Friday 21 September 2012

So Much For Recovery Week

Last week, we had three different sets of visitors from abroad. It was SO good to see all of these people. I got to spend an amazing weekend with a dear friend, meet two lovely new friends, and talk late into the night with one of my fantastic cousins and her super-nice boyfriend. It was great. It was also pretty full-on - I didn't get nearly enough sleep and had this week down as 'recovery week'. I'm due for some annual leave, so it was all lining up - days off work, no big commitments, some easy food in the slow cooker, lots of rice milk, some time to work on my book. AHHHHHH.

Yeah, right.

So on Monday night, things start to go south when I have to take Blue to the out-of-hours GP. He'd been unwell all day - coughing and so on - but at bedtime he started breathing rapidly and his pulse went right up. I took him up to the GP at the hospital where they listened to his chest and said 'oh, this doesn't sound good' and nebulised him. Then, they referred him to paediatric A&E. At paediatric A&E they sent him straight up to the children's ward, where the nurse measured his vital signs and gave him oxygen.  At this point, about 80% of my brain was really worried for my darling boy, but the other 20% was feeling smug about how right I was to get him checked out. And Jay didn't think we needed to bother!  I thought, while he sat there, uncharacteristically subdued, looking like a sad and tiny spaceman in his little-boy-sized oxygen mask.

 This is getting boring so I'll summarise. An hour later, we got to see a doctor. Two hours after that - 3.30 am - they found a bed for Blue and he was admitted to the ward. (They had the space for a bed earlier than that, they just couldn't find an actual bed, which seemed kind of like a fundamental thing to have lost. Note to self - do not get surgery at this hospital). An hour after that, they woke him up for more medication, and an hour after that and an hour after that and an hour after that until Tuesday morning.

 The whole experience was weird - I had no idea we were going to be staying at the hospital when I left the house with just my purse and my keys. Nobody really told us what to do, either - most of the parents there seemed to be old hands, but nobody was talking and I didn't know the drill. They didn't even explain that we were going to be staying until hours had passed - I know it is all routine for the staff, but it was pretty scary and disorienting for me. I know their job is to look after the children, but I think that taking better care of parents in this situation would probably help the kids in the long run. I know that nobody who makes those kind of decisions is reading this blog - I'm just sayin'. Would it really be so hard to print out a leaflet, people?  Anyway. I was also wishing that I had brought a toothbrush and some pyjamas, or at least was wearing some more comfortable underwear. I was telling myself be grateful for free healthcare, Claudia, be grateful for free healthcare. Millions of mothers around the world would love to be able to complain that their free, high-quality hospital service didn't quite communicate effectively with them. Millions of mothers around the world would love to find themselves unexpectedly spending a night in hospital because their child was getting good medical treatment. And all that is true, of course, but I couldn't help also thinking but those millions of mothers are not having their flesh crushed by this stupid bra. 

So Tuesday morning came and I had had about two and a half hours of sleep. So had Blue, but the asthma medication they were giving him (frequent, high) doses of has the same sort of effect on the human body as coffee. So at that point I have a tiny, sleep deprived three year old who is off his face on the equivalent of about seventy espressos. Also, I'm discovering that this virus must have about a 24 hour incubation period because my own throat and head and chest are starting to say hey, forget that small kid you're looking after, what about US? 

It was a pretty awesome day. It was made yet-awesome-er by the discovery that some nurses are mean. When administering drugs to a tired, hungry, jittery preschooler, it doesn't seem kind (to me) to shout "I do not have time for this silliness! I have lots of other things to do!"  That was fun.  Also fun - when Jay turned up with a bag of stuff for me, including new underwear that was even more unsuitable than what I was already wearing (because let's face it, men don't pick underwear based on comfort, do they?) and when the doctor said that we couldn't go home and he had to stay another night. 

Cue weeping. I was feeling so sick by this point, and so disappointed that we couldn't go home that I pretty much burst into tears in front of a nurse (who didn't care, obviously, because her job is to look after the children).  Again, I tried to talk myself into feeling grateful for this first-world-problem of too much medical care, but in the end I told myself to shut up and just let myself feel sick and miserable. Jay came up to swap with me, warning me that Pink was getting sicker and sicker at home.

At this point, it's Tuesday night. I'm so tired that I skip the shower when I get home, even though I'm disgusting. I crawl into bed and sigh with relief. The cat jumps up - he usually sleeps on my pillow - and I tell him how glad I am to see him. Then, for the first time ever, he decides to walk across my face with his claws out, just to say welcome home, I guess. Face bleeding, I fall asleep in about a minute and a half.

Wednesday morning, Pink wakes me up early, crying. I haul her into our bed and give her some baby paracetamol. She throws it straight up. I give her some milk and she throws that up too. My limbs have turned to lead. I put a towel over the vomit patch - mostly- and eventually we both fall back asleep.

Later that day, Blue is discharged from hospital. He comes home, still high as a kite, and immediately starts fighting with his sister. I look after them and try to stop them killing each other while Jay goes back to the hospital to get the prescription for more medicine for Blue. Except... he can't, because... someone has driven past our parked car in a truck and totalled it.

Yes really. On this day, of all days, someone has totalled our car. While it was parked. Fortunately our car was only worth about five hundred pounds, but still. 

There's no moral to this story, none at all. It's just a horror show. (So why can't I stop thinking Hmmmm. I wonder if we could handle a week like this if we had three?) We are still up to our ears in it all, and Jay has just tonight started saying 'hey, my throat is really sore'. Quelle nightmare. Please tell me something to cheer me up - just found out there's a way to melt 7lb of belly fat a week with one weird old diet tip? Found something hilarious? Got a cute video of a cat on youtube you're dying to share? Now's the time.

Seriously. Please.

Because next week, next week: On Tuesday, I'm finally going to see the geneticist. And then on Wednesday,  in a random medical scheduling collision of horror, I have a root canal. I think it might be a while before things look up around here.

Give me strength.

(Or at least - failing that - give me videos of kittens).


  1. Claudia! Oh, what an insane week you have had! I hate that for you!! Crazy, just crazy! I do hope things calm down significantly and quickly for you. Sending you strength, my friend. I'll be thinking of you and your family. Someone make that woman a pot of tea and babysit her children for an afternoon for God's sake!

  2. Oooh, that seriously sucks. Woe is you. But really, woah! Totally feel for you girl.

    So here's your funny. Yesterday I actually uttered the command. Get off the table. No you CAN'T hang on the chandelier.

    are you kidding me? Yeah. That happened.

  3. OK, so here you've been encouraging me about my horrid last couple of weeks when I should have been encouraging YOU! Unbelievable week...but I'm glad Blue's out of the woods. The totalled car almost seemed like an act in a comedy of errors!

    What is a geneticist? Did I miss something here?

    So hang in there. We're both having sucky weeks but yours sounds even worse. I bow to your week's suckiness.

    Take care, friend. Sending you virtual hugs,


  4. Ugh! I am so sorry! Seriously, it would be a comedy of errors except there was nothing funny about that chain of events. This is the closest thing I could come up with that might entertain: (lame attempt, I am sorry)

  5. That's a baaaad week. Check this out, it always makes me feel better
    Hope things start to look up:)

  6. I don't know if this is accessible in the UK, but here is the clip that is my child's current obsession (my child who has spent far, far too much time in a children's hospital while I was stuck in stale clothes as you were):

    We're very into musical theater at 2, apparently. This was also a hit:

    Right up there with videos of BEARS, big bears, PLAYING! And so on. Have a better month to come.

  7. That is so many kinds of awful. You are in need of kitten cam - AND emergency cute stuff -!/EmergencyPuppy/media/slideshow?

  8. Wait... my reply sounds weird when I reread it. Feel better! That's a crappy week and I hope things get better soon!

  9. Ok, I really feel for you, but I laughed so hard about the overtired 3 year old and 70 espressos. Because that is the effect asthma meds have on me, which is why I hate using them.

    And now that I'm done laughing, I prescribe some

  10. I really feel for you. The only thing worse than a sick little one is a sick little one on your vacation. This is the funniest thing I have come across in a long time. The reviews made me cry laughing.

  11. Gangnam style, baby:

  12. ha ha, "theres no moral to the story, it's just a horror show" ha ha ha. Great line.
    Sucky week and I'm sorry to hear it though.

  13. Ugh, what a terrible, awful week. I'm so sorry! I wish you could be me reading your writing, because your wit alone would be enough to cheer you up. Be well, and here's to the week after next. :)

  14. Oh luv, that is brutal. It probably does not help to know that over here Blue would probably be waiting several hours for a trolley, as happened to my niece (2 y/o, scary high fever). But this does confirm for me that what I should be doing if I want to make some real money is start a 24 wine and chocolate delivery service. If I included underwear too, I'd really rake it in.

    I know all too well that horror induced by asthma meds.

    Good luck next week! I'll be thinking of you.

    PS - With all this illness about, just making sure you saw the US FDA warning re codeine for Ethiopian children:

  15. I'm not going to show you funny videos because I can't top the ones you already got. But I WILL tell you how smart you were for taking Blue in to the see the Dr right away. That was BRILLIANT. You were scary smart to take him in and you should be patting yourself on the back for that. Hold your head up and let the rest of it roll off your back, it doesn't matter, the vomit, the cat scratch, the wrecked car and all. The rest of it can all be repaired. But the biggest, most important, crucial step--step #1---was YOU TOOK HIM IN when he needed to be seen. I can't even stand to think of what would have happened if you hadn't.

    The rest of it just makes a good blog post.

  16. Don't know if you'll find this funny, but Michael has been watching snippets of Doomsday Preppers online from the National Geographic Channel when he's down or stressed. Something about "well, at least I haven't stockpiled 14 school buses in a hidden bunker underground for the coming Armageddon" makes him feel a little bit better.

  17. Oh C! So sorry for bad week. I hope you´ll all get better soooon!
    Please, smile :)

  18. I should be able to say something cheery. And actually I'm in quite a good mood. Let me think...

    Oh yes, baby is babbling, and sitting, and rolling all over the shop. Husband has finished his major study project, we have friends coming to visit tomorrow (but daytime only so will get some sleep) and I'm going to go and buy ingredients for CAKE that is CHRISTENING CAKE for which I have already made the boy a DRESS. Poor boy.

  19. Wow, that is an insanely bad week! I'm so sorry. Hang in there, somehow.

  20. Poor thing. No tips on belly fat here, but a friend posted this on FB recently and it made me laugh:

  21. OK, I have no funnies but I could probably write the pamphlet because I practically lived at hospital with my youngest last year. So for future reference here is my hard-won wisdom

    * If going to the emergency room for any reason, take with you: comfortable underwear (be dressed in yoga pants or similar if possible) deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, small jar of good coffee and a laptop with headphones and/or a good book.

    * Treat nurses like they are rock stars UNTIL they are mean and/or incompetent. Then be business like and use all the proper "conflict resolution" terms you learned at work but keep pushing until they either get with the program or you speak to the charge nurse. Yes, free healthcare is fantastic. But they are paid to do a job. 95% of the nurses who have taken care of my daughter are brilliant, amazing people (she spends a lot of time with specialist cardio and ICU nurses who live for their job) but that 5% give the rest a bad name. Unfortunately, there are some nurses who are so awful I will not even go to the toilet when they are on shift.

    * EVERYTHING will take longer than they said. Really. The only times that is not the case, is when your kid is in real and present danger. I wish they'd just tell people that it will take ages, but I think if they do that people get aggressive so they give false hope instead. It kind of blows.

    Handy Dandy Phrase Book

    when they say..... they mean.....

    The doctor will come and see you soon.......
    Unless there is severe bleeding, someone is turning blue or an alarm is going off, settle in for a few hours. Don't be afraid to nap, they will wake you up when they need you.

    We will just find you a bed....
    They know where the bed is, but they need to call an agency nurse to come in because they are short staffed and she will probably take a while because she needs to call someone to take care of her kids then she needs to do paperwork and sign in and THEN they can let you go on to the ward. Again, nap if you can.

    We will just see what the doctor says...
    I think I know (what the problem is, if you will be admitted etc.) but if I say and I am wrong and you get upset, I may lose my job. In fact, even if I am right and someone finds out that I said, I may lose my job. Just nap until the doctor comes.

    * so when at the hospital, nap as often as possible and expect things to move at the pace of cold treacle and you will do just fine!

    Hopefully you won't have to use that wisdom any time soon after a week like you had!

  22. Oh, NO! The hospital is miserable. That's just all there is to it. And with uncomfortable underwear to boot! NOOOOOO! I'm so sorry about the week of suckage. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow and Wednesday as you go to both appointments.

  23. Good grief - what an absolutely miserable run of events! So wishing I was a comedian but I've got nothing! Best wishes & a prayer or two for tomorrow.

  24. I'm ridiculously late to this post...but yowza what an awful time of it. I am so hoping that by the time you get this comment you are over the worst of it all...well, I guess the root canal still awaits but hoping everyone is on the mend.


Over to you!