Wednesday was a hard day. It’s not normally a hard day, but for some reason, that one was.
I wake up, clean and change The Toddler and generally get her ready to go to the childminder. Sometimes we give her a small breakfast before she goes, but this day, we didn’t. Just dress her and chuck her in the car.
Then it’s just me and O. I had been looking forward to just cuddling and blogging and seeing my mum. He was sleeping so I phone mum and find out what she’s doing then arrange to go there later in the day as it’s her birthday. It’s a nice day so I decide to walk. When O wakes up, I feed him, change him, make sure he’s going to warm enough in the pram without her seat and set off. I go to Sainsburys first to buy some things (ie mums present – yes, I’m crap) and then I walk to mums house. It isn’t too far, but it takes a while. We’re only about 15 minutes into the walk and O starts making some whooping and choking sounds. he’s also foaming a little at the mouth. He does this when he’s hungry or windy, so I resolve to keep an eye on it and continue walking. This is probably my first fail of the day.
I get to mums and O is still foaming, so I feed him and put him down to sleep. He seems to be a bit unsettled, but again, he goes through phases, so this is not unusual. Mum and I chat and eat donuts and drink tea then I check my phone. 2 messages and one missed call. It’s 12.45. The messages and missed call are from around 12 and they are from the childminder. The Toddler has the squits. Oh joy. I phone the childminder back and she explains that The Toddler grabbed her tummy and rolled around on the floor before each episode like she was in agony and then filled a nappy…to the point where it was running out of her. She was also following through on each fart. I know. This is a lot of information you don’t need. Well, you do, but probably don’t want to know about consistency.
Anyway, I walked to mums, and I have no car with me. I also have a small child and mum doesn’t have a car seat, so the only way for me to get to The Toddler is to walk home and then drive to pick her up. Ok, not too much of a problem but it would be so much easier of OH could do it. NOPE. He’s not contactable by phone. So, I power walk back home. The 40 minute walk takes me 20 minutes. I change O into something cooler and then put him in the car seat. He screams. And chokes a bit. And sniffles. Odd, but not unheard of. Plus he hates the car seat and always gets himself in a state when we try to put him in there. I drive to the childminder, expecting my car to end up smelling of shit and her to be pale and wanting cuddles.
She runs up with a huge grin on her face. She looks normal. Not ill at all. A little bit weird, but after chatting to the childminder, I conclude that it’s likely to be something that she has eaten (2 kiwis for lunch?) and I’ll just keep an eye on her. I point out that O doesn’t seem to be too well, but think it’s just a cold or sniffles as The Toddler had had the sniffle a couple of days before. He’s a little phlegmy.
We get home and The Toddler poops. I expect an explosion and end up with a normal poo. So, it looks like that drama is mostly over. However, O is getting worse and won’t settle on his back. He’s tired and fussy and she’s half asleep, so I get them both to sleep and then ask OH to call the out of Hours GP when he gets in. I hate calling them as they always make me feel stupid. Turns out this one is no better. I can hear every word she is saying and as OH says that O has been ill since lunch time she replies with “Well, he should have gone to his GP today.” SERIOUSLY? When? When did I have time to sort out getting him a drs appointment? Ok, maybe I should have done. Maybe the first sniffle should have had me running down there and demanding to see someone. But it didn’t. Then SHE says “Well, see how it goes overnight and book in with a GP in the morning as it doesn’t sound that bad.” You what? You tell me I should have taken him earlier in the day then deny booking us in the evening? How does that work? I’m upset. And furious. First the bitch questions me judgement and then denies him an appointment? He had gotten steadily worse and was now struggling to breathe a bit. He wasn’t feeding too well and he was grizzly. I didn’t think he had anything massively serious but you never can tell with newborns and the symptoms were enough to ring alarm bells. I had checked his temperature twice during the day and he didn’t seem to be too bad.
OHs parents came over for a cup of tea and I explained to his mum that I wasn’t happy. She says that if we decide to take him to A & E she will come and look after The Toddler. So we carry on the evening and then go to bed about midnight. I change O’s nappy for the last time and it’s green. This in itself is not unusual. The bit that strikes me as wrong is that it looks like a blob of green in some pee. It’s not right. Definitely not right. I speak to one of my friends on Twitter then make the call to take him to the hospital.
The drama starts. OH wants me to phone his mum and wake her up. I just want things sorted so I can get my son seen. We start to argue, but he ends up phoning his mum and getting her round. Once she arrives, we head off. I have nothing with me. The only bag I have contains a few nappies, a few changes of clothes for O, a blanket, some wipes and my phone which practically dead. We’re still arguing about going out. He thinks I’ve made the wrong call. He thinks we’ll be told he has a cold and sent home. Fine, he has a cold, but please let me get someone to see him tonight. At least then when I’m running around the next day trying to control The Toddler and he’s coughing away and gagging I’ll know I’ve done everything I can for him. Surely you can understand this? No. He still thinks that hospital is the wrong decision and I should listen to some woman on the phone who hasn’t been with him all day and can’t hear him whooping and gagging. He knows as well as I do that the Out Of Hours service, though useful, is not infallible and ultimately you have to use your own judgement in these things.
We get to the hospital and get triaged almost straight away. O gets stripped off as he’s a little on the warm side. They don’t tell us how warm. OH has a face like thunder and I keep thinking he’ll finally see why we’re here. We get told to go back out to wait. I’m getting the silent treatment. We wait for about half an hour then get called through to the A & E treatment area. We’re put in isolation. I’m thinking this is more for his protection than the protection of the other children. The Sister checks his temperature and it’s dropped to 37.1. She puts him on a trace and asks us to get a wee sample. I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to get a wee sample from a baby but it’s not easy. We knew this already from the last time we ended up at the hospital with The Toddler. OH sits with a cup pressed up to O and I try feeding him. The Sister can see that he’s struggling when he’s laid down and tells us she would like the Dr to see him.
Once she’s gone, the arguing starts in earnest. I’m told he needs to go to work in the morning and he doesn’t know how he’s going to do it. He’s pissed off that I’ve dragged him up there and he blames me. He accuses me of loving the situation and being selfish because it’s all about how I can’t wait until the morning. He’s tired. No excuse. I#m tired too. He gets to sleep on the uncomfortable chairs and then the floor. I get to hold O while he dozes.
The Dr doesn’t take long to come in. He says he can tell the O has a virus or bug and getting a pee sample will show them what it is. He checks him over and O pees on cue (thank goodness). He sends the Sister back in and she does more observations. O’s temp has gone back up to 37.9 and she asks if we want some Calpol for him. I tell them that yes, I would like him to be able to sleep a little without suffering too much. She tells us that they have made the decision to admit O upstairs in the Paediatric assessment unit, however, they aren’t ready for him yet. So begins more waiting. And much more fighting. The bed in the room is adjusted and OH sleeps a while on it. We get a cup of tea.
Finally they take us up to G ward and put us in another isolation room. This time with a cot so we can put him down and we’re offered another cup of tea by the nurses doing the observations upstairs. Thanks to calpol, his temperature has dropped again and he seems to be a bit more settled and less phlegmy. They tell us where the kitchen and the toilets are and then leave to go and get the Dr.
She comes in and asks for the story again so far. I go through it and she starts checking O over. I can’t help but notice how good she is at calming him. She just places a hand on his head and he seems to drift off to a happy place. I can’t do this. I put a hand on his head and he’s like “Boobies, Mouth, NOW!”
Anyway, she spots a patch under his arm. We had seen it before and thought (like with The Toddler) that it was a sweat rash and nothing to be too concerned about. However, the Dr thinks it might be infected and the entire cause of his upset. So, yes, we do know about it, and no we weren’t too worried about it. Turns out now that it might be this neglectful thinking that has caused him to be ill. I have some serious mummy guilt going on, but I can’t surrender to it as people are still asking questions. It’s gone 5 am by this time and we’re all frazzled. The Dr explains that she wishes she could tell us it’s just the sniffles but with the patch under his arm, she can’t be sure and wants to start some aggressive antibiotics via IV. The plan is to take some blood and put a line in at the same time. I’m thinking anything to make him better, I caused this by not being vigilant enough when cleaning him. Anything to make him more comfortable.
I can’t watch them doing the IV. I have a thing where I react inappropriately in times of extreme emotional stress and I would likely end up rolling on the floor laughing or something . It’s not fair for me to go in. OH decides he’ll go in and I go and make a coffee.
By the time my coffee is made, he’s still in having his IV and I watch two more people go in and look at him. I overhear bits on conversation and half expect them to discuss the possibility of Social being involved. They don’t. They say from the initial cultures, its unlikely that the rash is causing the infection but it’s not worth the risk, so they continue hooking him up. Finally, after hearing him scream and screech, he comes back out with his right hand bandaged to the elbow and I’m encouraged to feed him. He’s very sleepy but I manage to rouse him by changing his nappy and give him a good feed. I’m sorry O. This is my fault. all my fault. But you’ll get better now. I hope he knows this.
The nurse comes back and starts his meds and has to dig the dirty nappy out of the bin as they want a stool sample too. He sleeps. They both sleep. Both the boys. We are told that he may be on the meds for around 48 hours. I need things. I need booby pads and sanitary towels. I need clothes. I can’t leave. O needs me for food, if for nothing else. OH doesn’t want to leave now . he thinks it’ll make him look unsupportive. I’m still hurting from the things he said earlier, but at least O is getting better now.
We put the makeshift bed down and arrange for Ant’s parents to help. His mum finds out the bits and his dad drops them to the hospital. I’m preparing to be there for the long haul.
The shift change happens and the new shift introduce themselves. They make me a cup of tea, and explain that they are continuing the meds. By this time I’m starting to think about missing The Toddler. How will she do with me gone for a couple of days? How would I cope at night in that little room? I don’t want to stay. I want O to go home. Why did I start this?
At 10 am, the new Dr comes in. He introduces himself and tells us O’s bloods are clear. he takes a look at the rash and concludes it’s just a common sweat rash and we should expose it as much as possible and that O has a cold. He checks his nose by putting tubes up it. I can’t watch this either, but this is a squeamish thing. I never though of myself as squeamish. This hurts too as my very unformed plans of becoming a midwife fade. How can I be a midwife if I’m squeamish? Especially about things like this? Strange the things we learn about ourselves when we;re having a drama.
The canular gets removed. Poor thing has had a dose of antibiotics he didn’t need and has been poked and prodded. I know he won’t remember it, but I will. I’ll remember the hell I put him through for a cold. Mummy fail.