prices in London but that seemed silly.

Next up I wanted a Costa. I had my bottle of water but a Costa cooler was tickling my fancy. I typed into google to find the nearest Costa. I knew there was one at Waterloo station but wondered if there was one closer than there. I found there was apparently one on the street just round the corner from the station. I thought I’d try that one, but could I find it. No I couldn’t. I quickly gave up and headed into Waterloo Station.

In summer I love the summer drinks companies come out with. My two favourite summer drinks are McDonald’s Raspberry Ripple Iced Cooler and Costa’s Strawberry and cream Frostino. They are both so refreshing and cool you down on a hot day. Today I was on the hunt for a strawberry and cream frostino. I knew exactly where Costa was in the station so that was handy. A quick order later I had my frostino in my hand.

As it was so nice outside and I still had plenty of time to kill before my doctor appointment I thought I’d have my Subway and Costa while sat in Jubilee Park next to the London Eye. It wasn’t too busy in the park. There were a few school trips but they seemed to all be going home. I found a nice shady spot under a tree and enjoyed my Subway and Costa.

Daly rang me while I was enjoying my lunch to talk to me about the car and the repairs we need done on it. He was going to order the parts and see if our friend could fix it over the weekend but we have got it booked into the garage on Monday morning to sort it out. I decided I wasn’t going to let this stress me out. We knew we were going to have to do this with the car and we knew we have the money to do it so there was no point in getting worked up.

After finishing my lunch I thought about what I was going to do. I had about an hour to spare before I needed to go to the hospital. There are several attractions along the Thames opposite the hospital. There’s the London Dungeons, Shreks Adventure, Sealife Centre, and the London Eye. As I only had an hour I didn’t really want to pay a silly amount to go see one of these attractions for only an hour. That wasn’t going to be fun. Instead I just did a little bit of wandering.

Wandering didn’t last very long. There wasn’t really far to wander. I thought I’d head into the hospital and see if I could find a magazine or book in the shop to grab. I walked back along the Thames and using the underpass to get to the hospital. The view is lovely as you exit the underpass. The view of the Houses of Parliament and the Thames.

I walked up to the hospital, past the hospital gardens where they were holding a food market. I had a look in the WHSmiths inside but couldn’t find any decent books or magazines. I even looked at the puzzle books and colouring books but decided that was going to cost too much as I’d had to buy the colours separately. I didn’t end up purchasing anything so I took the walk, the very long walk to the back of the hospital to my department.

I was 45 minutes early for my appointment but exhaustion was starting to hit me so I didn’t care. I just wanted to relax and sit down in a comfortable chair. It’s cute, in the corridors of the hospital there are various images on the walls from various fairytales:
Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots etc. The funniest thing is that opposite the entrance to the department my sleep clinic is in there is the story of Sleeping Beauty. Oh the irony. I think it’s just perfect.

I was so early the morning clinic was still running, even though my appointment was at 3.30pm. There were quite a few people waiting although I believe two different clinics were waiting to run, a respiratory clinic and a sleep clinic. I registered at the reception desk and sat down in one of the huge seats they have. I popped my head phones in and then tried to sleep. I was so tired. Normally there’s a few of us asleep outside of the clinic – I mean what do you expect outside a clinic for narcoleptic patients.

Eventually the morning clinic ended and it was time for the doctors to swap their rooms. The main sleep clinic is at Guys Hospital but they run a clinic at St Thomas’s. My doctor was in thankfully. I see the consultant for the department who is brilliant, I have however seen a registrar in the past who was awful. Before I could go into see the consultant I had to see the nurse. She asked me a range of questions to rate my level of sleepiness. She also weighed me (I’ve lost a kilogram in a year lol) took my blood pressure and my blood oxygen level. I was then released back to the waiting area.

A new patient had turned up and we all sat there chatting about the NHS and where we were from. The department is amazing and we discussed how patients come from all across the country. This lead to us talking about previous experiences at hospitals near our homes. It turns out the new patients son was from the same town as me so of course we had experiences at the same local hospitals.

I was called in to my appointment 20 minutes later, but that didn’t bother me. Last year I got in and out before my appointment time and the department and consultant is worth the wait. I was called in and had a lovely chat about how my condition was progressing and the plan for the next year. I’m not going to post those details on here though as it’s private but in summery everything is good and my narcolepsy is still under control.

I left the hospital but due to the exhaustion I was feeling I didn’t do anymore sight seeing instead I headed straight for the underground. I’m not a huge fan of the underground but Victoria is a bit of a walk when you’re tired. I only needed to go two stops on the district line from Westminster to Victoria. But checking I was going the right way and heading for the right platform meant I missed the tube. Good thing they’re every 2 to 3 minutes.

I got on the next train and headed to Victoria. I had messaged Rachel to ask if she could pick me up from the station when I got home. Thankfully she agreed to get me. I think otherwise I would have crawled to the pub and told Nathan I was sleeping there that night. Two stops on the tube took less than ten minutes then it was time to find the platform with my train home.

I had made it to the station earlier than I expected but luckily there was a train homeward bound already on the platform. Again I was lucky and managed to get a table seat. I was extremely surprised considering it was the early on set of rush hour but nope I got my table seat. I messaged Rachel to let her know when I’d get into town and then I settled into my seat for the ride home.

So not as much sight seeing as I wanted to do but at least it was good news from the hospital.

Night all and let’s see what adventures tomorrow holds for us.

Love CiCi x

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