This has been a very different experience from Evan's last trip to Birmingham, his first was a hospital to hospital transfer, so despite the couple of aborted attempts everything else was done for us, all we had to do was turn up.
This time as Evan is leaving from home it's something very different.
Flights to Birmingham were booked for us, so we flew accross on the 12:30 Flybe out of the City, with people going on their holidays, people travelling on business and there was Evan heading for open heart surgery sitting amongst them - but he had a great time - wee bit embarrassing though when boarding the plane he pointed at a group of ground crew in high-viz vests and shouted "daddy, daddy, minions!"
Flying commercial did have a few differences, letters needed from the Royal to cover all his medications being taken on as hand luggage, again security at Belfast City were great.
One thing that I think could be looked at is the fact that as taxis are used from the airport to the hospital, we like every other family who makes this trip has to bring their own car seat, surely if the same taxi company is used every tume a child seat could be sorted. The taxi driver we had was great, Tom, from his Donald Duck impressions to the fact that he is a cousin of Catriona Ruane and acted as a tour guide pointing out all the points of interest on our journey to the hospital.
When we got to Ward 12, there were the usual rounds of tests/questions/paperwork nothing new to Evan or us, although his 'dislike' of hospitals is becoming more apparent, but blond nurses and doctors seem able to get away with a bit more.
The Surgeon who is doing the operation tomorrow met us and has explained about the thickening and narrowing of the main artery that has resulted in him needing this operation, and is the same surgeon who operated on Evan before, so is familiar with his case and regularly reviews and gets updates from Belfast.
As Evan wasn't to be first on the list, he's here in the hotel room with us for the night, rather than having to stay on the ward.
** but how quickly things change it's 20:30 and we have had a call from the Ward the child who was meant to be first on the list can't make it, can we have Evan on the Ward for 7am? - of course we can - as he has to fast from 3am my alarm is set to stop his feed pump with a second alarm for 6am to get up and ready.
Thats all the practicalities, Freya who started P1 in September is back home with granny, this morning my mum came to pick her up and take her to school for us - so there would be no "scenes" at the school gate and it would be easier on her - and boy am I glad that she did, cause I cried like a big wean when she left the house - because up until then I have been able to make and keep myself busy and I think that was when reality actually hit, of all the unknows - the operation - the travel - the length of time away from Freya..
Its not easy but tomorrow is another day and Evan's second heart operation but ninth operation in total - his surgeon said earlier that he hoped to be able to use the old scar for the incision , but then on reflection he thought there were more than enough to chose from.