Last Monday evening the thing I fear most happened, George took ill.
We had spent a lovely afternoon visiting Lennie and Iris, watching Big Hero Six and had come home for about 5 and G had gone to sleep on the sofa. I made the tea and when he slept on we ate ours and I went for a nap and left Jon downstairs with him.
At half seven Jon woke him up because he felt hot and gave him some ibuprofen - he was hot, very very hot, 40 degrees hot, and being woken made him cry and wail and try to go back to sleep and worse still, sheild his eyes from the light. Alarm bells, big alarm bells, Any parent knows these red flags - fever, drowsy, photosensitive, and though there was no visible rash or vomiting we got straight in the car to the hospital.
I can't tell you all the things that went through my head on that journey. I remembered other emergency trips down that same road, the one when Fig died, the one in the ambulance when George bumped his head at nursery. Street lights and signs blurred by and George fell asleep holding my hand. As we turned the corner onto Skircoat before the final turn for A+E he grabbed the bowl we keep in the car and vomited, twice, and then a third time. Red flag number 4 and I was out of the car and running before Jon had parked. Straight to the desk and burbling the details to the receptionist. I expected more to be honest, I expected someone to whisk us in to be seen, but no, despite my actually saying TEMPERATURE 40, DROWSY, PHOTOSENSITIVE, VOMITING we were sent to the waiting room....and we waited, and waited and waited...finally we saw the triage nurse, the temperature had come down a little and he was perkier, extremely upset about having a finger prick sugar test (normal) but we were again told to wait. At this point I think Jon thought everything was ducky and we'd be home within the hour.Unfortunately, due to how long we had to wait, by the time we were finally seen by an A+E doctor his temperature had risen again and along with it his heart rate. He was checked over and pronounced not meningic, but they were unhappy about the temperature. He had some water at this point and it came straight back up, we had a temperature check but I could see they weren't doing it properly, the forehead sensor wasn't touching him through his hair and thankfully we had our own braun ear thermomenter, which when I showed the nurse and made her retake it, she said, ooh yeah, sorry, it's 40.4...yeah... Fantastic. More waiting and we were at the point where we thought he needed new medicine. the doctor allowed some paracetamol but refused to give any ibuprofen, telling me it should only be given every 8 hours, EIGHT, we have always been told every four hours, always, in fact I thought it was received wisdom that you alternated the two every two hours with four hours between,no apparently, we have been doing it wrong for the last four years. I was also under the impression that when a child has a high fever you bring it down - regardless of last dose, but no, again, we were told absolutely not. At this point George was lying on a bed in a side annexe of the A+E triage and he looked dreadful, I was absolutely terrified beyond anything I have ever felt before. His heart rate was 160 - a normal range being 80-130. They wouldn't discharge us and they wouldn't move us and they seemed to just forget us. It was boiling hot in there, no windows, no end in sight. I got Jon to get some pepsi from the machine and we managed to get some sips of that into G, then he fell asleep, at least he was keeping both the paracetamol and the pepsi down and hopefully his heart rate might drop while he rested. By this time it was almost 1am and I finally accepted I would need to ask Lennie to go and walk Bella and feed the cats, thank goodness her and Stu had been in contact all evening and throughout and being on the doorstep could just nip down, though I hated that I had to ask her to get dressed and go out, but she wanted to do even more, and for this I will be eternally grateful, she said she was coming to hospital and what could she bring, I gave her a small list - pillows, pjs, snuggly toy and my medicine bag and laptop. Oh and some yoghurt tubes. In the short time it took for her to walk Bella, grab the items and drive to Halifax we were finally moved upstairs to the Paediatric ward. Though left yet again in a waiting room, it was so so sooo much cooler and nicer and completely quiet and with windows open and George immediately brightened. We sat near the window with DanTDM (Minecraft hero and Vlogger) playing on youtube. More checks and a lovely nurse this time, his temperature and heart had come down a little, and we were to wait for the doctor. Then there was Lennie, armed with comfort a plenty and G was over the moon to have hugs with his chum. We made a pillow area on the floor and he cuddled his toys and chatted and I began to think everything might be ok. Lennie left a little while later and we snuggled down on the floor together until the nurse took his temperature to find it was back to normal...the magic number she said, holding up the thermometer. We then saw the registrar for a final discussion and check and we were discharged into the drizzly 4am darkness.
In the days following I suffered from something akin to delayed shock, or PTSD, I would be feeling fine and then be taken over my anxiety and replay what had happened and end up shivering and shaking and weeping, or with my heart beating out of my chest. til I had to sit down and control my breathing. I used rescue remedy, I talked about it, I read through and tried various relaxation excersizes on mood juice and it began to leave me. George was fine, well again within 48 hours of rest. I will never forget the experience or the fear, and I need to work each day to live with and work through the anxiety it heightened.