Friday 8 February 2013

Ebony's First Visit to Hospital

To say I’m not a fan of hospitals is a bit like saying the Daily Mail isn’t a big fan of immigration. Hospitals make me feel sick and panicked and enclosed. I hate the smell and I hate touching hospital things.

Ebony was born at home for that reason. I can’t imagine anywhere I’d feel less relaxed than a hospital. I haven’t ever really spent much time in hospital. I’ve never stayed in overnight as a patient. I’ve only been in an ambulance twice; once when I had suspected meningitis, and once when a speeding motorbike collided with my thirteen year old self. That was probably the closest I ever came to needing hospital treatment, and in actual fact, the motorbike had just knocked my shoe off.

My husband is the polar opposite of me. He has no problems with hospitals, and will create wild and unreservedly fanciful symptoms so he can guarantee an overnight stay. He is no stranger to IVs, x-rays, CT scans, and invasive procedures. I have sat by his bedside and watched many a baffled doctor try to make sense of his bizarre rag-doll-esque problems.

Struggling to breathe
Clearly, Ebony has decided to follow in her father’s footsteps, and so I spent yesterday at the hospital. She had been suffering with a fever on and off for a couple of days. After a morning of playing with her tea set, I took her upstairs for a nap. As soon as I lay her down, she started to cough and retch. She could hardly breathe, she threw up and started to scream in pain. It was really scary.

After a few more projectile vomits, and associated costume changes, I managed to get her into the baby carrier so we could get to the doctors.

We saw a duty Doctor. Or, rather, a random mad woman with no medical qualifications. I explained the symptoms, and she went to get a thermometer. Just as she stuck it in Ebony’s ear, she said, “Ooops. I’m meant to look in it first.” Ebony was the starring role in Fisher Price’s My First Patient. Great. The, I’ll say Doctor, but I think we all know that her being able to back this up with paperwork is very unlikely, looked in Ebony’s ear: “Hmmm. Red.” She said, wisely, “Ear infection.”

Hooked up to machines
The Doctor took Ebony’s temperature, it was 38.6, “36.8” she typed into her notes. She then started talking about antibiotics for the ear infection which Ebony hadn’t shown any signs of having. I pointed out Ebony’s breathing problems. Eventually, the Doctor’s face changed from
I am not a real Doctor to I am alarmed and not a real Doctor. She said I needed to take Ebony at A&E.

Luckily for us, A&E had real Doctors. Ebony was quite floppy when we arrived at A&E. We stripped her off, and they started doing tests. They made her wear a wee bag. I have never heard of a wee bag before, but there is something very wrong with the person who invented it. You know those nose bags you get for horse feed? It’s one of them. For weeing in. They stick it to you.

Her head was really hot, but her feet were freezing cold. She was having a lot of trouble breathing. They gave her some ibuprofen and then brought her a nebuliser so she could get some oxygen. 

Having a sleep on Daddy
Ebony had to have a chest x-ray to determine where the infection was. I went in with her and had to wear one of those huge red aprons, and I had to hold her hands to try and keep her sitting still. She didn’t seem too bothered about the x-ray, luckily.

After the x-ray, we were sent up to the children’s assessment ward. The nurse in the assessment ward said Ebony would be staying in overnight for observations. My husband looked instantly heartbroken. We saw a pediatrician who told us that the x-ray showed that Ebony had pneumonia. No ear infection.

By this point, we’d been at the hospital for a few hours and Ebony hadn’t had a wee. They wanted to run tests on her urine and seemed concerned that she hadn’t had a wee for so long. I said it was probably because someone had stuck a bag to her, and if they got her a potty, she’d probably wee. I was met with bemused faces.

After a few more potty related hints, they brought a potty over, and as soon as I sat Ebony on the potty she had the biggest wee I’ve ever seen. The nurse’s chin nearly hit the floor. A few minutes later, I heard her telling the other staff in the hallway, “Thirteen months and using a potty!” From then on, Ebony earned herself the title Star Wee-er of the ward. In all honesty, I’m hoping it’s not the nickname that sticks with her for life.

Feeling a bit better
Ebony’s blood pressure had gone down, and her urine tests must have produced good results, because as she ate some hospital food, we were told she’d be able to go home soon. It was such a relief to find out she could go home. I really didn’t think there was any chance of getting her to sleep in one of those hospital cots.

After an hour or so of waiting around, we were loaded up with antibiotics and sent on our way. We were given a nebuliser to take home in case her breathing gets bad again. Luckily we haven’t had to use it, although Ebony has had to help Dolly with it a few times. I think Dolly might be suffering pneumonia too by the looks of things.

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