Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Mother’s Instinct

Dear Triage Nurse,

I knew it wasn’t right. My daughter has had gastroenteritis before and it had never presented itself like that.  You looked at me in the eye as I mentioned the order of the symptoms, how I felt it wasn’t right, how I thought it might be something else and then you gave a sigh, raised your shoulder in a shrug and rolled your eyes.  To you I was another over protective mother.  Over reacting.

So faced with a 2 hour wait at midnight with a sleepy 5-year-old on my shoulder, no more vomiting, the promise that pain had subsided, I took her home again.  I felt silly.  You had been right. It probably was nothing.

Only it wasn’t, was it?  The following night she screamed in pain for an hour.  She woke up at 8.30am and was sick.  I watched it all unfold again, all those symptoms and I leapt to action.  We were off to A&E again.  I was lucky to have a friend nearby who, although with busy day ahead, was willing to take The Monster whilst I took Pickle.

Lo and behold as we came into the A&E department, there you were again, eyeing me suspiciously as I repeated the symptoms and was sent to the general clinic seats just like I was 2 nights previously.  Thankfully at 10.30am on a Friday morning it was much quieter than it was that night and we only waited about 40 minutes before we were called in.  The doctor was brusk, but went through everything and when he felt Pickle’s tummy she didn’t cry out, she didn’t say anything, because unfortunately she was trying to be brave. I had forgotten to tell her that at this point, being brave was not what I wanted her to do.  We needed to do a urine test and she was refusing to wee so we went off to wait in the chairs for a bit. The doctor shut the door and Pickle burst into tears. She cried for a good 30 minutes she was in such pain.

She did eventually do a sample and it was tested, no urine infection and this time, after I told the doctor about the pain, he did pay a bit more attention and he referred us to pediatrics.

Once there, and still in pain, we had to give Pickle an ultimatum to take some pain relief that she didn’t like the taste of.  She did and she got a brave certificate and a bear.  We were seen by a doctor and they picked up that she was being “guarded” and was in pain.  They decided that Pickle had to have a blood test.  She had some numbing cream and whilst me and her named things starting with “d”, she didn’t even wince whilst the needle was put in the crook of her arm.  Brave doesn’t even come close.

Whilst we waited for the blood test results (an inflammation marker) she was sent down on the bed to have an ultrasound. She was so frightened and cried a little. She was fed up.  The sonographer tried to make her laugh but he was a little weird, but ultimately it did take her mind of it.

We went back down to pediatrics where eventually the doctor came in and said that taking into account the inflammation level and the pain only on one side, they needed to operate.  They were unsure if it was appendicitis (my concern) but something was going on so they needed to see it.  No keyhole surgery for children at this hospital though, it would be a proper cut.

I’m afraid I lost my calmness at that point, as the doctor left to sort the paperwork out. I looked down at my fragile little girl, looking at me hoping for reassurance and I burst into tears.  She did as well.  This was everything I had suspected but everything I didn’t want.  Maybe it had all been a big mistake and she’d be fine. I should probably take her home now.  Then the doctor arrived with the form to sign.  I hesitated, mumbled something about being silly but what happens if we decide not to operate, I then answered my own question and said “Oh don’t worry, I’m not thinking straight” and I signed.  Cue calmness and reassurance.  It was done now, I had to be the brave one.

We were admitted to the ward late in the afternoon.  Told we were in a queue and due to a few emergencies coming in, we ended up being bumped back to 10.30pm.  Poor Pickle did a few delaying tactics, such as refusing to put the operating gown on (we got a Nurse to ask her in the end) and then going to the loo and sitting on it for about 30 minutes “because I want to” and until I realised what she was doing.  “They’ll just come and knock on the door, Pickle.  We may as well just go and wait in the bed.

So she was incredibly frightened and quite frankly so was I. Hubby had dashed down from a job in Leicester and was there as well and we both took her down.Laila hospital  I held her hand as the amazing doctors took control and made it all so easy for all of us, then she was put under, I cried as I left and we had to wait an hour.  We ended up watching “Notting Hill” and it did do the trick, we weren’t pacing the whole time.

We were then called to go down for when she woke up, which they did and she was drowsy and we held her hand as she drifted off for another sleep.  I turned to the doctor and said “So, what was it. Why was she so ill”?  He replied “Yes definitely the appendix.  Very long and VERY inflamed”.  I felt my exhaustive fear wash off me.  I was right! I was right all along. It was appendicitis.  I had put PIckle through all of this and it had been the right decision.  I was relieved. SO relieved.

I know you were only doing your job, triage nurse. I know you have to eye all of us mothers and fathers with a suspicious eye, but please don’t be so judgemental.  You really have no better diagnostic device than that of the Mother’s Instinct.

Yours sincerely




I’m not a big fan, it must be said. I’ve only ever had bad news in hospitals. People I know go into them and either get devastating news or never come out again. I’m not unique though, I realise that.

I’m currently in one right now. My beautiful Pickle has had a bit of a time of it and it just didn’t add up. So I came in, knowing it would probably take all day and its now 3pm and I’m still here.

She had diarrhoea since Monday and it became so severe Wednesday that she had to wear one of her brothers pull up nappies. That night she woke every 20 min, screaming in pain and by 11pm she was then sick. It didn’t feel right so I took her to A&E. Nurse on reception pulled a face to indicate I was over reacting and told me that it would be a 2 hr wait. After 30 min, Pickle’s tummy felt better so I waited 45 min and took her home again. Yesterday she saw the GP who didn’t think it was appendicitis and said she was dehydrated. She managed a bit of pizza for dinner and went to bed and slept well.

She woke up at 4.45am this morning screaming again. Hubby was away so she came into my bed and nothing I did was helping her. I gave her Calpol and after an hour of screaming in pain she fell asleep. We all woke at 8.30am and 10 minutes later she was sick again. didn’t make any sense to me. Either she had gastro and was sick all the time or she didn’t.

So this morning I bundled The Monster off to a friend (who has a school age child and other plans, so a big deal to help me) and took her to A&E.

Apparently my concerns are founded as it is an unusual set of circumstances but it could still be gastro. She had some bloods taken and we’re waiting the results.

I hate this. The worrying, the fear. Part of me wants it to come back positive so we know what it is and it can be fixed. the other part of me doesn’t want my 5 year old to need an op so I’m hoping that it comes back negative. If its the latter, I’ll be happy if we come home and she gets better but it’ll be horrible if she’s sick again.

This post doesn’t make any sense but I needed to write it out. She’s asleep and looks so serene, so hopefully whatever it is, it’s passed.

Fingers crossed its nothing serious.

UPDATE 06/05 – It was appendicitis.  She was operated on at 10.30pm and is making a speedy recovery.  Lesson learnt. Trust your instinct.



I’ve had an epiphany.

I really have.  I reached breaking point on Sunday.  Tired, emotional and in the midst of tidying the house and I had one fleeting thought about work and BAM I started feeling dizzy.  I took a moment to sit down and it didn’t go away.  My heart started palpitating and I felt a bit sick and I realised……I was having a panic attack.

 So I told hubby I wasn’t feeling very well and headed upstairs to lie down for a bit.  I didn’t want to sleep so I didn’t shut my eyes, I just lay there wondering what the bloody hell was going on with me that I keep on having all these anxiety attacks happen to me. At this point I realised I had had a thought about work.  Could this really be the issue?

 So I picked up my notebook and started scribbling a pros and cons list.  This is what it looked like (I’ve typed it up so you can read it). Pros and Cons

 It looks pretty conclusive to me.

Admittedly on the top list the “money” side is heavily weighted.  I earn very well, but it’s clearly not making me any happier and I’ve got the same % of disposable income I had 10 years ago, because in order to keep my life ticking over 10 years later I have to spend more. 

Pickle’s love of her school is also heavily weighted.  I get very emotional about things like this. She loves her little friends and I would feel awful ripping her from that.  That all said though my husband moved about 4 times as a child to different parts of the country and has no bad memory of any move and I moved from one school to another at 8 years old and I don’t remember being distraught at all.  Still, the thought of doing it to Pickle weighs heavy on my heart.

 However, I can’t ignore the stark truth.  By simply writing down that list above and I looked at it in disbelief.  This is how I’m running my life.  Seems a pretty awful way to run your life if I’m honest.  I’ve worked out how to make me happy out of work (painting, Gardening etc..) so now I need to focus on my day to day life.

I had a brief chat with hubby about it after I skulked back downstairs with my list.  I think the first step is to find another job.  I don’t need to rush into it, but I need to start making some changes.  I’ll set a goal for September to produce a CV I can use and adapt for possible new job applications (seems a long way off, but we’re in July now and Pickle is on school holidays soon and we have a holiday booked in August).  Then I need to start looking at companies I might like to work for as well as looking out for jobs.  The most critical thing is to either work less hours OR find a job that will allow me to work a few days at home.  THAT will make all the difference I think.  I also need to brace myself for loss of income.  I will keep looking at the pros and cons list above and remind myself why I don’t need it.

If I find a job outside London but commutable, then we can stay where we are until we’ve worked out our strategy. This seems a less drastic plan of action than looking further afield and finding a new job AND a new house. After that, we can look to moving out and finding the place we REALLY want to live.  Hubby agrees. We really need to do this. Our house is not our forever house.

I’ve already had a few wobbles about my decision.  I get my long service leave in March and get an extra 2 weeks holiday. Part of me doesn’t want to squander that, but I have to be realistic. It’s only 2 weeks, it’ll be gone in a flash. I have just had my car allowance raised and was looking to get a new car.  Why is that so important? It really isn’t.  The mere thought of Pickle going to a new school or the fact a new school might not we walkable, worries me.  I love to worry about things I don’t even know is the truth. I need to calm down and just focus on each little baby step.

Each baby set that will slowly, s l o w l y create the life I’m dreaming of.