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Cartoon of family reading leaflet, 21K (illustrator: Jan Smith) Darren Has a Very Important Test

Cartoon of Darren in bed Darren lived with his Mum in a small house on a busy street. He was very excited because he had just started school. He really enjoyed it, especially meeting lots of new friends.

One day Darren felt very poorly, his back ached and when he tried to have a wee it felt horrid and it stung a lot. Sometimes when he wanted to wee no wee would come out and his tummy would hurt. He cried a lot because he didn’t know what to do.

That night he hardly got any sleep and everything seemed to get much worse. His mum gave him lots of cuddles and made him drink a lot. Mum said they would have to go to the doctors in the morning.

They took some of his wee in a jam jar to the doctor. The doctor looked at Darren’s tummy and touched it to see if it was sore. He also looked at the wee in the jam jar. He told Darren that he thought he might have an infection in his bladder. He explained that an infection is when germs make part of you poorly, and he explained what and where the bladder is. The doctor also explained all about where wee comes from. Darren had never thought about that.

First, wee was made in the kidneys. Darren didn’t know what or where, his kidneys were. He asked the doctor. He told him that they were tucked inside his tummy, somewhere at the back, and he had two, one on each side. The doctor also said that the kidneys helped keep the blood alright.

Cartoon of Darren looking for the kidney in his teddyOnce the kidneys had made the wee it went to the bladder where it was stored until you went to the toilet. The doctor drew a picture to help Darren understand.

The wee finally leaves the bladder through a small tube called a urethra when you go to the toilet and have a wee. When there is an infection in the bladder this stings.

The doctor said that there was some medicine that Darren could take that would get rid of all the germs in his bladder, and that it wouldn’t hurt anymore when he went to the toilet. Both Darren and his Mum were very happy to hear that. First though, Darren had to do another wee into a special sterile container, so that the doctor could find out which germs had made Darren poorly. Darren and his Mum said goodbye to the doctor and went to the chemist where they got the medicine.

After two days Darren felt right as rain but he hadn’t forgotten how horrid it felt being ill. He wanted to know more about his bladder so Mum took him to the library where they chose a book with lots of pictures which told you how your body works.

Darren thought it was very interesting so he took the book to school where the teacher and all the other children had a look.

About a week later Darren’s Mum got a letter asking her to take Darren to the hospital to see a special doctor. This doctor said that Darren would need to come to the hospital on another day for a very important test. This test would let the doctor know how well Darren’s bladder was working.

They were given a sheet of paper about the test and at home they looked at this. There were some good bits and some not-so-good bits.

The good bits were that they could go to the hospital in the afternoon and then be home for tea. Mum would be able to be with him all the time. The not-so-good bits included having to go to the X-ray department and having to change into a special white gown especially for the test. Darren couldn’t make up his mind whether it would be exciting to see all the machines that took pictures of your insides, or whether it would be a little frightening to lie on a table with lots of big cameras and a TV screen and with lots of people all around him. Mum said that she would be with him all the time so there was no need to be frightened by all the new things he would see.

Cartoon of Darren and his mum at x-ray reception Neither Darren, or Mum knew exactly how the people in the X-ray department were going to be able to see how well her bladder was working. Mum said she thought they might have to take some of their special pictures whilst Darren was having a wee. Darren looked at his Mum and giggled, “They won’t do that” said Darren. “You always told me that’s private and should be done in a toilet on my own,” Mum agreed she had said that but then added that sometimes doctors needed to do things that nobody else should do.

It wasn’t many days before Darren had to go for the test. It was called a MICTURATING CYSTOURETHROGRAM, and not even his Mum could say it properly. At the hospital he held his Mum’s hand tightly as they went along the corridor to the X-ray department. They went to the desk to say they had arrived. A smiling lady told them to go and wait in the area with the toys in. Darren didn’t feel too much like playing though as he was beginning to wonder what would happen. Just then a small white gown was given to his Mum and they both went into the changing room so that he could take his clothes off and put the white gown on instead. He even had to take his pants off, which felt a bit funny as Mummy said he should always have a clean pair of pants on when he was out. Still at least he could wrap up in his own dressing gown that Mum had brought, and he could hold onto the hand of his favourite teddy bear which she had also brought along.

His Mum picked him up and they followed the nurse into a huge room which had lots of big machines and a large table in the centre. About five people were in there, the doctor who did the tests (the radiologist), the people who worked the machines (the radiographers), and another nurse. The doctor smiled and explained what would happen.

Cartoon of the x-ray equipment Darren would need to lie on the big table and Mum could stay with him if she wore a big heavy apron like the nurse. Once Darren was lying on the table they would pass a small rubber tube into his bladder. Darren looked very frightened at this and held his Mum very tightly. His Mum hugged him and then explained a bit more. She said that the small soft tube would be put into Darren’s bladder, up the small hole at the end of his willy where his wee came out. It would feel strange, and might hurt just a little bit, but less than the pain he had had when he had been poorly and couldn’t wee properly. The important thing, his Mum said was that he lay very still to help the doctor.

Darren was put on the table which was hard and cold, but luckily the bit he had to lie on had a warm soft sheet on it. He lay on his back and his Mum sat near his head and held his hands. The nurse held his feet so that he didn’t wriggle to much. It felt a bit frightening being held still but Mum talked to him and helped him relax. The doctor lifted Darren’s gown and shone a bright light on him. Darren felt a little frightened but knew what was going to happen, so carried on listening to his Mum who was telling him about the super holiday they would soon be having at Grandma’s.

The doctor had to clean Darren’s willy so that he could put the small rubber tube in. The doctor said sorry but the cleany stuff was a bit cold. Brr it was! It felt horrible and Darren could feel the doctor pulling back the foreskin. It felt strange and he was frightened, but he stayed still. Mum and the nurse told him how good he was being. The doctor then said “I’m just putting the tube in now”.

Cartoon of mum telling Darren a story Darren felt this sharp feeling which he didn’t like but he took big breaths like Mummy was telling him and then the feeling went. The tube was in. It felt funny but didn’t hurt.

“Over halfway now” said the nurse “and that’s the worst bit over. You were brave, and very good to lie so still and not wriggle”. Darren tried to smile but was still a little bit scared.

The doctor then put the huge camera over the top of Darren. It was nearly as big as the box he kept his toys in! The camera was held over him and made some clicking and whirring sounds and then Darren saw that on the TV screen there were pictures in black and white. They made no sense to him or to Mum, but the doctor looked at them with interest. The doctor said they were going to fill his bladder through the tube, and that it would make Darren feel as if he needed a wee. They then helped him roll onto one side for some pictures. Oh he really needed that wee. Then he was rolled onto the other side. Couldn’t he wee please?

The nurse helped him onto his back again and the doctor then said he could wee. “What here? Not in a toilet?” He asked. “No” the doctor said “We need to see what happens when you wee. Don’t worry though you can wee into a special container and anyway you’re lying on a special sheet that soaks all the wee up and is then thrown in the bin. Don’t worry.”

Mum stroked his arms and told him to wee as much as he could. Darren was desperate for a wee so he did one but he did feel strange weeing whilst he was lying down with lots of people in the room. “We know it’s strange” said the nurse “but everyone who has the test has to do this. Just try and wee”.

All the time the camera was making lots of noises, clicks, whirrs and even the odd clunk, and it took lots of pictures.

The doctor removed the small rubber tube. Darren didn’t even feel it because he was still weeing at the time and that made it easier. Darren finished weeing and the doctor took one last picture and then said to him that he could get up now and go with his Mum to have a wash.

It was over. Darren sat up and hugged his Mum tightly. The doctor talked to his Mum for a few minutes about the pictures and then they were off. In the changing rooms, Mum washed him down and dried him with the towel. They threw the white gown into the laundry basket and Darren slipped into his own clothes, it did feel good, “Okay then” said Mum “Let’s go home for some tea”.

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.

NKF Controlled Document No. 90: Darren Has a Very Important Test written: 15/04/2007 last reviewed: 14/11/2020