Kids Come First

April was a new month; my positivity was oozing. I was so excited. Then reality hits and these things that consume you don’t seem so important anymore when your child gets sick. Easter was approaching and the kids were bursting with excitement. The thoughts of all those Easter eggs. On the Thursday before the Easter holidays I collected Nathan from my Mam’s as normal. He was complaining of a headache and was very sheepish when I picked him up. In the ten minutes, it took me to drive home he couldn’t open his eyes as the light was hurting him. I told him to go straight upstairs when we got home and go to bed.

Nathan is not a child to give in easily, there is always a row in the evenings when it is time for him to come in off the road and get ready for bed so for him to get out of the car that evening, go straight upstairs, close his shutters and get into bed was so unusual. He got into bed fully clothed with his shoes on and by the time I had unloaded the car and got into the house his temperature had soared and he was shaking in the bed. I helped take his shoes off and gave him some calpol to try get his temperature down. All the while he was crying cause the door was slightly ajar so I could see what I was doing. He fell asleep soon afterwards and I checked on him occasionally.

Sean came home at 6ish and I filled him in, I had an appointment in Portlaoise so I rushed off, keeping in contact with him over the phone to get updates on Nathan. My appointment lasted an hour or so and when I got back to the car I saw a missed called from Sean. Nathan had woken up and got sick and he was still very hot. I knew in my gut when I saw the call that Nathan had been sick, I could just feel it. I was home soon after that and checked on him. As Sean was filling me in we could hear someone up and Nathan had stumbled into the bathroom and was crying because of the light, trying to go to the toilet. He was very disorientated and wobbly on his feet. I helped him get back into bed and gave him some Neurofen to help with his temperature.

After I settled him I called the VHI 24-hour nurse-line. I went through all his symptoms and she stopped me and said, “Mammy you need to bring him straight to A&E”. I knew I would have to, but sometimes you need a professional’s opinion to let you know you’re not overreacting. Poor Nathan, I had to get him out of bed and into the car, trying to keep his eyes covered at all times. The drive to Portlaoise in the dark must have helped him or the medicine must have kicked in because when we got to Portlaoise he had cooled down and cheered up a bit. It’s always the way when you bring your kids to the doctors they make a liar out of you. I remember as a child myself being very sick and lying in Mammy’s bed. It was late at night and before the Midoc and out of hours Doctor’s services that are available these days. Mam called our doctor at the time as she must have been worried about me and he came out to the house. When he was gone, I can remember her giving out, messing, that all I did was smile when the doctor was there and made her feel like a liar. Ooops!

Anyway, back to Nathan, we had to check in downstairs and I swear the receptionist thought I was a hypochondriac. She let us in and we made our way upstairs. It was 10ish and there were two babies ahead of us. Nathan was wrecked so he fell asleep on the couch, thank god, he did as we were waiting hours before we even got seen. I couldn’t understand the wait with only two ahead. While we were waiting a couple with a seven-week-old baby came in. Baby was crying and Mam was too, on and off. Baby had been crying all day and they were worried about him. They had forgotten to bring any bottles with them, probably not knowing how long you can be held up as it was their first. A nurse went to get them a bottle to feed him to see if that would help with the crying. As she was gone to get it, Mam was getting very frustrated and started to cry again. I really felt for her, as I know how it feels not knowing what to do to help your baby and then the guilt of feeling that you are doing something wrong.

The nurse came with the bottle and baby started to drink it. However, the teeth were too big and he was gulping. I was sitting there and I could hear him filling with wind as he gulped and his poor tummy was rumbling. I was toying with the idea of saying something, will I, won’t I. Well I did. He was crying as he drank and it was obviously so uncomfortable for him. I had to interrupt and I just explained that he was filling with air and that he was going to be in a lot of pain, the teeth were too big. She agreed and decided to fly home to get him his own bottle. I think she needed the break.

While she was gone, I offered to take the baby from her husband, I really just wanted a cuddle for myself 😊 He was so cute and tiny. Poor pet had colic and was full of air. As I held him in my arms and rubbed his back he got up loads of wind. He eventually settled and drifted off to sleep. As he was quite I was talking to the dad and subtly tried to tell him to keep an eye on his wife as she seemed to be struggling. I knew her pain, I suffered through it, and getting on top of it early and getting support and help from your loved ones is so important. He seemed like a really nice and genuine guy and was all about his wife, which was lovely to see. But something he said shocked me. I mentioned Post Natal Depression and that I had suffered with it after my boys and he said that people are talking about it too much, its everywhere. He said that people are too quick to jump to it and that in his case his wife just needed her Mam and she would be ok. He didn’t have an attitude, he was just matter of fact and that’s what he thought. It threw me really, as the whole problem is women don’t talk about it as much as they should and they suffer in silence until the problem consumes them. It needs to be more acceptable to talk about and to ask for help.

Besides that, he was a lovely guy and was asking me all about Nathan and was very kind and polite. When his wife came back, the Doctor happened to call me at the same time. Nathan was still asleep so I told them to go ahead first, they were worried and distraught and Nathan’s symptoms had subsided to an extent. They happily took the offer and we were called soon afterwards.

I went through all of Nathan’s symptoms with the doctor and he felt it was important to get a sample of Nathan’s blood to test. Poor Nathan doesn’t do pain, bit like his Daddy. I had to restrain him while they inserted the cannula. He is so dramatic at the best of times and was sweating and screaming at the thoughts of the inserting the needle. He also needs to know exactly what is happening at all time and needs to watch so that didn’t help matters. I remember about a year ago he got a splinter in his finger. It was hurting him and he wanted it out. That day will be engrained into my memory forever. I sat him on the kitchen counter and although he wanted it out, he didn’t want me to look at it, let alone touch it. That was proving to be difficult because without super powers I wasn’t going to be able to get it out. He screamed and shouting and sweated for a solid hour. He jumped down off the counter so many times and pulled his hand out of mine every time I was close to getting it out. Two people called to the door that evening to what I am sure they thought was a torture house. I was shouting at him to stay still, he was shouting at me to take it out, don’t touch, stop, ouch it hurts and then Sean was there trying to calm us both down. It was like a comedy show on TV.

So, you can only imagine what he was like when they were trying to put the cannula in. They got it in eventually. He is allergic to the numbing cream so they used a spray, but even that wasn’t welcomed. They took a sample of his blood and told us to wait in the waiting room until the results came in. At this stage I was getting tired and so was he. I thought they were going to send us home as he wasn’t symptomatic anymore. The couple with the baby came out while we were waiting and they were given the all clear with baby. He had colic and that’s why he was screaming all day. I suggested they get him tested for intolerance to dairy and also look for some alternative remedies that might help him. As they left the doctor approached me and took me by surprise. He told me Nathan’s white blood cell count was alarmingly high and they were admitting him. They were worried about Meningitis and wanted to get him on very strong antibiotics asap.

I called Sean to tell him and asked that he get some clothes ready for us. Then I called Daddy to see if he would bring them over. I felt terrible as it was 3am before we got admitted so he had to get out of bed. Sean fell back to sleep, the big dope 😊 I had to ring him again to wake him up. Once Dad had gone I was able to lie down on the extra comfortable chair bed and close my eyes for a while. On the rounds the next morning the doctors explained that they were worried about meningitis and that they wanted to send bloods to Temple Street and run their own bloods cultures. They also wanted to do a lumbar puncture – I said no, not unless it was completely necessary and wanted to wait for the blood results first. Nathan was spiking a temperature for a few hours but it was soon controlled with medication and the nurses were in every few hours to administer antibiotics into his cannula.

Its gas, kids are so funny. Nathan was upset as he was missing his last day of school – seriously! It was more like missing out on the party in school. He had loads of visitors that day and was delighted with all the match attacks he got, spoilt rotten. The boredom was starting to set in and he was in isolation so couldn’t leave his room. Either could I as he didn’t want to let me out of his sight. When Dad came over late I ran out when he was going to get something to eat and left Nathan with Sean. When I got back he was asleep and I followed soon afterwards. The next morning when he woke up he was as bright as a button and that was heightened when Nanny arrived with the white and grey united kit. He was made up. Had to get dressed straight away. He was running around the room and dancing. After Nanny left for work we got some breakfast and he wolfed it down. All we needed now was the doctors to come around to discharge us, we had cabin fever.

The night before we got the all clear for meningitis. I had to chase them for the results as no one told us. With those results and the fact that Nathan hadn’t spiked a temperature since the day before and he was in flying form, I wanted to go home and keep an eye on him myself. He didn’t need round the clock medical attention anymore. The doctor came in and he was lovely. He got Nathan to do some jumps and tests and Nathan was loving the attention. He had young kids himself and was chatting football with Nathan as he was all kitted out. I asked for him to be discharged and eventually got around him. They wanted us to stay for the week, but I had Jacob to think of, my job and also Nathan’s sanity. He wasn’t feeling sick anymore, if he was I would be the first to stay. They let us home on the condition that we came back daily for IV antibiotics and therefore the cannula had to stay in. It was a compromise we could accept.

Nathan was delighted to get out and he strolled out on top of the world. He insisted on going straight to the barbers to get his hair cut. He’s gas. Dad met us there with Jacob and he was thrilled to see us both. It was a beautiful day and Nathan was glad to get home to his own house and see his friends outside. He sat on the bench first talking to them and he even snuck in some football.

The next few days we went back to the hospital each day for IV antibiotics. After a few days though his fingers were very cold and his arm too. He was uncomfortable and had pins and needles. I called the hospital and they said they would probably have to redo the cannula in the order hand when he came in the next day. That was not the case. They removed it completely and he was reassessed. The doctor had a team of student doctors with him and nurses and on review of Nathan’s file wanted to re-admit him. I refused, he was only covering himself I think and we negotiated to get oral antibiotics instead. We were free, Nathan was thrilled. He had to get repeat bloods the following week but besides that he could start enjoying his Easter holidays.

We never found out exactly what was wrong with him but was glad it didn’t manifest into something serious. With all this going on you can only imagine I completely forgot about myself. I didn’t get a chance to arrange follicle tracking and I sure wasn’t thinking about ovulation. Luckily I was only at the beginning of my cycle and didn’t miss any of the important days…………………………….

To be continued

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