We follow the nurse to the lift and up to G level.
I thought we were being admitted, but we go up to the Paediatric assessment Unit.
Now, we have already been told the collarbone will heal on its own. O has a history of bronchiolitis…and we are sent up here.
Sick kid haven.
The room is crammed to bursting with coughing, wretching, snotting, sneezinh, vomiting kids.
“Can we not just come back tomorrow?” I ask.
“Oh no. The consultant definitely wants to see you.” says blonde bitch nurse in a tone that suggests that there are many matters to ne discussed before we will be allowed to leave.
We enter the germfest. I find a sest behind the door and O begins waggling his left arm about excitedly. Wait. Left arm? Yes, definitely his left arm. He’s ok.
We wonder if it is possible that the fracture is an old injury. Dating back to his very speedy birth even. when he fell onto my leg? Maybe the fracture has caught a nerve and made his arm go dead, all the prodding has moved it and now he’s back to normal?
OH goes home to get me a change of clothes and some other bits and I assume the skanky sick chairs will be my home for the next few days so I set up camp.
The nurse comes in and asks name/address etc again. Then she asks the name, address, date of birth, address and general health of anyone who has regular contact with O. She then fills in another form with his full name and asks me what happened. I tell her that there isn’t a specific incident and that’s why we’re here…because we just don’t know.
She takes Os temp, his sats and weighs him and asks if he wants painkillers. He is trying to remove the skin from my chin with all the razor sharp nails on his left hand and is laughing at his attempts so I conclude that he can’t be in pain. I run the old injury thing by her as I can not see a bruise anywhere on his skin. She says its possible and asks again for the run down of the last 24 hours. I go through the boat, noticing, bringing him in, any possible (but already ruled out) causes for the injury and she nods. She tells me the Dr will see us and we are left in the sweltering room of bronchiolitis and tonsilitis.
We got in there at about half seven.
People are getting visits and obs and sick buckets all over the place. There’s a baby on oxygen, working hard to breathe. The nurses are talking about the fire at Winchester. I just try to get O to go to sleep and chat to some of the other mums.
We are the only ones without the sniffles.
O eventually drops off but he’s full of snot. It is 11pm. I start knitting and chatting and the nurses come in and clean up as there are only two families left there now.
The other family gets moved to a ward and it is just me and O. The ward is silent. I talk to OH on the phone.
The Dr comes in.
“Come with me. We need a chat.” She says.
I wheel O over to a treatment room across the way.
“Sorry it has taken so long. I knew you would be staying regardless so I got everyone else sorted.” she says.
No escaping now then.
She opens up a thick book of papers.
“Right, I’m so sorry for this and I know you’re going to be angry at us, but we need to do some further tests to establish how your son got that injury.
“It is a process we need to go through to protect children and we do catch abusers. You can be cross with us and it’s easy for me to say because I’m not going through it but it is a process we need to do.”
She doesn’t sugar coat it. She doesn’t even break it gently. She’s asking me questions because they think I did this. They have to rule out the possibility that I have done this mad insane shit to my own son.
She asks questions and she’s cold. Then she pokes him and prods him to check for other injuries and snaps “Pick him up!!” when he cries because she woke up him up. I can see the title of the form is “Child protection team.”
There’s a drawing of a naked child on one page amd I can only assume she will have to mark it with anything suspicious. She doesn’t do this in front of me.
They really think I did this?
“Tomorrow you will speak to my boss. He’ll order tests to try and establish how this happened.” She says. “He will ask you all of this again and they will review the xrays.”
“How long will it take?” I ask.
“You’ll be here until at least Monday.”
“What sort of tests?”
“Blood tests, scans and probably a CT to check his brain for injury.”
What the fucking fuck? I get they have to stop child abusers but this is ridiculous. No one has even dated the fracture and she’s talking about head trauma? My mind is reeling.
I shake my head. She lets me go. I’m numb. I can not feel a thing.
“We’ve found you a bed on the cancer ward. Not because that’s what we think he has, but because he’s clean.” The nurse says.
“He’s full of snot now.” I say as he snorts at her.
“Ah yes. Ok, we will rethink.”
They’re fairly quick to find us a bed. At 2.45 am, I follow a nurse round the winding corners to a dark room. There’s an empty bed opposite and a drawn curtain next to us. I can barely see a thing and I don’t know what to feel. How do innocent people behave? I mean I want to come across as innocent because I am but I have no idea what that looks like and I am desperate not to give them any reason to point the finger at me.
A figure comes in and offers me tea. I say yes. I think she said her name is Julie, but I don’t remember. My mind is so fucking fuzzy.
I try to be quiet so I don’t disturb whoever is behind the curtain.
I feed O on and off for an hour or so and finally get him settled.
In my head I’ve already cancelled Christmas and I’m trying to work out who will take L when they take me to prison for child abuse. I cannot see how I can be proven innocent when the facts are that my son has an injury that could have only been caused by extreme force and I spend all my time with him.
I’m pretty screwed, despite being totally innocent. With my history they could say it was psychosis. How the fuck can I prove my innocence? I am fucked.
I text OH and mum and tell them I’m heartbroken. I can’t even cry. Two mouthfuls of tea make me want to vomit. I curl up and try to get some rest as I’m certain the consultants gruelling interview is going to be much worse than the ward Dr.
At 4am O wakes up for his morning feed. He shouts. I get up. I pick him up. I start to change him. He shouts more. I’m just whipping another nappy on when another nurse comes in and says “Is he ok?”
“He does this every morning. He doesn’t like this nappy change.” I explain. It is totally normal for him to shout his way through the 4am change.
“Ok, it’s just one of the other mums said there’s a baby crying so I thought I would check.”
“He’s fine.” I smile and latch him on. Instant silence.
Julie comes back minutes later and tells me to get some rest.
O has other plans and doesn’t go back to bed until about 6, by which time I realise that there isn’t another person behind the curtains and I feel even more isolated.