In Departments

We park in car park D.

Usually we go in past department 1

Where people are treated during the day

But if the weathers nice we’ll go up the road straight to department 42.

Where each Tuesday starts.

We wait near department 40 for bloods

People wait near department 42 for transport home.

It’s busy, always busy.

Everyone is there for the same reason, at different points in their journey.

Old hats like us have got to know some of the staff so we chat and laugh, we know the drill, the wait.

We buy 50p coffee in a polystyrene cup from the little tea desk.

The chairs are colour coordinated so you know which part of the department to wait in.

New patients fill out forms, they’re easy to spot.

Their faces still show disbelief they’re actually there.

Their hearts are racing. I know.

They didn’t ever imagine being a patient at The Christie

That they would find out what it was like inside.

They try to hide the shock at the site of people who look ill.

Who have no hair.

Who have no legs.

Knowing that might be them.

Well, probably not the leg thing.

We wore that look.

We see the consultant in department 44.

When bloods are back and good, it’s time to go ahead.

We go to department 25.

For planned admissions.

They know us there.

We used to wait, for hours, just in case a bed came up early.

Now we leave a number and escape.

We sometimes have breakfast or coffee in department 19.

Over weekends department 19 is quiet so it’s good to take the kids in.

They sell ice lollies.

We’ve eaten there a couple of times but normally we’ll go out for a drive.

Our lunch date.

A last day of freedom.

You go to department 11 for scans.

Department 7 gives advise and is where you can find information. On anything cancer related.

We’ve waited in department 9

There’s a nice view of the gardens but it can be a bit chilly.

My favourite place is department 3.

You’re a million miles away from a hospital in there.

I’ve fell asleep in there before.

Plus there’s sockets so I sneakily charge my phone.

There’s no sockets in department 9

Art adorns the corridors adding colour to the white walls

They’re from department 12

For prayers, of any faith department 57.

Cancer doesn’t care who your God is.

Pharmacy is department 36, we’ve only been there once.

On our first visit before treatment started.

Now he gets the drugs he needs to stop infection, to stop sickness, to stop pain, to boost white blood cells when he’s discharged.

Department 14 is where you go in the middle of the night if your temperature is too high.

My heart beats a little faster when I pass department 24

Needed, but not where I ever want to have to go.

Near department 3 is the shop, the christie charity desk and another coffee shop.

The coffee shop sells Starbucks.

There are others.


We’ve never needed to go.

We pass as we walk to the departments we need.

Chris spends most of chemo week in department 4.

That’s where I visit, department 4

On floor 3 or 4

Ward 11 or 12

For 3 days

Every 3rd week

14 times.

Posted by

30 something, married, mummy of one. Getting by on chocolate and laughter.

7 thoughts on “In Departments

  1. So many departments. So much must go through your minds. Hope they are good to you in all departments. I’m sure your smile brings the best out in everyone. Hugs x

  2. I love this. It’s amazing the things we become experts in. It’s not the same, but I’m an expert on where to wait to get the best seats on particular trains. The better of the hotels to stay in on our work budgets. Daddy Pig eat your heart out. I love the way you write, Department 40 for bloods, I hope we’re not there, reading this, I imagine others looking at our state of… disbelief. You write so beautifully, I’m glad I’ve heard your laughter- knowing those who you see will sense your kindness.

  3. Oh gosh this takes me back to visiting my Mother in law. Hoping the boys questions weren’t going to be too loud. They were only curious after all. I hope your visits are making a difference xxx

  4. This is funny and heart wrenching all at must be odd to become such a pro at a cancer hospital but kind of a comfort to know you know good staff there too. I hope it’s a place you don’t have to go to anymore, very soon!

  5. Isn’t it strange the things you become an expert in knowing? Where to find a quiet space, where to charge your phone, where to take the kids…not the kind of thing you would ever expect to have to learn I’m sure. Hopefully soon all of that knowledge won’t be necessary for you xx

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