04 First visit to Rainbow Ward
Updated: Sep 6
Being admitted to a children’s oncology ward was daunting for us, something we never imagined encountering. Hopefully we’ll be in and out, more tests and we’ll be home before we know it – best to be safe. I mean, most of us have donated to charities that support these causes or even fundraised through events, but we won’t be calling by anytime soon because that’s not for us…......until it is.
The nearest specialist unit from our hometown is the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, South Wales, where Mason would soon be spending most of his time on the Rainbow ward. Upon visiting the ward for the first time, thoughts, and feelings of ‘why him, why us & how are we here’ were soon dissolved when we began to talk to other parents in similar circumstance & seeing other children along different stages of their treatment. You are not the only one, the ward felt busy and other children were quick to say hi and wave to Mason. Over time there was a silent acceptance that we are part of this now, it’s not going to be a quick fix we have no idea where this journey ends, but we don’t have the luxury of a choice….deal with it.
As parents we know our little knucklehead is going to demand more from us and we’ll need to strike a fine balance between him, home life, and his big sister. Others advised us that strangely things will become somewhat normalised and they were right. Travelling the same route to the hospital over and over felt like a new work commute, we had our own space in the communal fridge and & staff quickly got to know Mason, mainly through his funny quirks, escape attempts running through the corridor going ‘hiyya’ and scowling facial expressions. All of ward staff have played a main part in making us feel at home whilst supporting Mason through his stages or care & treatment and we can’t thank them enough.
The new Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales (CHfW) is based on the site of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. It provides healthcare for the children of Cardiff and tertiary services for children across Wales. The hospital admits around 23,000 inpatients and 50,000 outpatients per year.
The Rainbow Oncology Ward specialises in the treatment and care of children with cancer and haematological disorders. They are the lead centre for South Wales and cover the whole area of Wales south of Aberystwyth. They are a 9 bedded ward and provide up-to-date, evidence-based practice to ensure best possible care for children and young people in a safe and caring environment. Rainbow Daybeds have their own treatment room and a 6 bedded area attached to the main ward which is used for children needing daily treatments such as chemotherapy, blood transfusions and investigations. There is also an Anaesthetic Room / Theatre which is used one day per week for treatments that require a general anaesthetic. Both areas have their own playroom and play specialist.