This week did not go how I thought it would go, by any stretch of the imagination. Sam went away on Monday for a 3 night work conference leaving me a solo parent for 4 days. I had arranged my schedule to ensure H stuck to hers: working at home on Tuesday, late to the office on Wednesday and day-off on Thursday (with her at nursery). But suddenly at lunchtime on Tuesday everything got thrown completely off track. It’s only Wednesday as I write this and already the week has exhausted and scared me. I desperately want Sam to be home. Whilst I think we are through the worse, I daren’t really believe it; My paranoia has kicked in big time. (I apologise upfront for the length of this post but it needed to come out!)
The beginning of the week
The last few weeks have hit me hard – a combo of lots of things. We all have ‘those’ weeks I’m sure! I was looking forward to catching-up on work in the quiet at home, spending the late afternoon with H, having some quiet time to myself in the evening and a day-off to do whatever I wanted. But Monday night was disturbed; H wouldn’t sleep between 1:30am and 4am. She felt warm and after some calpol fell asleep. On Tuesday morning we were both tired. But H was happy enough and wanted to go to nursery. I dropped her off and came back home to work. Then just before 1pm, I got the call…she had a temperature, could I come and take her home.
A walk gone wrong
She hadn’t napped so I got there immediately. She seemed happy but hot so at home she had milk, raisins and went for a nap. So-far-so-good I thought. I planned to work for a couple of hours as she slept. Except she woke up after 20 mins and she looked exhausted. So I plonked her in the buggy and walked her. She almost fell asleep countless times…but didn’t. So after picking up a few supplies we headed home. Then 5 minutes from home it happened; She went very quiet and her legs went jerky. I ran to the front of the buggy and she was glazed over, barely acknowledging me. My heart-raced and the panic hit me. We were minutes from the doctors so I turned and ran there. And I mean ran. As we arrived she started to groan again but when I picked her up from the buggy she was burning up and covered in heat rash. The nurse took us to an empty room and a doctor came to us within 5 minutes.
Getting medical help
By this point H was responsive again and cooling down. The doctor checked her and said there was nothing immediately obvious but said we should go to the Emergency Department at Lister hospital in Stevenage to get her checked by a pediatrician. She assured me it was to be on the safe side but I just wanted to cry. Little H was born in Lister and hasn’t been back since she was born. Then the time I needed to take her was when her Daddy was an aeroplane ride away.
I hurried home and threw things into bags as H lay on the sofa nodding off. I didn’t know what would happen at the hospital so I took some snacks and her pjs. I was running on adrenaline but it was wearing off after the initial shock and I felt exhausted. I rang my Dad to see if he could come down and broke down on the phone. He’s a 2.5 hour drive away but I just needed my Dad. I think we’re all prone to it when we’re alone and under stress – we long for the security you only get from your parents. He listened, calmed me down and set-off before we even got to the hospital.
The Emergency Department
We were driving in rush hour traffic so it took half an hour to get to the hospital. But H slept which was a relief. She seemed perkier when I parked and got her out the car. We eventually located A&E and were admitted – it was about 5:45pm. The reception directed me to the Children’s Emergency Department and within about 5 minutes of arriving a nurse was checking her vitals and taking some background. They put us in a private room, brought her some calpol and asked me to try and get a urine sample. A urine sample…from a nappy wearing toddler. Hmmm.
Being in the hospital calmed me a lot. It was reassuring to know that if something else happened I was around trained professionals. But H was getting tired again and found the environment distressing. Plus I was loitering around her with a little cup trying to catch some wee! She had a complete breakdown at which point I abandoned the urine sample, put a nappy on her and gave her a cuddle. As she was enjoying ‘Frozen’ on my phone (gobbling up my data!), a Junior Doctor came in and did a history. He then did an initial check of her (cue more crying) and said nothing fundamental seemed wrong. A registrar would be with us ASAP he said and then he headed off. It was just after 7pm by this point so I lay H on me and she fell asleep.
The registrar arrived just before 8:30pm as H was still sleeping. We discussed the entire event again. She wanted to understand the ‘turn’ she’d had in the buggy a bit more. After all the stress and panic, combined with the fatigue and lack of food, I struggled to remembered. But from what I told her, she thought H had suffered a Febrile Convulsion – common in young children. She assured me they were common and nothing major to worry about but that she needed to work out the cause. She checked H over as she still slept (so was calm) and we only needed to wake her to have ears and throat checked. The throat, the last thing to be looked at, revealed the cause. Tonsillitis!
She was prescribed penicillin and a throat spray. We waited for almost an hour for the medication to be brought to us. But just before 10pm H took a dose of her medicine and then we headed home. We were both exhausted. I was so relieved to see my Dad stood in our doorway waiting for us as I pulled into the drive. H’s face lit-up to see him and she had cuddles and a quick run-around before it was off to bed.
I needed to wind down before I could sleep. H went down at 11pm so I had a cuppa and some cereal whilst watching some cheesy U.S. cop show with Dad. Having him there just sitting and watching TV made me feel less anxious about the night to come. I knew if something else happened he would be there. Sam, on the other hand, was trying to digest the news of what had happened. He was worried and tired and felt helpless. As I felt calmer, I tried to reassure him and eventually he went to bed.
I made it to bed by midnight with an alarm set for 3am to go in and check for H. I was certain I’d wake but I had been told to check and I didn’t want to risk it. I woke at 2:45am and went to see her. She was still a bit warm so I gave her another dose of calpol. She was unsettled until about 3:30am but then we both slept until about 7:30am.
The day after
I felt relief in having got through the night. I was tired and my knee was killing me (I’d somehow strained it the night before!) but I knew I could keep an eye on her easily during the day. My Dad took her for a walk so I could sort things out and get dressed. Then she went for a short nap when they got home. After a sleep she was playing happily. Aside from a loss of appetite, she was behaving her normal self. She was definitely tired though.
Seeing that we were okay, Dad set-off home mid-afternoon because he had a dentist appointment the next day. I put H down for a late nap and she slept for over 90mins whilst I sat on the sofa watching TV and getting some rest. I woke her shortly after 4:30pm to avoid disrupting her bedtime. She was much more teary and emotional after that. I had to remind myself that she had probably wanted to sleep rather than she was getting ill again. She drank milk and water though and watched some TV sat on my knee. Then after a bit of upset, she was in her cot by 6:40pm and asleep by 7:30pm.
Getting her to take a penicillin has been a nightmare. I’ve taken it myself in liquid form and it’s disgusting so I don’t blame her for crying and spitting it out. But she needed it so I was having to force it in. I even tried dipping the syringe in sugar but it didn’t help. By the end of the day she even fought having calpol. Tomorrow I’m going to try and mix it in yogurt; The instructions just aren’t toddler-friendly.
With a toddler – seriously?!
The end…of this post at least
So that’s where you find me. H is in bed on Wednesday night and I am sitting on the sofa doing nothing but typing and watching TV. Her temperature was almost normal again, although I will still check her tonight. Every now and then the poor thing coughs. I only hope it won’t wake her. I need to take her to the Doctor tomorrow or Friday to see if she’s improved. I’ll see how she is in the morning. But whatever happens, tomorrow Sam is home and having our family back together will make a massive difference.
As a parent you have to try and be strong for your child. But I have also never known fear like the fear I feel when my daughter is ill or in danger. I keep telling myself that it will be easier when she’s older…but I’m not sure the panic or sleeplessness will ever go away!
Thanks if you stuck with this to the end!
Friday update: We’ve just got back from the doc and no obvious signs of tonsillitis now. Whoop! She’s still a bit unsettled at night but her appetite is coming back. Just 3 days more of antibiotics to get through and then hopefully this will be behind us!