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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Can anyone tell me how long a first appointment at St.Thomas's usually lasts,or more to the point,how long I might be there altogether?Is there usually a long wait to see the doc?do you have to wait quite a while to have blood taken?
I was also wondering if you are seen on the ward or in a consulting room?it would just be nice to know what to expect.I may be going with my family,so it would be good to know if we may be there all day,
thanks for any info,
Julsie
 

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Hi Julsie,

I am not Lupus. However - my 16 year old daughter went through some tests yesterday - is this a first appointment with a rheumatologist or have they said you need to have "extensive tests" - if the first it is likely that you will be in there for an hour - if the latter, prepare for an all day visit which is pretty exhausting ranging from urine samples to ECG. My daughter had urine samples, 6 blood samples!, ex-rays and ECG - but we are in North West so she is under Alder Hey Childrens Hospital so cannot really say how long it would take for you. By the way - its not just about blood tests - they are not conclusive - my daughter showed no sign (apart from non blood symptoms) of Lupus in Aplril 2007 and then in August her bloods warranted further investigation as they did indicate SLE). She is not diagnosed with anything as yet apart from her underactive thyroid.

Bloods alone will not give you an answer - I dont think so you need to look at your symptoms and write them down.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Ceebee,
Yes,it's my first appointment.I don't mind how long I'm there,it was just my family I'm worried about.Thanks for the reply,
julsie
 

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Hello Julsie

They have a ground floor consulting area. There's reception and a waiting area then they call you to a small waiting corridor where the nurse takes BP weighs you and stuff and you give a urine sample then you wait until you are called. The children can wait on their own in the waiting room while you are seen if they are old enough. I have seen husbands go in at some point and that's a good idea if possible. The patients' toilet is in the smaller waiting corridor with several more general public ones in the main building a couple of minutes walk
Don't wear nail polish and take off any makeup beforehand. Remember your lists!

St Thomas' has a very good cafe in the main building and of course there's the general attractions of the river and Westminster across the bridge. Across the road from St Thomas' is the London Eye and the aquarium. It's a pity the weather is so foul.

I should think I have had to wait about an hour average before being seen.
The first consultation will take about an hour. I haven't been there since they revamped the blood unit but I guess I have had to wait there an average of 45 minutes.
I am not sure how they organise further testing like imaging or biopsy if necessary. I have the impression they usually ask you to come back for those, unless it is very urgent. So it has taken me 3.5 -4 hours. Once it was longer because I had to have photos taken of my skin at the medical photographers which was quite a trek.

I hope it goes well.

:)
Clare
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks,Clare,that is really helpful.At least I know it's not worth my family hanging around,
Julsie
 

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Hi!

When I went to St Thomas Lupus Unit 2 years ago, my consultant was VERY thorough patient and understanding :)

He arranged for about 21 blood tests (taken that day, the bloods are taken in the main building, newly redecorated and organised, I waited about 15 minutes but since I have had other bloods taken and the most I have had to wait was around 1 hour so I went off and had something to eat!) (only about 7 phials of blood tho thank goodness!!), x-rays (which were carried out the same day).

The most important decision for me and my family was that he arranged to admit me as an inpatient (which happened 6 weeks later) and I was an inpatient from Monday to Friday on Nightingale ward. Because I have optic neuritis as well, I had lots of eye exams/tests. I also had a colonoscopy & endoscopy, saw a neurologist and a cardiologist who all did tests as well.

I have to say that the care and attention that I received was second to none and now whenever I have a problem which I think may require admission I ALWAYS go to St Thomas' A&E (and each time I have been admitted so Im glad I know alot about my illnesses)(unless Im in an ambulance I end up at the local A&E who unfortunately dont know much about sle, aps etc). I cannot praise the staff at St Thomas enough; without them I dont think I would still be here (bit dramatic I know but I think thats the truth!).

As lupus is such a complicated illness all my consultants (except my FAB endocronologist) are at St Thomas and I feel that's great because my illnesses overlap in so many ways.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Julia:)
 

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Dear Julesie,

The only thing I would say is that depending on your walking ability you may find the walk for blood tests a bit much, so if you have a frame or crutches you will need them.

There is a McDonalds by the London Aquarium if your family want to wait there. Another alternative is the Florence Nightingale Museum at the Hospital. You do pay to go in but I don't think it is too dear. Once,my Husband took the children on a River Cruise while I was being seen. It can be pricey but it is a crime to be in London and not get to see something of the place!

When I was there the other day with my Daughter we were both poorly and saw nothing, just could not wait to get home. One excellent thing only a five minute wait for Blood Tests. Afternoons are generally a bit easier for bloods. You can go get a ticket and go for a coffee while you wait if it is too busy.

X Lola
 
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