I am sat here writing this from the parent’s lounge of my the children’s ward of my local hospital. Recently refurbished to be more family friendly, this a space for parents to take a breather, make a cuppa and regroup. No fancy decorations needed. The closed door, silence and the kettle are sufficient. We aren’t here for comfort, we are here for help. For our babies not ourselves.
Olivia currently has her own hospital room. Our new home away from home for however long we need it. A space you would no doubt pay for should it be a hotel and not a hospital. 1 bed each, en-suite and a cupboard for our belongings, the room now belongs to us and our territory well and truly marked. As of yet we have no check out date so home comforts appear by the second as we attempt to relax in our new sterile environment. One which we have welcomed with open arms.
It has taken us 10 days to get here. The appearance of a dry tickly cough and puffy face late one Wednesday evening set off a chain reaction of events I was completely unprepared for. I fear that may be my own doing thanks to an off hand comment to my new boss about how Olivia is never seriously ill. If she is ill it isn’t often and usually your garden variety stomach bug, virus or common cold. The very first day of my new (old) job she passed out at the fish counter in Tesco’s on a school trip. Maybe I jinxed it then who knows? But I digress those events were way back in May and now in the fledgling days of July we are mid some pretty serious health complications.
Olivia took herself off to school the next day (Thursday) despite my insistence she really shouldn’t and come Friday she gave in and took to the sofa as the cough took a hold of her and so did a vomiting bug. The swelling became more prominent and the cough worsened leaving us no choice but to make a mad dash to our GP for a check up.
A chest infection was confirmed, however the concerns of the facial swelling were simply brushed aside. As it was when I again voiced my concerns with the out of hours GP on the Sunday. No idea he said but she has a wheeze, here’s a prescription for some steroids and an inhaler, take care young Olivia.
Young Olivia did not take care. Succumbing to full body swelling and an inability to breathe easily we made our third trip to see a qualified professional for help. Help we did not get. Fears and concerns were swatted away and I left frustrated and angry. A mother knows her child. I knew there was something wrong with my child. Yet this counted for nothing. And I absolutely did not listen to his advice to not bring her back before the weekend.
I tried to see from his point of view. I presented him with a child appearing to be getting over a chest infection. Her chest was clear and she was quite happy in herself. Giggling that nervous giggle most of us get when we don’t know how to react to something. She appeared as she does now happy and healthy.
I waited another 3 days. This time the swelling was too much to ignore and I created as much fuss as I could to get her seen. Calls to the 111 line were made. Calls to the GP practise were made. I would be heard this time and they would listen. It seemed however that my voice had made an impact, albeit a small one on the GP who had posted us a letter, too little too late, for Olivia have a further test. One that would reveal instantly what we already knew.
We were right. Within minutes the GP had the test done and a bed reserved at the local hospital for Olivia to be fully checked over. This is where we come full circle. This post has no answers. Currently. This post is being written on night 2 of our hospital stay. A stay forecast to last at least another 2 days.
But this post isn’t just my story. The path may be different. The symptoms not the same. But desperation is shared. Shared by parents of children fighting desperately to be heard. For someone to hear them and to listen. We are not medical professionals but where our children are concerned we are experts in them.
Please just listen to us.
*As of writing this Olivia is currently being treated for kidney problems and dangerously high blood pressure. I was right to keep fighting and I am so glad I didn’t give up. If you would like to keep up to date with how she is getting on please don’t hesitate to get in touch via social media or even email. I will be posting regular updates too. For those of you who have already sent your wishes thank you. I really appreciate all the love from people I have never met yet I am proud to call friends*