Today I am in a very strange place. This is not my planned “Mummy Monday” blog post. I am currently sitting at my daughter’s bedside in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool. It has been a very stressful, confusing and traumatic week. Let me tell you the story…
It all started about a week ago, on a Sunday morning, when my daughter woke up with a sore ear. We thought she had a cold, we gave her Calpol, and on Tuesday we took her to the doctor with a suspected ear infection. She was prescribed ear drops and sent home to rest. And then it went a bit more wrong. On Wednesday she began to complain of more pain in her face, not just her ear. At first, we dismissed it as her feeling sorry for herself. But she got worse, and we returned to our GP on Thursday morning, who promptly sent us straight to our local hospital, Leighton Hospital in Crewe. They admitted us immediately and began to investigate her condition.
At this point my daughter was crying in pain, her teeth were clenched because she couldn’t open her mouth, and she hadn’t eaten properly all week. I felt so helpless because I couldn’t make it better. We went through the trauma of getting her onto a CT scanning machine, and later to have x-rays, she had blood tests and antibiotics and all sorts of activity. By Friday evening our ENT doctors informed us that we had to transfer to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool for specialist treatment and surgery. At this point I lost the plot. I panicked. Only very sick children go to Alder Hey. I’ve seen them on TV documentaries. This was serious. And my daughter, my beautiful, vibrant 7-year-old princess, was in the middle of it all.
I am so thankful that my husband was with me throughout the whole process. When I fell apart, he stepped in to sign medical forms, he drove us to the hospitals, he packed bags, took care of our younger daughter, cared for our dog, planned for the school run and everything else that needed to be done. Our weekend passed in a blur as our daughter was rushed in for emergency surgery to drain fluid from her cheek. It had pooled around her jawbone, so she couldn’t open her mouth, and it was potentially very dangerous long-term. The surgery was a success, and today we are in recovery.
We will now stay at Alder Hey Hospital for another couple of days before going home to recuperate. I miss my bed. I miss my younger daughter. I miss my dog and my husband. And I miss my routine, even though we have only been away for five days. It feels like a lifetime. Being in hospital puts you in a sort of bubble, where your world narrows down to the ward and the patient and the process. I haven’t been outside for two days, and I have barely left my daughter’s bedside. But she is getting better. She is healing, and we will get through this. It was an incredibly rare situation, but the concern is infection control. She could have contracted something far more serious if we did not get her to the doctor in time.
Ultimately, I want to extend my gratitude to the amazing teams at both Leighton Hospital and Alder Hey Hospital. They continue to work tirelessly to care for my daughter and me, in a facility that is comfortable, safe and well designed. All of the doctors, nurses, specialists and support staff are invaluable for their expertise and their care. And most importantly, I must say a huge thank you to our GP, Dr Crofts from Oaklands Medical Centre, for his swift action in assessing our daughter and having her transferred to the hospital. This is what our NHS provides, what it stands for and what it does. And I for one am more grateful that I could ever express.
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