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

Cartoon of Sharon in bed Sharon lived with her Mum in a small house on a busy street. She was very excited because she had just started school. She really enjoyed it, especially meeting lots of new friends.

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

That night she hardly got any sleep and everything seemed to get much worse. Her mum gave her lots of cuddles and made her drink a lot. Mum said they would have to go to the doctor’s in the morning.

They took some of her wee in a jam jar to the doctor. The doctor looked at Sharon’s tummy and touched it to see if it was sore. He also looked at the wee in the jam jar. He told Sharon that he thought she might have an infection in her 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. Sharon had never thought about that.

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

Cartoon of Sharon looking for the kidney in her teddy Once 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 Sharon 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 Sharon could take that would get rid of all the germs in her bladder, and that it wouldn’t hurt anymore when she went to the toilet. Both Sharon and her Mum were very happy to hear that. First though, Sharon had to do another wee into a special sterile container, so that the doctor could find out which germs had made Sharon poorly. Sharon and her Mum said goodbye to the doctor and went to the chemist where they got the medicine.

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

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

About a week later Sharon’s Mum got a letter asking her to take Sharon to the hospital to see a special doctor. This doctor said that Sharon would need to come to the hospital on another day for a very important test. This test would let the doctor know how well Sharon’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 her 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. Sharon couldn’t make up her 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 her. Mum said that she would be with her all the time so there was no need to be frightened by all the new things she would see.

Cartoon of Sharon and sher mum at x-ray reception Neither Sharon, 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 Sharon was having a wee. Sharon looked at her Mum and giggled, “They won’t do that” said Sharon. “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 Sharon had to go for the test. It was called a MICTURATING CYSTOURETHROGRAM, and not even her Mum could say it properly. At the hospital he held her 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. Sharon didn’t feel too much like playing though as she was beginning to wonder what would happen. Just then a small white gown was given to her Mum and they both went into the changing room so that she could take her clothes off and put the white gown on instead. She even had to take her pants off, which felt a bit funny as Mummy said she should always have a clean pair of knickers on when she was out. Still at least she could wrap up in her own dressing gown that Mum had brought, and she could hold onto the hand of her favourite teddy bear which she had also brought along.

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

Sharon was put on the table which was hard and cold, but luckily the bit she had to lie on had a warm soft sheet on it. She lay on her back and her Mum sat near her head and held her hands. The nurse held her feet so that she didn’t wriggle too much. It felt a bit frightening being held still but Mum talked to her and helped her relax.

The doctor then asked if Sharon would put her knees as far apart as she could and he lifted her gown and shone a bright light on her. Sharon felt a little frightened but knew what was going to happen.

Cartoon of mum telling Sharon a story She carried on listening to her Mum who was telling her about the super holiday they would soon be having at Grandma’s. The doctor said he was just about to clean between her legs so that he could put the small rubber tube in, he said sorry but the cleany stuff was a bit cold. Brr it was! It felt horrible and she could feel the doctor trying to find the right place to put the tube. It felt strange and she was frightened, but she stayed still. Mum and the nurse told her how good she was being. The doctor then said “I’m just putting the tube in now”. Sharon felt a sharp feeling which she didn’t like but she took big breaths like Mummy was telling her 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". Sharon tried to smile but was still a little bit scared.

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

The nurse helped her onto her back again and the doctor then said she could wee. “What here? Not in a toilet?” She 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 her arms and told her to wee as much as she could. Sharon was desperate for a wee so she did one but she did feel strange weeing whilst she 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. Sharon didn’t even feel it because she was still weeing at the time and that made it easier. Sharon finished weeing and the doctor took one last picture and then said to her that she could get up now and go with her Mum to have a wash.

It was over. Sharon sat up and hugged her Mum tightly. The doctor talked to her Mum for a few minutes about the pictures and then they were off. In the changing rooms, Mum washed her down and dried her with the towel. They threw the white gown into the laundry basket and Sharon slipped into her 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. 115: Sharon Has a Very Important Test written: 15/04/2007 last reviewed: 14/11/2020