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Back in the blue room

March 27, 2013

If you’ve been on this journey for a while, you’ll recall that before The Spaniard evolved into Hope, I spent in inordinate amount of time in the blue cubicle-d rooms of the hospital; not just the curtains but the furniture, the bedding, the walls, the plastic chairs, the plastic gloves, the medics scrubs … blue was the colour of the latter part of my pregnancy. Last year during Hope’s horrible meningitis scare I was pleased that most of the isolation room we were in on the Children’s Ward wasn’t blue, but now I have to report that A&E (the ER for my American friends) is mainly blue.

Yup … we have spent yet more time in a hospital blue room … only this time there were stickers of jungle animals on the walls. I write this in the deepest state of exhaustion I’ve been in for a while, and I thought I was jiggered a few days ago.

Yesterday Hope and I went up to London for a meeting, and to a celebration of the life of a dear dear friend who died days before his 50th birthday on 25th March last year. She sang ‘row row row your boat’ to the passengers on the train and ate a little of her pasta pesto and ham, but not very much. We had a happy evening but then she became increasingly fretful and hotter and hotter. She didn’t eat any of her fish (normally an absolute favourite) and became even more flushed and out of sorts so I headed home on the train, she also had a slight nose bleed .. all very alarming. It was freezing cold outside but in the train the heating was on full blast, I took her out of her pink worm (furry snow suit thing) and her cardigan and she looked really not herself and increasingly ill, her temperature rocketed higher and higher and she became very listless and her eyes glazed over, I was terrified and paced around the train with a half dressed baby, trying to cool her down and then stood there swearing to myself when the train stopped outside Cambridge for what felt like an eternity. I tried to get her to breastfeed and for the first time since she was born she just wouldn’t, or couldn’t summon the energy. We finally pulled in and I got in a taxi straight to A&E.

When we arrived there was none of the usual wait, the nurse on the door took her temperature … it was almost 42 degrees, she called out hot baby and we were whisked at high pace into cubicle 23 and almost immediately the Staff Nurse appeared and weighed Hope and checked all her vital signs. By this time she was floppy, non responsive and her cheeks were literally scarlet. Hope was given a huge dose of paracetamol and also of brufen to bring her temperature down and she lay on the bed naked and flushed … I held a small plastic pot to her bits to try to collect a urine sample … obviously when I looked up as the doctor (aged 12 1/4 or so it looked) came in and missed the small flow. He examined her and decided she needed extra fluids due to potential dehydration and came back with a bottle of a mix of saline and sugar solution and a syringe and a piece of paper for me to write on and mark down each squirt of fluid. I was meant to give it to her every 5 minutes … the only problem was that Hope HATES having any medicine and after the two earlier doses she was already in a pickle so when I tried to get the fluid into her it took 5 minutes and went everywhere … and then it was time for the next 8mls. Sitting alone in A&E with a sick upset child is a frightening experience and I really felt quite despairing as she thrashed and writhed around trying to escape from the torture of the fluids, but as the next medic to came in pointed out it was either that or IV fluid. The very sweet and efficient 12 1/4 year old doctor sent for the pediatrician who came at 1am and said she thought Hope was showing signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) … but said they needed the sample … at that point Hope (who was sitting on my lap) wee’d everywhere (except in the pot). They managed to dip the measury thing into a bit that splashed off me onto the chair … and it showed signs of having too many white blood cells. They also decided to admit Hope as she wasn’t taking her fluid in properly.

Hope passed the time weeping piteously and holding tight to me and then lying on her back and banging her legs on the table and shouting, “baby baby baby” and blowing raspberries, and then just went forlornly quiet … time really dragged. I asked if I could try and breastfeed her again, they agreed and she fed, and nursed and drank … not in her usual slurpy indulgent manner but enough to satisfy them that she has some fluids going in. So on the strength of that and the fact that my mother lives almost ontop of the hopsital, we were allowed home … at 3am, with a letter to fast track us straight to pediatrics if anything changed, the promise of waking her ever 3 hours to give more temperature reducing drugs and the commitment to bringing a pot of wee in with Hope in the morning.

We stumbled home in the cold, Hope’s temperature had reduced to 38 degrees which was good but she was still very poorly. Granby met us with toast and a hot drink and I bundled Hope out of her hot clothes and into bed (minus cover as had to keep her cool) … she slept very badly .. didn’t settle til 4 and woke again at 6 and then really didn’t sleep properly again … we had calpol wars and brufen battles, as we always have done, and she nuzzled close to me and was utterly miserable … and her temperature sky rocketed again. I then had the trauma of how to get the sample, I tried sitting her on a bowl while I was breastfeeding her (the nurse said babies more likely to wee during feeding), but she was so fed up I gave up and tried the tiny pot from the hospital … after an hour and a half of that she did manage a small sample, but the wrong sort. I had to lift her off me, clean her, flush the sample and find a new pot … only to come back and find that she’d wee’d in the bed … so back to square one and another hour later a tiny trickle appeared. This then had to be bottled and also meant that I was able to start her on the antibiotics … she went completely bonkers and spat the medicine in my face, dribbled it back out, choked, spluttered and howled like a banshee it was horrible … I felt terrible, this was the 11th time I’d tried to syringe something into her in under 12 hours and she hated me.

We headed miserably back round to the hospital.

When you hear anything about ‘urinary tract infection’ your first thought (or mine was) that it meant something to do with a tube of canistan, an itchy fanny (sorry), or burning parts … those things may be the case sometimes but in actual fact a full blown UTI is a deeply unpleasant thing … before my father died he had one and his mind totally went for a week, he barely recognised anyone, had no idea he was in hospital, regressed to his child hood and then once out the other side had no recollection of it. Hope’s other grandmother is currently in hospital in the south of England, now terribly ill and one of the underlying problems she has had alongside more serious problems has been with a seemingly untreatable UTI … the horrible affliction can affect mental state, temperature, organs and really is a danger to old and young like.

We got to A&E and were zipped back round, Hope’s temperature high again and then gradually lowered with more drugs …. they tested the sample, definitely high white blood cells and sent it off to grow culture in the lab (an interest in ballet perhaps or opera …). We were in the same room, and I tried to keep Hope’s spirits up by pointing at the animal pictures on the wall and making pertinent noises or singing relevant songs … when we got to the crocodile she shouted, “A” very loudly and I realised she recognised the word from the second verse of her favourite song, “row row row … if you see a crocodile don’t forget to scream” at which point we always shout, “A”. After that every time I pointed to the crocodile picture she obligingly screamed … I’m not sure it’s good to condition a response to an animal in one so young but perhaps one day if she’s lost in the jungle or the Australian coast it will come in handy.

Another doctor (this time a bit older, maybe 16) appeared and checked her over, and in her ears, eyes and all her cavities and then said we needed another dose of antibiotic …  I told him how grim it had been and how much she’d spat out when we tried at home and he suggested a dose be given to ‘show me how’ by a nurse there .. enter handsome male staff nurse, he failed as dismally as I had and went out dejected and covered in white medicine and I overheard him talking about a difficult baby to another staff nurse and the doctor and then there was talk of swaddling. A cheerful nurse came in with a green blanket and another syringe full of medicine, poor Hope turned nearly purple with rage and then just went totally mute and quiet … they swaddled her and she broke down totally it was awful, 2 adults holding her down while another dripped the medicine into her mouth, she spat over half out and then mid howl swallowed and choked on the rest. I burst into tears and then we sat, the two of us both sticky from medicine both in tears and held each other while we waited for the “what next”.

They agreed again we could go home as long as she had the regular medicine and I gave her the augmentin and kept her fluid intake up and that we go back again tomorrow and then for results on Thursday and a kidney scan … the evil infection may have damaged her poor insides.

After 6 hours in our blue room we headed home again, Hope slept on Granby’s lap, I nipped to the farm to clear my head and get some ham for Hope and then we all sat like zombies until a very thoughtful and kind friend appeared with some proper shopping, some chocolate and some gin and tonic. The latter restored me and the former provided supper.

We had a grim time getting paracetamol into Hope and an even worse experience trying to get the wretched antibiotics into her again ending up covered but the required 3mls did go in … she and I (and her Granby) were all pretty traumatised by the experience. They are both now asleep although Hope has woken several times in the hour I’ve been writing this and doing some work on my computer… she’s now asleep in the middle of my bed.

I’m shattered but wide awake reflecting on a very difficult few days and deeply sad at Hope’s condition means we can’t go and visit her Granny in the South, Hope’s father has gone down and the prognosis is deeply concerning, all I had the strength to manage when he came to see how Hope was, was make him a brie and chilli jam sandwich to eat en route. A very very sad and worrying time for us all but even more so for him.

I try to draw good from things and do feel very fortunate to be here rather than in the hospital with Hope on IV fluids .. yet again I thank God for breastfeeding and how well Hope and I have got on with it, and also the good fortune of being able to be quite so close to a brilliant hospital …and for the generosity and kindness of my friend.

One sad thing though is that Hope didn’t get a small teddy bear this time … when she went in this time last year they gave her Hospital Ted, and a small hat … both treasured companions at bed time now … I asked about teddy bears today and the doctor shrugged and said, ‘We ran out” and then walked away muttering about “cuts” … sad that and of course I blame our blue coloured government for yet another soulless, cheerless attack on the weak and infirm, but I guess the stickers on the wall did help.

So .. time for me to hit the hay and hope that Hope doesn’t run a huge temperature tomorrow and somehow decides that having played with the syringe mechanism she’s realised it’s not a bad thing and will take her medicine quietly … but I doubt it.

What a week.

A vey poorly little person

My very poorly little person

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2013 9:54 am

    I’m so sorry to hear Hope is poorly and I wish her better quickly. You are amazing, don’t forget that, Hope is very lucky to have a devoted mummy like you. You will both get through this. I’m thinking of you both.

  2. March 28, 2013 4:37 pm

    Poor little Hope – I hope she gets well done. What a horrid week. You are a fabulous mum – she is so lucky to have you! X.

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