Tuesday, August 23, 2011


A couple of weeks ago my little girl became a bit ill. After a few days of Calpolling and copious Ibuprofenisation our doctor diagnosed her as having a urinary tract infection, sent off a wee sample and dished out some magic wellness-juice.

Unluckily she turned out have a strain resistant to various antibiotics commonly used in the treatment of UTIs, and so got worse and worse over the following week until, last weekend, she was admitted to hospital. Once there they took blood samples and had the results back within an hour, showing her to be systemically unwell and harbouring a severe infection. An ultrasound of her right kidney lit up like a night scope, indicating an atypical pyelonephritis.

No-one likes to hear the word 'atypical' when it comes to medical conditions.

Cue, intravenous access, another, different antibiotic and a week of worry at her bedside for me and her mother.

After a couple of downturns and an initial awkward refusal to show any signs of improvement, she obviously decided to let the new antibiotics do their job and got better over a period of twenty-four hours.

We then thanked the incredible staff, left a donation for their social fund, said our goodbyes to some of the other parents we had got to know, wished them well and came home.

Thankfully, my daughter is now back to being her industrious little self. Despite the course of antibiotics she's been given tasting like Tutti-Fruttis, she's still determined to fight every dose as if they were made of ground up needles and chilli powder. As I try to get the syringe with the liquid  past her clamped little teeth I actually relish the struggle, as it’s a vast improvement over the lethargy and flatness of a week ago.

Anyway, my stress levels over the last few days were similar to those found in a tight-rope walker with an inner-ear problem, but the relief of knowing she was on the mend was palpable. It's only then you notice the tension in your shoulders that has been there all the time start to recede, and you can  begin think of other things without automatically labelling them as unimportant. Like going to work and doing food shopping.

In retrospect, you almost feel guilty about coming out of hospital when so many other children are still stuck there. I was struck and humbled by the well wishes of other parents whose children had far more serious, even life limiting conditions than a kidney infection, no matter how atypical. There seems to be room for compassion for others in people who have the best reason in the world not to give a damn about anyone else.

As grateful and relieved  as I am for the wonderful care my daughter received, my mind keeps flipping back to the Children's Ward, hoping that they find the cause of 2 month-old Josh's convulsions, that Aaron loses the ticks his autism meds have left him with, that 2 year-old Cameron's 6 weeks in traction for his broken hip aren't too traumatising, and that Oliver's mum and dad never have to use the CPR that the nursing staff were teaching them on the day we left.

Here’s thinking of them and others in similar situations.


  1. Aw. Glad your daughter is okay. There is nothing worse than seeing sick and injured children, especially when they are your own. I think your good karma for those other kids is helping them. Good job.

  2. I went to a child's funeral on Friday and hugged my children as hard as I could without breaking them afterwards. This post reminds me that I promised myself I'd make a donation and I'm going to do it now. Thank you.

    P.S. So relieved your little one has recovered.

  3. Wow, TWA - Cheers bud. Just need more of it to splash around!

    Mandy_Fish - So sorry to hear that. I've been known to come home after a nasty shift and do some serious kid-hugging myself on occasion.

  4. sweet mary sunshine, sugar! glad to hear your little girl is on the mend now! sending good thoughts across the pond for all y'all! xoxoxoxo

  5. Well said. And I'm glad the girl is better.

    Might I suggest a massage for you and your wife?


  6. Nothing more scary than the feeling of helplessness when your little one is crook. I guess your medical knowledge will have helped somewhat since I dont have any idea at all what any of those medical words you used even mean, but you should know that we all wish you all the very best

  7. This must have been like living a nightmare. I don't have kids but have been on children's wards and they are heart rending.

  8. Savvy - Received and very much appreciated!

    Pearl - Well, it's a long way for you to travel, but I'm willing for you to make that acrifice!

    Tempo - Cheers mate. A modicum of medical knowledge makes you either a hypochondriac or not cautious enough sometimes.

    Tony V H - It is a bit rubbish. The ward was fantastic, in staff, treatment, support and play things etc, but I'd rather avoid it if I can!

  9. I find it difficult to even think about losing a child. So here's a beautiful interview with someone who just has.


  10. Having a child with a significant disability means that I have logged quite a few more hours in a childrens hospital than most. You are completely accurate when you say "There seems to be room for compassion for others in people who have the best reason in the world not to give a damn about anyone else".

    We have seen parents and staff both that take an enormous load on themselves, but only worry about you and your child. I remember being on about the 3rd month in the NICU when we finally saw one nurse crack a bit after having to go and have the dreaded "ethics talk" with a mom and dad. I don't know where they get the strength.

  11. Unpronouncio - Powerful stuff.

    SkylersDad - Me neither. I've heard it said it's the most rewarding and most punishing of jobs, which I can well believe.

  12. I've always been hopeless with hospitals - my blood runs cold at the thought of them and I've been so lucky that the only time any of my kids have had to stay was for a simple tonsillectomy. Even then, when I saw her sleeping after the operation it made me think about how fragile she was and those around us are. I'm so glad your little girl is ok now, and so sad for all those who aren't. A really thoughtful and thought-provoking piece of writing.

  13. I'm delighted your little girl is doing better now. That's the thing with parenting. You're constantly worrying. If they're sick, if they might GET sick, if they're fine, everything. It's the rest of your life worrying. I don't know how you all do it without becoming alcoholics!

  14. Glad to hear that she is better. If you, a member of the ambulatory profession, were concerned then it would have been really scary for a lay person.

  15. Sharon - Thank you Sharon. I always think the fragility of those closest to us is one of the easiest things to get depressed about. And the only reason we don't go mad is because we don't think about it too much. The only sane people are mad people!

    Veggie Ass - We don't?

    Eric - Ha: ambulatory profession. We would be better off walking, given the state of some of our vehicles! And thank you.

  16. I too am glad she's on the mend, and I agree that going to hospitals is always a lose-lose, because you feel guilty if there's nothing wrong.

    Please don't be cross, but I have nominated you for a meme. The details are here, I really hope you give it a whirl.

  17. MLS - That's a toughie! But I could never be cross at someone who uses the word cross, so I'll give it some thought.


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