Our emergency visit to the Emergency Department

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.

2015-12-02 16.22.26
The temp I was hoping to see but didn’t!

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 diagnosis

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.

The night

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.

penicillin instructions
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!

The Pramshed
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
My Petit Canard

37 comments On Our emergency visit to the Emergency Department

  • Poor you it’s so horrible when they are sick. We’ve been to A&E a couple of times with our eldest as it can escalate so quickly.

  • Oh wow, how sweet of your Dad to make the trip to be there for you!!! Definitely an amazing dad for sure.
    Honestly, I cannot even imagine how scary that must’ve been for you!! I definitely would have been freaking out as well, and seizures are always on my mind any time my son runs a fever.
    I’m so glad that your daughter is doing better though-not sure how they expected you to get a urine sample hahaha!! Thanks for sharing <3 #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…5 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Immune SystemMy Profile

    • Yeh my Dad was an absolute star! I’ve always watched for seizures but never seriously thought she’d have one. Seems back to her usual self today though and lasy day of antibiotics – phew! Thanks so much for reading and commenting x

  • Oh you poor thing! Seems sofa law that the worse things happen when you’re a parent down! Bless your dad for driving to help you. Glad she’s on the mend #KCACOLS

  • My daughter ended up being admitted to hospital for tonsillitis when she was two. We put the penicillin in yogurts, was the only way we could get her to take it. Glad she is getting back to her usual self for you x
    Ali Duke recently posted…Things That Have Made Me Happy This WeekMy Profile

    • Sounds like it’s a common thing to see them admitted. Guess it’s hard to spot when they can’t tell you their throat hurts. I tried yogurt but she just ‘knew’ it was in there. In the end I had to just force it into her and reward her with chocolate. It seemed to work when she realised the pattern! Thanks for your comment x

  • Oh bless her heart. It’s awful when these things happen. My eldest has engorged tonsils (apparently this is normal) but I live in fear of him getting tonsilitis, I am terrified his throat will close up 🙁 #marvellousmondays
    Claire recently posted…Sugar Ghosts and Sugar Pumpkins Halloween RecipeMy Profile

  • I’m so sorry you had to go through this – that feeling of fear is horrendous and these things always seem to happen when Daddy is away. I’m so glad things are looking more positive now and well done for writing it all down, as that’s very cathartic. Alison x #MarvMondays
    Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Be KindMy Profile

  • How scary! I hope things are a lot calmer this week. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays

  • This post brought a tear to my eye, I can’t imagine how you were feeling. I’m so glad you are all back together and on the mend. Sending lots of love x

    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…National Trust – We Love You!My Profile

    • Thank-you so much for your lovely comment! It was really scary but she’s finished her antibiotics now and seems back to her normal self apart from a little bit tired still. Another experience survived!

  • You poor things! I hope you have a better week this week!


  • aww bless you what a rough few days and without the hubby too. so pleased h is all ok and hopefully your week is better this week and you’ve all caught up on sleep a bit. the incident in the pram sounds completely terrifying and thank goodness you were close to the doctors. I know what you mean about being at the hospital and just feeling more relaxed there. we did when b was ill one xmas.
    it’s funny isn’t it that little ones seem to get ill just as one parent goes away. we call it the “mummy gets on a plane-itus” I travelled recently to the states for ten days and b developed a high temp and the hubby had a migraine. he had to get his siter over to sort b out :/ and last time I went to the states for work, b had chicken pox. you couldn’t make it up lol. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!
    Emma recently posted…The Gift of Time: What Mummy Really Wants for Christmas!My Profile

    • Wow, your hubby has had a run of bad luck too. Yeh, I don’t know how they know. But they do. It’s like with H’s medicine – I tried to hide it in things but she knew when it was in something. In the end she stopped trusting anything she didn’t see opened in front of her. So I had to go down the force-it-into-her route and then reward her with a tiny piece of choc. It seemed to work! Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • You poor thing, that’s definitely not what you want when you’re parenting alone. At least it was just tonsillitis, and easily treatable! Hope she feels better soon #KCACOLS

    • Thanks for reading and your kind comment. Yes the antibiotics kicked in and she seems back to her normal self now. Scary that something relatively ‘minor’ for an adult has such extreme reactions for a toddler.

  • It bought a tear to my eye reading this. What a nightmare and poor you, and poor H. It all sounds very stressful and exhausting. Well done for getting through it, your Dad sounds like a pillar of strength. I’m so glad to hear that the tonsillitis has gone, hope it stays that way. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…fortheloveofBLOG Week 22My Profile

    • Yes scary but guess it’s made my ‘Mum Resilience’ a bit stronger – another thing I’ve coped through. Thanks for your lovely comment and see you next week for more linky fun!

  • What a scary time for you and even worse when you are flying solo. So glad to hear that H is on the mend – getting antibiotics into a toddler isn’t an easy task and trying to give it on a empty stomach is quite tricky too! Glad that your dad was able to come over and be with you x #FamilyFun

    • Fortunately her appetite was low so she was never very full. I certainly never managed to leave her for 2 hours afterwards though. Bribing her with a tiny bit of chocolate worked in the end as a way to get it in her! Thanks for reading and your kind comment x

  • Wow that must have been scary. That is great that you got a diagnosis and able to treat something. It’s difficult seeing our kids ill but you are right we just have to try and get through it in the end. Thank you for linking up to #familyfun.
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…#FamilyFun Week 6My Profile

    • It was horrible but I feel I’ve learnt another new Mum skill for having got through it. I’m just relieved it wasn’t too serious in the end! Thanks for your comment x

  • Oh dear! I am so sorry you had to go through all that! I really hope that she is feeling better! Even though you felt panicked sounds like you handled the whole situation amazingly. Strong mama! #familyfun

  • Argh this post really got me. I’m stood here trying not to cry. Having spent my fair share of time in hospital withh my boy and being rushed in or an emergency retrial from the doctor I know that feeling of fear and panic you are talking about – it’s just horrendous and the worst thing as a parent. I am so so glad everything is ok and bless you dad for driving up to you, he sounds like a really gem. I hope things have settled now and you are getting back to normal. Thank you for sharing this at #familyfun xx

    • Goodness, I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to go through this regularly. You must have been tremendously strong to cope with it. It’s such a horrible feeling – nothing I’ve ever experienced. Your little people aren’t just important, they are part of you. The moment something threatens their safety, it’s as though life stops. It’s made me appreciate further how the parents of seriously ill children must feel. Thank-you so much for your lovely comment and sorry for almost reducing you to tears. Hopefully a nice cuddle with your little ones has cheered you up! x

  • oh what a relief to know everything is ok now. I’ve been terrified of febrile convulsions since the day I found out about them. Our little one is almost three and has had tonsillitis twice already. I’m terrified of the next bout because the temperature is really frightening. You did so so so good looking after your little one. I’m so glad your Dad came to you and stayed with you. Its such a hard and frightening ordeal to go through on your own. #KCACOLS

    • The paediatrician told me they tend to grow out of it as they get towards 3yrs + so hopefully the risk is quite low for your LO. I, like you, have always been scared of them happening since I learnt about them in our NCT class. I almost couldn’t believe I was actually having to deal with it. But as slow as it felt in the hospital, it really made me value the NHS. They provisionally checked her quickly to ensure nothing serious, eventually gave her a thorough check and then prescribed her the medicine she needed. All without cost. I hope you never have to go through it but if you do…deep breaths and go to A&E to be checked! Thanks for your comment x

  • How terrifying for you all! I hope H is feeling a little better & things are much calmer for you this week x #KCACOLS

  • I must admit I’ve been reading with a slight grin, the thought of all sounding all too familiar, and I guess you will too a year later 🙂
    Nice read 🙂

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sliding Sidebar

About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (6 & 3). I'm a Gardener, houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram for mainly plant spam. Hope you enjoy reading!

Browse the archives