Tag Archives: fail

Health Visitor

Today a health visitor came to see me after concerns were raised about my mental health at a routine appointment.

I’m sure I feel fine.

I’m exhausted as last night was a bad night for Ru and talking about certain subjects always makes me upset but is my mood that low?

She pulled out the questionnaire I know so well and I did it while she took Ru out in the sun because he was crying uncontrollably (again, thanks boy.)

Twelve. I scored twelve. So yes, I’m in the not good place, apparently. Weird thing is, I don’t really feel any different. I’ve felt pretty consistently like this for years so I’m not sure that there is anything that can be done to “fix” me.

More terrifyingly though, I disclosed my pain about not feeling like a proper parent and the torture I put myself through every time I’m out with my older children. Then followed that with the wallop of guilt I get when I’m not looking after them but not doing much else (like now).

The only way to “fix” that is to go out more with them and take time to get to know them.

Is this more pressure I need to put on myself to try and be the parent I want to be?

*Ticks yes to having ALL OF THE ANXIETY*

Crappy Christmas

It’s not even Christmas day yet and things have gone down the shitter.

There are family things going on so the normal Xmas eve gathering is cancelled.

The Toddler actually wants to fight about everything. 

O is teething.

OH and I have already spent too long in each others’ company and are bitching at each other. He’s been home one day.

OH bought me an EEE pad and I don’t like it.  Not ungratefully. I’m just disappointed by it so far and will probably stick to one finger typing on my phone.  Sigh.

It’s definitely me.

At the hospital part 3

I manage to sleep until 8.30 when O woke up for a feed.

That’s when Jo comes in.

Jo the nurse.

The room was light by then.  She introduces herself. 

“Which ward am I on?” I ask.

“Didn’t they tell you?” She’s shocked.  I shake my head. They didn’t show me where anything is either.

Jo apologises.  I feel a bit better.  She shows me the loos, showers, kitchen and playroom.  I spy one of the mums from the assessment unit in the room next door to mine and wave.

Jo takes O and gives him cuddles.  She finds us a bouncy chair.  I cry.

She makes it feel ok.

She gets some bread and butter and jam and looks after O while I make toast and tea.  Then I force soms toast down and feed O his morning goop…

Then they move me to the room next door with the mum from the previous night.

Everything just feels better.

The consultant comes round.  I’m shitting it a bit as I don’t think my nerves can take another battering.  O is still using his arm.  He’s waving it around and picking up toys with it.

The consultant brings Bex, the Dr who diagnosed Os bronchiolitis.  She recognises us and that makes it better.

The consultant plays with O and O shows off, passing the toy from one hand to the other and preferentially using his left arm.

“I think the fracture is a red herring.” The consultant says. “The most likely cause being birth.”

I explain that his labour was quick and he dropped onto my leg and the consultant nods.

“I will get the consultant radiographers to check it and if the fracture is newer than 48 hours, we’ll have to run some more tests I’m afraid.” He says.  I nod, but I’m definitely not feeling accused.  This guy sounds like he’s on my side.  He wants to find out how it happened, not accuse me.  He leaves and I’m happier.

OH and L turn up and we munch and I take L down to the playroom while OH cuddles O to sleep.

OH then takes L to stay with mum for the afternoon and the Drs update me (no update). OH runs around getting shopping and sandwiches and mugs and pjs for the coming night and Bex comes in to tell me that the consultant radiographer isn’t happy with the image so we need another xray.

Five minutes later we are escorted to paediatric xray, I put on the lead jacket and pin O to the bed.  He’s better this time and holds still enough to get a good image.

We are escorted back up, we get menus for the following night and OH cuddles O to sleep while I have an hours nap.

The day has finally sped up again and things are moving and it’s all much more positive and I no longer feel quite so victimised although I don’t doubt that there are still questions.

OH is packing up to go and pick up L when Jo comes in.

“I’ve got an update.” She says looking nervous.

I feel my lunch threatening an exit.

“The Dr just called.  He’s spoken to the radiographer and he’s happy for me to tell you that there is no fracture and you can go home.” She blurts.

“What?”

“There’s no fracture.  You can go.” She repeats.

All that.  For nothing.

I speak to the registrar and get discharge papers then go to the security desk to get my discounted parking.  They tear up my ticket and tell me to buzz them at the barrier.

We are free.

I have been to emotional hell and back.  They apologised but is that enough? My faith in the system is completely destroyed as they criminalise the vulnerable.

On Monday I’m asking for Prozac.
As for O, he has a severe cold now and can barely breathe but he is otherwise fine.

At the hospital part 2

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?

May be.

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?

I’m devastated.

“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.

“Anything else?”

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?”

I nod.

“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.

At the hospital part 1

My head is fucked.

It was fucked earlier in the week by something unexpected that has hit me harder than I thought it would.

If you can’t take negative themes, don’t read any more.

So, I wake up on Friday morning, get jumped on by various small children (it’s only two but they have like 15 elbows and 47 knees between them) and go to have a shower.

I get about ten minutes into my shower (my showers are long.) and I can hear O having a meltdown downstairs.  Every fricken morning.  I reluctantly finish my shower and head downstairs. My day has begun.

OH puts O in his highchair for some breakfast and the Toddler belts about the house singing and then demanding the potty.  OH sorts her and I try to feed O his jam flavoured puree.  He’s not having any of it.  I pull him out of the chair and latch him on.  I let him feed until he’s no longer hysterical and then try to get him to eat some goop.  He takes a few mouthfuls while she decides to do a stinking poop on the potty and all hell breaks loose while we try to clean them both up to a presentable state ready to go to pre-school.

It takes longer than expected.

We leave the house at 8.59am after she has removed her wellies and her socks twice. I’m not in the best of moods but determined to get to a point where I can feel a bit better.

I drop her off and head back home, forgetting to avoid the roadworks that have sprung up all over where we live.  Still, I get home and get O out of the car.  He’s asleep so I leave him in the car seat while I have a nice cup of tea and five minutes to gather my thoughts.

O wakes up and has a feed then I put him in the boat and I sing him the dancing time song (designed to encourage L to get her ballet stuff on) and “The Oscars on the bus” and he is playing with her keyboard thing and we’re laughing and it’s all supercute.

Then I notice he’s not really using his left arm.  He’s reaching for everything with his right hand.  He’s going across his body with his right hand to get toys.  I check the left arm.  It looks like he’s leaning on it, but he’s actually not.  it feels a little limp and weak.   Hmm.  I decide to give him a nap and do some online shopping so we settle at the computer for an hour or so and he sleeps and eats while I spend way more than I should on things we probably don’t need.

He wakes up and gets agitated.  He’s not a great fan of lying down once he’s awake and would rather be sat up.  If he is laid down, he has to have certain toys within arms reach, one of these being his “octopus” (which actually only has 6 arms and was purchased at the Lovely Ladies Christmas Fayre.)  I decide to test his arm and put the octopus on his left side.  He looks at it.  His arm twitches but stays by his side until he begins to reach across his body with his right arm.

Definitely something wrong.

I figure the Drs surgery will just send us to the hospital for x-rays so decide to bypass the middleman and go straight to Accident and Emergency.  I arrange for L to be collected from pre-school, let OH know what’s going on, get O into the car seat carefully avoiding his left arm which is now cold, has no grip and is hanging limply by his side and head off.

I get to A & E and book in.  I answer the name, address and “what has he done?” questions for the first of a million times and we take a seat to be triaged.  It’s actually surprisingly speedy.

The triage nurse doesn’t even take him out of the pushchair.  I explain his symptoms and say that I don’t know what he’s done but he appears to have lost the use of the arm.  She nods.

“Most probably pulled elbow. They can sometimes get it when they are picked up by their arms. It hurts their elbows and they just stop using the arm.  It’s a simple procedure to sort it.  Unfortunately I can’t do it but the Drs can.”  She looks at me.

“They used to call it nurse maids elbow or something?”  I say.  I’ve read about it.  It doesn’t sound very pleasant but it’s common in young children.

“Yes, they call it pulled elbow now.  We see it a lot.”  She smiles reassuringly and invites me to go back out to wait.

O meanwhile is starting to get fed up of being in the pushchair.  A quick scan of the waiting room detects a few sore feet, a wonkey shoulder and some broken fingers but no grey babies and no vomit so I get him out.

The woman next to me has her two children with her.  Her eldest, a little girl, is intrigued by O.  Shes about the same age as Lily and very sweet.  The little boy in the pushchair has been bought in for a rash which is a suspected allergy to his jabs.

We chatter for a bit, comparing our experiences, then she gets called through.

O does a little shimmy on my lap and I smell it.  Lovely poo.  Explosive.  Up his back.  Great.

I take the pushchair into the disabled loo (there are two toilets in here but no cubicles.  It’s very odd.) and strip O down, wipe up the poo, put some clean clothes on him, normal changing stuff.  I’m careful to wipe all the surfaces down and clean our hands.  I’m becoming germophobic….or whatever it is. We go back out.

An hour later O has finished charming everyone in the room.  We have been asked if the birth mark in the shape of a V on his forehead is a bump and I have to explain it’s a birth mark (we get this a lot.  He was very low in my pelvis for a long time and he has a large imprint on his forehead.  It will fade, but until then, we have to explain it away.) and he is now milk drunk and snoring on my lap.

I wonder if we were called in while I was cleaning up the poo, so I ask at reception.  She tells me no but there is only one person before me, so it shouldn’t be too long.

I chat to all the people in the waiting room.  I’m not shy.  Having a baby is a great icebreaker.

Then O gets called in.  We go straight to the treatment room and I’m picturing having to hold him while they wiggle his arm around and the thought puts my teeth on edge a little.  But I have to learn this stuff.  I have to be ok with it.  So I gulp and am brave and go to wait.

A Dr comes over. At least I assume he’s a Dr, although his nervous stature and dress suggest he’s a student.  That’s ok.  We’re not a serious case, we just need to get his arm going again.

“So, what’s wrong with Oscar?” He asks.

“he’s not using his left arm.”  I say.  “It’s limp, he has no grip, and he normally has a vicelike grip.”

The student picks up O’s arm and bends his elbow, moves his shoulder a bit and can’t find anything obviously wrong with it.  I’m starting to suspect a problem with his shoulder because his elbow is moving freely but he seems to be holding his arm slightly away from his body at about a 45 degree angle.   Still, I’m not a Dr, I’m a massage student and we are not clinical.  I’ve already had a bit of a feel and can’t find anything muscular but the shoulder joint just feels a bit funny.  It’s probably just where I’m paranoid about it though.  The shoulders of small children are very supple though and funny feeling joints are quite normal (I learnt this from picking L up at funny angles and her shoulders would suddenly look very awkward.  They would always go back to normal and never caused her any issues though.)  O didn’t yelp at all the whole time he was being moved about (very gently).  The student just looked at me a bit blankly.

“Does he normally use it?”

“Yes.” I reply.  I know it’s normal for them to have a preference sometimes.  I know the like to stretch and wriggle and try new things with this great body they have been given.  But he’s just NOT USING IT AT ALL.

I begin to feel like the student doesn’t really believe me about him not using it, so he wonders off and gets another Dr.  This time, a quiffed posh talking guy comes over.

He runs through the name/address/what’s he done crap again and then he gets to the Dr bit.

“I know that Dr!”  He says.  “She’s my friends mother.”

Weird.  That Dr is also the mother of my ex boyfriends friend.

“Really?  How weird.”  He smiles gently.  He’s a good-looking boy.  I mean he’s like 25 or something.  I feel really old.

“Her youngest son is like…”

“Yeah, he’s 16 now.”  Dr Quiff answers (he calls himself Louie.  Not Dr anything.  Louie.)

“wow”  Yep, I’m old.  The youngest son in question was like 10 the last time I saw him.  Maybe younger.  And the siblings that Louie knows are at least 5 years younger than me.  I’m feeling wrinkly.

He checks O’s limp arm and concludes it’s being very weak.  He also checks for reflexes and says he can’t find anything, which is worrying and that we have to have a xray to find out whether it is skeletal or neurological.  He orders an elbow x-ray and the girl in solitary confinement orders a sick bucket and off we go to the sound of dry heaving.

We get to radiology and the radiologist takes the little form.

“You’re not pregnant are you?” he asks before I’m even in the room.

“I hope not.”  Would be a bloody miracle as you have to have sex first!

“Good. You can hold him then.”

I park the pram, pull out semi-naked O and get a lovely lead waistcoat draped over my shoulders.  It possibly weighs slightly more than I do.  We manoeuvre O into position and the radiologist takes some elbow shots.  I am singing the “We’re getting pictures of your insides” song.

The radiologist goes into the back room to check the results and then comes back out.

“All done.”  He smiles and helps me to take off the ten tonne coat and head back to the treatment room.

Once we get back, there’s more waiting, more of me feeling poorly and more sick.  Lots of horribly sick kids.  I don’t like sick.

They’ve also had to rush in a resus baby as there’s no room in resus so all the Drs buzz around her, and she’s screaming as they poke her and prod her as they try to stabilise her.  It’s heartbreaking.

Another Dr comes over.  He’s dressed in darker green scrubs so I’m guessing he’s senior to Louie and he takes us into a cubicle.

“The elbow x-ray didn’t show anything.”  He says, as O starts to move his left arm again slightly.

“I suspect it’s his shoulder.” I say, not knowing that later on, this is going to be one of the things I am going to kick myself for.

The Dr pokes and prods and presses his collarbone.  O yelps and cries and tries to wriggle free.  Another x-ray is ordered.

Same radiographer.  Same heavy lead jacket.

This time, instead of holding O sat up, he’s laid down and I have to try to get him to look away from the shoulder while pinning his arm in place.  He starts pelvic thrusting and the first shot is a crapper.  They take another one.

“Any good?”  I ask.

“It’s not great because he moved, but it shows what we need to see.” The radio x-ray guy says.  Ok, so it is his shoulder.  We’re getting somewhere.  I’m still suspecting a dislocation and thinking about how they’re going to get me to hold him while they ram it back in.  Teeth on edge.

Back again to the treatment room and OH gets in.  I dying of thirst and can’t even think about eating my stomach is in knots.  We’re going to be out soon though.  They just need to relocate it, set it and then we’ll have to figure out how to get him in the car.  Poor boy.

I decide I cannot take the dry-mouth any longer and hand O over to OH.  I go out to reception to try to get a drink.  £1.50 for a bottle of water.  I have 70p. Fuck.  Nevermind. I could drink the squash in the treatment room but even the thought of it makes me queasy.  You never know what kids have done to it.

Back to the treatment room again and I’m talking to OH when Dr Dark green scrubs comes up and says to OH “You must be dad.”

“Oh, sorry.”  I apologise to him.  “I didn’t mean to talk over you.”

“Come and take a seat.”  He says, pulling us into a cubicle and drawing the curtain round as if the thin piece of grubby cloth offers complete privacy.

“We have found the problem.”  He says seriously.  There is something in his eyes I don’t like.  He’s a bit snappier.  Something has changed.

We nod nervously.

“It is a broken collarbone.”  He says.

I am shocked.  Actual WTF?

“Now, an injury of this type in a baby his age is very rare.  It can only be caused by direct force or a drop.”

What?

“Would his sister being over affectionate have caused it?”  I ask.  I have to point out I would never blame her.  I’m not blaming her.  My brain is working a mile a minute going over the past 24 hours and the only available time slot for this to have happened is when he was playing in his boat and she was running around when I was showering and OH was getting breakfast.  She could have launched herself at him in a cuddle and caught him accidentally.

“No, the force would have had to be much greater than that.”

“Oh…so…”

“Because it is so rare, I have spoken to the pediatric consultant and he would like to run some further tests to check for things like brittle bone, so we will have to admit you.”  He pauses to let this sink in. “Now, some of the questions they are going to ask may seem like they are accusing you but you have to understand that because of the type of injury he has they have to ask these.  They are not accusing you, they are just trying to establish how this happened.”  He pauses again and I’m not sure I can believe what I’m hearing.  His tone is cold.  His eyes are harsh.  He’s not accusing us…yeah right.  I begin to die a little.

“You should prepare yourself for up to a week staying here as they need to establish a cause.”

A week.  I will have to stay in hospital with O for a week.  A week without L? That hurts.  I can’t not see her for a week.  This is fucked up.  I nod dumbly.  He leaves us to digest what he’s said and opens the curtains.

I sob into my hands.

“She was right, I’m a terrible mother.”  I cry.  I can’t breathe.  In that second I just want to die.  Or get superstabby.

OH is more calm and rational.  He calms me down and we go over the last few days thinking of everything we can suggest that may have caused the injury.  Everything that takes their eyes away from us as child abusers.  No one has used that term, but I can feel that’s how they are starting to see us.  Child comes in with mother.  Mother suspects injury.  Break is found in a very hard to reach place… yeah. This looks awful.  No wonder there was a cold air when he took us to one side.  No wonder.

We update the people we can with the news we are going to be in overnight and I comfort myself with the thought that the main reason for the tests is to find an underlying problem, and that it’s better if they find it now.  OK, so he mentioned that it might feel accusatory but it’s not.  He may have other fractures we don’t know about.  We may have to adapt our lifestyle.  Yeah, that’s definitely what the Dr was saying.  This is for our own benefit.

We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And finally, the skinny nurse with short blonde hair says “would you like to come with me?”

 

Failday friday

After the disaster that was bedtime Thursday, I’ve had a super shit day.

Well, actually, apart from feeling like a crappy parent, the day hasn’t been awful except…

I counted up my mat leave. I only have two weeks left then I’m officially on holiday.

Yes, shit.

So I had to speak to my boss. He wants me to go in for a meeting. Now I have to go through the motions in order to hopefully get them to agree another 13 weeks mat leave at smp.  I’m disheartened, demoralised and tired.

I just want to look after my kids, write my blog, dabble with my novel, knit, massage and look after mamas.

We can’t always get what we want. 

Happy freakin’ birthday.

Today I turned 30.

And failed.

I was fine this morning, been fine all day, then at about 3 I felt like my head needed something but didn’t know what, and everything became surreal.

I was pretty sure it was some kind of panic reaction to the classroom and I figured that I would get over it.  So, I packed my bags, mum came over, I went to the loo…all the normal things.  My head still felt like someone had stuffed my nose with cotton wool but I tried to carry on regardless.

Took a wrong turn on the way to college, and realised that maybe the fluffiness should be listened to.  O had a bad night last night and I thought it was a reaction to this mixed with the panic about panics in the classroom. 

Got to college, got changed, tummy grumbled, sat on loo…yep.

Not pleasant.

So I went to explain to my tutor who sent me home.

But now I feel awful, and not just because my tum is gurgling unhappily and my face actually aches but because I’ve seen this before.  This is so important and I’m cross I didn’t stay.  I can’t drop out. I have to do this.  At the moment I’m so busy feeling like I’ve let everyone down tonight that I just can’t see the bigger picture. 

I think I really need to sleep.