The drive to A&E/ the emergency room (usually at awkward times of the day and night) is a common feature of parenting. I believe the amount of trips taken (especially when kids are very young) are often kept secret by many parents. I’m not fully sure why. Maybe we fear that we have been over anxious? Over zealous? Maybe we feel like we have been a bad parent somewhere along the line and should not have to shoot off to the hospital like this? Often, children are home by morning looking for cornflakes, making hysterical liars out of us all. Maybe we felt like we wasted a professional’s time? Embarrassed? Should we feel this way? When do we know what is the right thing to do.
Deciding whether or not to go.
Gigi had been unwell. Stomach aches that persisted, prolonged and eventually caused consistent tears pushed me to phone the out of hours doctor (Midoc- midlands doctor) and from there we went to see the doctor on duty. She forwarded us to Tullamore hospital (not a paeds hospital but it is next door to Midoc. This well meaning move would actually make our day longer as it transpired). Gigi had suspected appendicitis. I gripped the table when the doctor voiced a fear that had haunted me earlier that night whilst Gigi writhed in pain. Once again, a trip to A&E would look likely prove to me that bad things happen. It isn’t always going to be instantly alright.
I have written about Gigi’s history in Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia . The thought of her having another surgery, even one of commonality like this, makes me quake. My fear. Not hers. But then again-
The sinking feeling as you drive that something might be very wrong.
The entire car journey over, Gigi was pale and whimpering, barely audible but one thing she made ice clear. She was worried that the doctor would ‘cut my tummy open.’ We have spoken to her about her infancy operation. It was inevitable to tell her. We had to answer questions about a scar along her stomach that has become more visible as she grows. You think they aren’t taking these things in if they don’t talk about it- but she clearly was.
How could I promise no they wouldn’t?
What do you say?
Strange to wish your child has one of those messy 24 hour viruses that cause endless laundry. But there I was- wishing for a common, safe and house contained sickness.
Hospital is draining. The air is lacking. It’s warm. Or too cold. Loud. Busy. Answering the same questions over and over. You feel as if no one working there speaks to each other. After answering the same form-filling questions to at least six people, I did ask whether this stuff had been written in a chart for the next person to read. It’s hard work in hospitals, and I appreciate all they do for very little thanks, but the interminable repetition over a 20 hour period is painful.
I have patience. But this was just silly.
Several hours later, much to our comfort, we are told it is more likely a bad kidney infection. She is on fluids and antibiotics. We are to move to another local hospital for children. She is sore but is likely to be OK quite quickly.
Mostly, the good things happen.
We move. It is time consuming. They keep us in the insanely busy hosptal until late. We are told Tullamore is over the top in their attitude. I answer the same questions as if no one had ever thought to ask them before. But Gigi will be well. There is no surgery. She is quite sick and it’s been a horrid few days- but no surgery. Fluids and medicine will fix her. We are smiling. So I tell them this latest junior doctor Gigi’s age, our GP details and the gist of why we are there again. Just for old times sake. I think of how I repeat myself for a living. It isn’t the worst complaint.
I overhear a woman with a 13 month old trying to explain why she has her child in. I remember doing this. I want to pull back the curtain between us and say ‘No apologies! You know your child! You are not doing wrong to follow your instinct!’ This is primal for me. We saved our own child by following intinct and trying to ignore the tiny voice telling us we were a bother to busy people.
On this occasion, my instinct was right. My worst fear was voiced but wonderfully unfounded. But if we hadn’t followed that fear as parents of a seven day old that evening in 2014, we wouldn’t have our Gigi today.
Trusting your instinct.
It’s part of parenting. A&E. Worry. Fear. Illness. Being shown you were right to worry. Being shown there is nothing to worry about. Both as neccesary as each other.
No hospital staff member ever even alluded to the fact we might be wasting people’s time. They are trained to trust parent’s instinct. An instinct that cannot be bought, hired or borrowed. Just there. Inside us. Pushing us to ask for help because we know it could be needed.
We survive another trip to A&E.