Last week I was writing about a sick day, and now I wish I could turn back time to then, because whilst I got better my baby got worse. So yesterday we had our first (and hopefully last) trip to the hospital, which was scary and reassuring at the same time.
After a few days with a cold she seemed to be recovering well, so I went back to work and put her in crèche again, and boy do I feel guilty about that now.
Then on Friday afternoon the crèche rang to say she had a bit of a rash and they thought I ought to know they’d had a few cases of chicken pox in the other kids. I was worried at the thought of her dealing with chicken pox when her immune system was already busy fighting a cold, so I rushed home from work, wondering what to do if I needed to take her to a GP, as our local medical practice is strictly 9-5 on weekdays, not like when I was a kid and you knew the local GP who did house calls.
When I got home she actually seemed in good health, apart from the still runny nose, and the spots were only on her face where she was rubbing, so it didn’t look like chicken pox.
Over the weekend she developed a bad cough, and especially at night it would leave her a bit breathless. I could tell she was uncomfortable and less energetic than usual, but she was still full of giggles and busy exploring, so I was never too worried. I decided to be safe to take her to the GP on Monday.
I rang for an appointment and after being on hold for 20 minutes, and pursuading the receptionist we actually needed an appointment we got one for 11.30am.
On the way there she was looking great and the snot was much less copious, so I was worried the doctor would think I was a time waster. I don’t want to be thought of as an over-fussy first time mum, and I know services are stretched, but a part of me was also wishing I had gone earlier. Maybe if I had been more of a worrier, it wouldn’t have developed into the chest infection I was now concerned about.
After a 30 minute wait past the appointment time we were in to see the GP and he was great. He never made me feel like I shouldn’t be there and he examined her thoroughly. He was concerned about the level of wheezing in her chest and suggested I should get her checked out at A&E.
I went home and packed a few extra things in her nappy bag in case they kept her overnight, and tried to call my husband but I knew he was in a meeting, so I texted him. I probably should have thought about the wording better because he got a scare when he saw it, until he called me and I explained it wasn’t a real emergency just a precaution.
I jumped in the car and we set off into the city centre, because unfortunately our local children’s hospital isn’t in a very accessible place. On the way in I was thinking about where to park, which was good because it took my mind off the ‘what-if’ scenarios my brain was thinking about, and all the ‘maybe I should’ve’ thoughts.
I ended up parking in a multi-storey about 10 minutes walk away, which was fine this time, but in a real emergency it would be horrible looking for closer parking. As it was I was constantly checking her breathing on the walk up.
I arrived at the hospital and checked in and we were seen by the triage nurse within 2 minutes which was impressive. My husband arrived just as we were taken to the assessment ward. There were no beds available, so we were waiting on chairs, along with about 4 other families, but it was really organised. Some of the others started treatment straight away, and the bed manager told them when they would get a bed. In our case we waited about 30 minutes and then were taken to a room for assessment by a paediatric doctor. She diagnosed my baby with a viral lung infection (bronchiolitis), but decided she didn’t need any treatment and we could take her home. She was very clear and explained thoroughly what signs would concern her,so it was good to know what to keep an eye on. For anyone in the same situation, a baby not drinking or eating is a sign for concern, along with their tummy muscles having to work hard to assist breathing.
On the way home we were discussing whether when we were kids a hospital visit would have been necessary for the same problem. The GP probably wouldn’t have been so cautious and would have diagnosed and advised us directly, which was good, but then probably more things got missed back then too.
A part of me was thinking a day of rest at home might have done her more good to help recovery, rather than all the moving between locations. However I don’t feel it was a wasted trip. It’s reassuring to know she is ok, and what we need to be watchful for.
It’s also good to know it was a viral rather than bacterial infection, so even if I had taken her to the GP sooner he probably wouldn’t have been able to give us anything.
It’s very reassuring to know that if we ever need to go again we will be seen quickly. The hospitals are overstretched, but the nurses and doctors do a great job, and it’s a brilliant public service to have.
I was also so proud of my little girl. She was poked and prodded by 3 doctors and nurses and she didn’t cry once. She was more interested in pushing the buttons on the pulse oximeter!
This experience has taught me that she is very brave. Even with a very inflamed throat that must be sore, she is still a happy baby. So in future I won’t rely on expecting her to be miserable as a guide to how well she is.
Hopefully she will make a good recovery, and we won’t have more trips to hospital, but maybe next time I’ll worry less about being thought fussy and go to the GP a bit sooner.
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