I think that when you’re a mum, you just KNOW when your child isn’t well. When there is something more serious than the average cough or cold going on. I think as a parent you have an instinct.
This week I had a suspicion something wasn’t right with Master D. On Monday I worried when I dropped him off at daycare, and called from the uni to see how he was. When we took him home that night he was frantic. Screaming, writhing, thrashing. Painkillers didn’t seem to work and nothing seemed to settle him. First thing the next morning I took him to my local GP.
My GP was concerned, Master D was still screeching in pain, and basically inconsolable. Yet at this stage he had no fever, no sore throat, no ear infection, no runny nose, nothing obvious to explain his pain. We spent an hour at the surgery for observation, then were advised to take him to hospital for further investigation.
My mum came with me to the emergency department, where Master D screamed and thrashed. He was assessed by doctor after doctor. Through tears I watched as my little boy was wrapped in a sheet and pinned down by three nurses, while a consultant unsuccessfully attempted to administer a line and take bloods. Dripping in sweat, writhing in pain, Master D didn’t take his eyes off me as they pricked him again and again.
The doctors were concerned he had a bowel twist and directed us to go to the city’s specialist children’s hospital to meet with the GI surgical team for a review. We were offered an ambulance transfer but I refused as I didn’t want to be without my mum. Instead we drove home, picked up my husband and went straight to the emergency department.
At the hospital we were seen by doctor after doctor after doctor. But nobody could tell us what was going on. Master D was obviously in tremendous pain, but had no other symptoms. An ultrasound ruled out a bowel twist, and suddenly doctors were talking about real nasty pasties. Bone infections, meningitis, lumbar punctures. Of course we were terrified – although Master D was unwell we hadn’t expected anything like this. For a while, Hubster and I couldn’t even say the word. ‘Meningitis’ became ‘that other thing the doctors mentioned…’
Luckily for us Master D started to improve after taking some painkillers. Although he still had periods of intense crying, he also started having longer periods of calm. Doctors were more relaxed, telling us he had no suspicious symptoms. After a long night where Master D developed a hoarse voice, cough and wheeze, he was diagnosed with Croup, an ear infection and constipation.
Croup! What a relief! Somehow I couldn’t believe our luck. You see, for the entirety of our stay at the children’s hospital I had seen such dreadfully sick children. I had heard stories that made my heart break. And I had been praying that we were not about to embark on a similar journey. Taking my sad, hoarse little boy home felt like such a gift. My heart goes out to the families who have to leave their children at the hospital. The families that have to deal with heart break every day. We had a scare with a happy ending. Some other families are not so lucky.
I’m not religious but tonight I’ll thank God for my healthy child, and I’ll pray for those who need it.