On Thursday midday we got a message from Mellisa to say you weren’t well. I gave the standard “Give her some Calpol and let’s see how she goes”. Half an hour later, things weren’t going so well – you were shivering (but not in the fever sense), and you couldn’t walk in a straight line.
We went to the paed practice (our paed was away, but we saw a wonderful doc in his place). You were crying and crying, and I’ve never seen you so miserable. The doc diagnosed an upper respiratory virus, and prescribed some meds to make you feel better.
When I got home, you were fractionally less miserable, but still uncomfortable and agitated, and without your usual smiles, energy and spirit. For a few hours, your discomfort and pain continued, and since you weren’t keen/able to sleep, at about 11pm we took you to the clinic as we were worried. The shivering thing had subsided, but you were clearly not well.
You were clingy and didn’t want to leave my hold, and so for the next few hours, while we waited for a doctor and then a diagnosis, and while you were prodded and examined, you were pretty much in my arms, and even then, it was small comfort – you were still so overwrought with discomfort. You were also so agitated – you couldn’t find a comfortable space or position to ease you.
You cried more in these few hours than you had in all your 17 months, and my heart broke. When you had your blood taken and a drip put in (it took a doctor and two nurses, plus us holding you and comforting you), you were rightfully distraught, and I’m not sure I will ever forget your two tear-filled eyes, looking at me with anguish. There was nothing I could do to help you or ease your pain, and that helplessness and powerlessness were frustrating, and so hard.
We walked up and down corridors to try ease and distract you, and the hospital was so quiet. We saw the route that we took in September 2016 from the maternity ward to the theatre on your birth day, and popped into the visitor area and took a peak at the babies in the nursery.
About two hours later we got to see a paed who was on call, who checked you out. I don’t want to make this doctor the focus of this post, but she was horrific. No bedside manner or kind communication with two worried parents, and no gentleness when handling you. She was the antithesis of everything you would want/expect from a paed – she was cold, gruff, quite accusatory and showed no patience (and I’d like to think we are fair and pretty calm parents).
When she said you needed to be admitted, I burst out crying. I mean, surely things weren’t that bad? And while things weren’t that bad, they just wanted to check all was okay, even though the blood tests confirmed a virus so they knew what they were dealing with.
We were shown to a room, you were hooked up on a drip, and we lay in bed, with your dripped hand on my chest, and you snuggled so close to me. It was all I could do to ease and comfort you, and with the meds, the pain ceased for the time, and you fell asleep. Falling asleep with you like this in hospital reminded me of the newborn days when I lay with you in a similar way in the same hospital (minus the drip and illness, and with you being 6.5kg lighter), soaking in my big little miracle.
We slept for about two and a half hours, and you woke up sad and agitated again. The drip was taken out, and at around 4.30am, we started our ward rounds, so to speak – walking around the hospital to distract you. There were some prams in the paed ward, so I popped you in, and we walked and walked.
Later, you were given another drip and we had a nap, after which you started getting a spring in your step. Your colour returned, your smile grew bigger, you socialised (smiling at strangers), and you wanted all the Jelly Tots opened so that you could eat some, and then feed me the rest.
Later that afternoon, you were discharged. We basically asked to go home as we were confident we could manage your pain/discomfort as you were so much better, and we knew that the regular prodding, fuss and temperature and oxygen checks just pissed you off further.
At home, you ran around, pulled Mellisa to the garden, irritated your brother a bit by pulling down his Nerf blasters from his table, and opened the fridge to help yourself to peaches and nectarines, and half eat them. You might have even pulled the cat’s tail once or twice. You were just fine. And I exhaled. And you slept a whopping 11.30 hours that night, a much-needed slumber for your recovery, I imagine.
This experience taught me not to take your health for granted, it reminded me about your resilience, and it reaffirmed how incredible your dad is in times of “crisis”.
I’m sorry you had to suffer. I’m sorry I couldn’t make things better quickly – as parents we want to do the impossible, like ensure you never get sick in the first place, or take it all on ourselves if you do.
I’m privileged though to have been the one you sought for what little I could give.
PS: there are no pictures here because I doubt you will appreciate seeing sick pictures of yourself one day – I wouldn’t want to see me like that.
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