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Mum and Dad were talking about a letter they had received from the hospital. They told Arnold that they would all be going to the hospital the next day. This was because the doctor needed Arnold to have another test to see how well his kidneys were working. The test would take a little while but it would be possible for them to go to the hospital in the morning and still be home for tea. Arnold asked what the test would be. The name of it was so hard not even Mum and Dad could say it without a few problems. It was a huge word DI MERCAPTO SUCCINIC ACID TEST, but luckily it had a nickname that everyone used, a DMSA scan

Danny was listening too and he piped up “What are they going to do to Arnold?”

“Yes” said Arnold “What will they do? Will it hurt?”

Dad started to tell him all about it. First they would go to the ward where the nurses would want to weigh Arnold, measure his height and take his blood pressure and they might also want to test some of his wee. None of these things hurt although the blood pressure machine would squeeze his arm firmly. The nurse would put some EMLA cream on Arnold’s hand and cover it up. That would mean that Arnold would not feel how sharp the needle was when the doctor came to take his blood.

The doctor might want to have a look at Arnold’s tummy and would ask Mum and Dad some questions.

After all this the doctor would need to put a small needle into Arnold’s hand. The doctor would leave a small plastic tube there so that Arnold would not have to have any more needles that day. Wasn’t that good? The little plastic tube would be stuck with sticky tape to keep it safe. The doctors could take blood out of the little tube using only a syringe, no needles, and that may hardly hurt at all.

The doctor would also be able to put an injection into the little plastic tube which would help show how well Arnold’s kidneys were working. The doctor would put it in using only a syringe, and no needles. That wouldn’t hurt either.

Then they would have to wait... until after lunch. Whilst waiting Arnold would be able to watch videos or go in the playroom to paint and draw, or Mum would read a story. And of course Little Ted and Mickey Mouse would be there too. Then, after lunch, they would all go down to the special room where the DMSA test is done. Dad wasn’t too sure what actually happened in the DMSA room but was pretty sure all Arnold would have to do was lie very still on a big couch, whilst a big camera took some pictures.

The next morning Arnold, Danny and Mum and Dad arrived on the ward, The nurses said hello and showed them a bed and locker where they could put their things.

A nurse came to talk to Arnold and explained what they would do. First she wanted to weigh him so he went with the nurse and stood on some scales. They said how heavy he was. Then she measured how tall he was. Next was his blood pressure. Arnold remembered this from his last visit to the ward. To do his blood pressure the nurse wrapped a band of cloth around his arm. This was attached to a machine which blew air into the band and squeezed his arm quite tightly. It then let the air out again and then some numbers appeared on the machine. Arnold looked for the number 4 because that was his favourite. Last of all she said that they needed to test Arnold’s wee so next time he went to the toilet he had to do it into a special bottle that the nurse gave him.

Before she went away again the nurse put some of the special EMLA cream onto the back of Arnold’s hand. “That will stop the needle hurting when the doctor comes to see you” the nurse said. “Meanwhile you and Danny can go and play for a bit.”

Danny and Arnold had been playing for quite a time when the doctor came and said she just needed to put a small plastic tube in the back of his hand. Arnold didn’t want one but his Mum and the nurse said that he had to have it done.

He started to cry and doctor told him that because of the special EMLA cream Arnold wouldn’t feel how sharp the needle was and also that if Arnold sat as still as he possibly could then the needle would have been in and out again before they could sing Arnold’s favourite nursery rhyme. Arnold stopped crying and looked at the doctor. He wasn’t sure if he should believe the doctor or not, but then his Mum said it was true.

Very bravely then, he sat on his Mum’s knee and the nurse held his hand out quite tightly. He couldn’t look at the doctor so instead he looked at the bright pictures on the wall and then his Mum started to sing his favourite nursery rhyme. He knew the doctor would be about to stick the needle into his hand but his Mum kept singing and made him join in. Before they’d got to “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” the nurse said “All finished.” Arnold couldn’t believe it but it was true.

The needle was gone and the little plastic tube was just being taped into position. Then a bandage and a splint were put on to keep it safe. To take his blood the doctor then put a syringe into the little plastic tube but NO NEEDLE.

Everyone told Arnold how brave he had been and they even gave him a bravery badge and certificate with his name on to prove it.

Now it was time to got to the room where the special dye would be given into the plastic tube - NO NEEDLE. One of the nurses from the ward went with Arnold and his Dad. It was not very far, just around the corner.

It didn’t take long. The nurse then unstuck the sticky tape from around the little plastic tube in his hand and removed the little tube. Arnold was allowed to choose the plaster he had and he chose a small round one.

After lunch Arnold and his Dad went to the room where the test was to be done. It was a long way down the corridor but there were lots of interesting pictures along the way. When they got there, a lady in a white coat came to meet them. She told Arnold her name, gave him a lovely smile and showed them all into the scan room. It looked very big.

There was a special couch in the middle, and that had a huge big television and camera all around it. There was a table at the side with another television there too. It was a little bit frightening, but Dad held his hand and he felt a little better.

The nurse lifted him onto the couch. It was very high. Because it was very important to be very still there were some pillows and straps which were padded and wrapped around him to stop him moving. Dad sat next to him and read him a story. After 5 minutes the lady unwrapped Arnold, helped him to lie a different way, she then put the pillows around him and fastened the straps again.

Just as Dad finished the story the lady came to tell them that it was all over now and they could go back to the ward. She also said what a good boy Arnold had been. Arnold was very pleased with himself and Dad said he was very proud of him.

Mum and Danny were waiting for him when he had finished. Arnold was so glad to get a big hug and kiss from his Mum and to know that he was on his way home again.

Content compiled by members of the Children’s Renal & Urology Unit, QMC Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals.

The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.