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Written by Dot Mackinlay, Debbie Hiley & Alan Watson

This is a story about a girl called Annie who lives with her Mum, Dad and little brother Danny...not forgetting her pet cat... “Cat”.

Annie and Danny had once been in hospital together and Annie had been quite poorly. Mum and Dad had told her that the doctors and nurses had helped her to get better, and Annie did believe them. She remembered that sometimes the nurses and doctors had played with her and read her stories, but she also remembered that sometimes they had put a needle in her arm to take some blood. She hadn’t liked that at all, and she had been a little bit frightened.

The blood had been taken so that the doctors could see how well her body was working. Annie didn’t really understand how her blood could do this, but her Mum and Dad both said it was true so she guessed it must be.

Now the doctors at the hospital wanted to do another Blood test. This was to see how well her kidneys were. Annie didn’t know what or where, her kidneys were! She asked her Mum. She told her that they were tucked inside her tummy, somewhere at the back, and she should have two, one on each side. Her Mum said that the kidneys helped keep her blood alright. She asked if that was all her kidneys did. Her Mum said that the kidneys also made her wee. She looked at her Mum. She had never thought about where her wee came from.

Annie decided she had been told enough for one day so went to play with Danny and Little Ted.

The next day Annie asked her Mum some more questions. She had been thinking about these things called kidneys. “If they made wee did that mean everyone had them?” Her Mum answered yes everyone had them but sometimes they didn’t work so well and that made you poorly. She remembered being in hospital with Danny. “Was that because my kidneys hadn’t been working very well?” Her Mum replied yes that had been the trouble. Annie thought hard. She had been in hospital because her kidneys had been poorly. She remembered that her Mum had said that the kidneys helped keep the blood alright, so...was that why the doctors had needed to take her blood for testing?

It had made a little bit more sense now, that she went back to the hospital to see the doctor and that sometimes they wanted to take some more of her blood to be tested.

Annie still didn’t like the idea though.

“What if she ran out of blood?” Her Mum laughed kindly and told Annie that her body would always make some new blood to replace the bit that the doctor had taken.

“Why did they have to use a sharp needle that hurt?” Her Mum said that it was possible to have a special cream but on the skin that took all the hurt out of the sharp needle if you put it on an hour beforehand. The cream was called EMLA cream/Ametop cream. Or a cold numbing spray could be used which was like having an ice cube rubbed onto your skin.

“Why did it take so long to take the blood” Annie’s Mum said that was probably because she wiggled and shouted. That makes it very hard for the doctors to put the needle in the right place. If she was to sit still they could probably do it in next to no time. In fact probably faster than she could say her favourite nursery rhyme.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again”

Annie and her Mum sang a few nursery rhymes and then it was time for 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.