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.