Thursday, 30 July 2009

Poor William!

My son has been very poorly this week, but is now on the mend. For all interested parties, including the lovely people who've been in contact via Facebook, here's the drama in full...

On Sunday afternoon William started complaining of the occasional tummyache, but nothing dramatic. On Monday afternoon Healey got a call him from the nursery. They said he had a high temperature and earache and were confirming that it was ok to give him Calpol. Healey rang me to let me know. Half an hour later they called again to say his temp hadn't responded to the Calpol so I jumped in a taxi. By the time I got there he'd - predictably - perked up and ran across the nursery to me. He seemed warm and a little miserable but was excited to see the taxi and his usual chatty self all the way home, racing me to the door! I asked Wills if his ear hurt and he said no. He then proceeded to ask for everything edible he could think of: biscuits, fruit, pasta and so forth! I gave him a fromage frais and he watched CBeebies until he finally fell asleep at around 5pm. When he later woke up (after Heals had come home) he had a temperature of 102c and was pretty miserable, still complaing of headache and now also stomach and lower pains, doubling up and crying. I suspected a urine/kidney infection (something I myself am prone to) so I checked the NHS Direct website but all the symptoms were either disparate or conflicting (during this time I also checked William for signs of meningitis, as I was worried about the headache) so I rang the NHS Direct phoneline (as he's under 5 years old and they say to so that in any case.)

That was when mummy lost it, I'm afraid...

"Welcome to NHS Direct. We are sorry but due to the swine 'flu pandemic we are extremly busy. If you are calling about swine 'flu, blah, blah, the following number, blah, blah, blah. If you wish to use our online symptom checker, go to www dot blah, blah, blah... or call the following number and so forth blah, blah, blah... If you have any other enquiry, etc, please stay on the line.

So I stayed on the line.

"Thank you for calling NHS Direct...blah,. blah. blah...swine 'flu, press 1...blah, blah, blah...pandemic, press 2...other enquiries, press 3..."

So I pressed 3.

"We are sorry that due to the swine 'flu pandemic all our operators are busy. If your call is urgent, please try again later."

Click...and they cut me off!


Listen mate; if my call is bloody urgent - which it potentially is - I'm calling bloody 999!

How then phone didn't end up smashed against the far wall is still a mystery to me.

Anyway, clever Daddy suggested we ring the GP's surgery and listen to the Primary Care Trusts' out of hours service. So I rang it and listened...

"Hello. The surgery is closed...etc...please call 0 something incoherent 5 something else incoherent...voice fading altogether...etc."

So I hung up and rang back...same story, but voice faded on different numbers this time, so I suspected it was a bad line rather than a problem with their message.

So I rang back and it was engaged...

I tried once more, turned up the volume to max, put it on speaker and and dictated the phone number to Healey. Who wrote down the wrong numbers entirely and even added some of his own...

###Deep breath...holding in the scream...###

Rang the GP's number again. Engaged.

###Let out some very angry words I shouldn't have (quietly so as not to reach the ears of my by-now very poorly 3-year-old son.###

Rang back. Listened again. Wrote down the numbers correctly. Had mionr row with heals about our respective listening/dictation abilities.

Finally phoned the Primary Care Service. Spoke to a very pleasant chap and explained William's symptoms. He told me someone would be in touch as soon as possible, but with the swine 'flu pandemic, they were all very busy, so...blah,blah, blah." I thanked him, hung up, took William's temperature again, gave him more drinks...and waited.

3/4 of an hour later a nurse practitioner called and said it sounded like "one of these viruses going around" and that I was "doing everything right but if he's settled (on Daddy's lap) thennot to disturb him but call bak if he gets worse or (as I predicted) take him to the GP in the morning."

Cut to next day (Tuesday) and William was no better, if not worse. I made an appointment with the GP for that afternoon and took him in a taxi. Of course by the time we got there he was much better...but the GP diagnosed an ear infection and prescribed infant paracetamol and antibiotics (Amoxycillin.) I was a little bothered that he hadn't seemed to take the diarrhoea or constant headache into consideration, but I'm not a doctor, so what do I know..To his credit, however, he was great with William and Wills was more than happy to let him do all his tests. We walked round to Boots then to the cashpoint for some money, then into Fizzy Kids soft play centre to wait for Healey to pick us up. Walked in to find a group of very large (in both senses) children viciously smacking each other with the plastic balls and generally wreaking havoc in both he play and cafe areas. One particularly heavy lad jumped right onto and over the back of the sofa I was actually sitting on! The balls were becomingly increasingly more dangerous to me and William and I thought about complaining to a member of staff, then noticed one of their dads sitting right amidst the chaos, seemingly not only ignoring it but actively encouraging it all...

Anyway, William had a little play and a lie-down on the sofa next to me and I gave him a dose of paracetamol. (I was expecting a bottle of the generic stuff, but actually got a large-size bottle of Calpol - for free! Under 16s are exempt from paying for meds, of course.) Just after half five Heals turned up and we went home. I phoned Mum back with an update (she'd called in the morning, just after I'd made the doctors' appointment.)

Next day; Wednesday. William came in our room at 6am with what was now a very severe headache and still had a temperature of 100+ I phoned the GP again as the regular doses of Calpol (and also infant ibruprofen) obviously weren't touching the pain, but after making the appointment I realised we might see the same doc again who might simply stand by his diagnosis and tell us to merely wait for the meds to start working. So I suggested we go to A&E instead (as the primary service is shut during surgery hours.) Heals tried to give William his second dose of antibiotics but he'd remembered how it had tasted yesterday and refused point-blank. It's supposed to taste of banana...! He then lay on the floor, head in his hands, obviously in pain in his head so I took the bull by the horns and insisted we go to A&E. Heals cancelled the GP appointment and off we went.

Predictably, as soon as William saw the ambulances he perked up again, but the triage nurse in the children's A&E dept had, of course, seen all that before so we didn't feel like complete paranoid parents! She tested his pulse rate and blood pressure, took down all the details and we were seen almost immediately by the paediatric doctor. By this time Wills had had enough of being poked and prodded by doctors and made no secret of it...He felt so ill and got so distressed that I had to leave the cubicle so he didn't see the tears in my eyes.

The tests showed that William did in fact have a very severe ear infection which had spread down his Eustachian tube to his throat and beyond. The doc said that Wills must be in an awful lot of pain (correct!) and that it would indeed have caused the ongoing headache. The triage nurse had told us to alternate paracetamol and ibruprofen every two hours, up to 4 times a day, but the doc said to just give the paracetamol every three hours...Hmmm...I guess we just continue to monitor him and use our parental common sense?!

Finally, he had to give a urine sample...and he's not potty he had to have something which looked like a small, transparent Hoover bag around his 'personal equipment' which he absolutely hated because it was stuck on to his body and very uncomfortable. He moaned and cried and squirmed for a long while, but I distracted him with the dept's toy kitchen and trucks, until 11am exactly when we checked and - yes! - he'd 'given a sample' (we won't dwell on the accompanying diarrhoea...eurgh!) They checked it immediately and it was all fine, which was not really a surprise, thank goodness.

So we left the hospital, feeling much better now that William had had a thorough check-over and we now knew the extent of the ear infection and the reason for the headache, etc. We dropped the car off at the garage (to have the exhaust fixed - yet again!) then popped into the local greasy spoon for a well deserved fry-up each and a little something for Wills. Then time for home and to phone the nursery with the update.

- - - - - - -

That afternoon I had an appointment with my new Consultant Psychiatrist, which is always an anxious time. My Dad drove me and brought me home (Heals was, of course, looking after William) but I needn't have been concerned, though - the new doc is brilliant! Told me some VERY interesting things about my new and old medication and is generally a very polite and friendly chap! (Will give you the details in my next blog post...too much going on right now!)

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BTW; An interesting aside: Healey had booked yesterday off ages ago, to do some allotment maintenance and to help with the Holiday Club BBQ at church. If he hadn't been around then I couldn't/possibly wouldn't have taken William to the hospital and he'd still be in pain and without adequate painkillers and I'd be beside myself with worry. Also, I would have had to cancel my appointment with the psyche doc, as Wills was unable to go to nursery and I couldn't have taken him with me. Once again, God has shown that He puts people where they NEED to be, rather than where they simply WANT to be!

PHEW!!! That was a long post - thanks for sticking with me..!

Em ♥

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Things that Make You Go Hmmm...#1

In anticpation of our trip to France in August, I popped into the camping shop for a browse around.

They have a paperback book there called 'Europe on a Shoestring.'

The book costs £15.99!!!


Thursday, 16 July 2009

Thought for the Day #1

Is it just me or are there more cranes around Britain these days?


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Mr and Mrs kindly request the pleasure of your company...!

I'm in a play tonight, Lavender Wedding, at the West End Centre, Aldershot (hereafter known as The Westy!) We had the dress rehearsal last night and all went pretty well - I certainly performed better than I expected!

I've been a member of the OWZAT theatre company for 7 months now and I'm really enjoying it - good fun, good people! We're a small troupe, usually never more than between 9 and 11 of us at any one time, so it wasn't too scary for me to join in. I was given a bit of a baptism of fire - The groups' leader and one of my best friends, Bekki, asked me to fill in after she had to pull out of the role she was playing in the 'alternative' Christmas production, Supermarket Sleep. I literally (and I don't use that word often) had one dress rehearsal, then I was in front of an audience! Luckily I have many years of experience of treading the Westy boards and the part wasn't too demanding so it wasn't really daunting in any way - the worst part was joining in with a close-knit group at such a late stage in the show. Fortunately for me, OWZAT are a very sweet group of friends and I had already met four of them before (Hash, Alison and Bekki's sister, Emma.) The other problem was that I was very out of practice; my previous theatre company - the STC (Studio Theatre Company) - having split a few years ago. I've been doing a bit of street theatre and walkabout performances since, usually with Healey, but that's a whole different ball game! OWZAT's plays are improv-based - so no script and the play writes itself as we go along. Fun but very challenging!

Anyway, the curtain goes up at 8pm so if you find yourself in Aldershot which nothing better to do, feel free to drop by. And the best bit? The audience is 'private - by invitation' so there's no ticket required. In other words, it's free!!!

Friday, 10 July 2009

OK...this could take some time!

I have soooooo many things to tell you about and I'm not sure where to start, so I'll begin at the beginning (a couple of weeks ago) and split it into two or three blog posts. (If I forget anything I'll come back to it later...)

- - - - - - - - - - -

The Friday evening before last I went to my cousin, Becky's, wedding reception. It was lovely to see her and her son, Jake and finally meet her new husband, Jordan. Her parents, my Auntie Sue and Uncle Andy and her 'little' brother, Jamie (who's about 8ft tall!) were all there, of course but so was my Auntie Jane and Uncle Gordon and their daughter, Tabitha.

It was so fantastic to see them all and have a bit of a catch-up. I had great conversation with Gordon re; photography and creative worship. (Gordon is a Church Army captain.) They both live in Brighton - one of my favourite places on the planet! - and have invited us to stay with them sometime soon. I can't wait!

The wedding itself actually took place in Antigua a short while before (jealous? Moi?!) and Becky wore her dress again and frankly she looked stunning! Honestly - it was an absolutely gorgeous dress and she filled it out beautifully, especially with her tan!

My Dad wasn't able to go due to work commitments so Mum was going to jump in our car; then, at the last minute, her illness flared up and prevented her from being able to go. She was gutted as she desperately wanted come and had particularly looked forward to seeing her brother (Andy) and sister (Jane) whom she hadn't seen for far too long.

The evening made me realise two things:

1) I have a gorgeous, loving family. I am truly blessed by that.
2) We need a Woody-do and soon!!! (Wood is the family name...)

- - - - - - - - -

On Saturday I went to my friend Louise's hen do. It was such a great day!

In the afternoon we all met in London and went up to the Paradise Gardens Festival What a fantastic place! Music, fancy dress, all the usual 'interesting' festival-going-types, good food, drinkies and dancing...all in generous amounts and all for free!!! (Well,...alright, you did have to pay for your food and drink but that's fair enough!) There was even a funfair and a Wall of Death! (Video to follow!) At one point somebody said 'fancy dress' to me and I found myself making my way, trance-like, to a corner of a tent where you can dress up for free and for £1
they take a photo of you on a bluescreen background then add a fake background. Jen and I went for it in a big way! We had a shot of us together as mermaids and I had another in a Carmen Miranda-style outfit and headress! The resulting shots were so cheesy they were practically dripping with mozarella - and my solo pic was simply awful! Great fun!!! I did have a little wobble though, thinking how much Heals would've loved it...

One of the best parts of the day was the time spent in the Parlure Spiegel Tent - it was like stepping back into the 1920s! As the Pimms flowed we were given a few lessons in jive dance and opportunities to watch the professionals then give it a go ourselves! The 'tent' itself is a work of art, too - a must-see!

In the evening we went to this odd little place in Soho. It's one of those places that can't quite make it's mind up what it's supposed to be, so it seems to have settled with being whatever brings the most money in - which is, inevitably, a club. This means they can charge a £15 cover charge, then charge you for food and drink on top - not even a first-one-free deal! Just as the conversation was starting to run a bit dry the 'entertainment' started. A kind of blues/funk scratch band took to the 3/4 square-inch stage and kicked off with quite a decent attempt at some blues numbers. Maybe I've been spoilt over the years, but I remember frequenting many blues clubs across London and Copenhagen and they were...well...not brilliant. The lead singer had tons of great, fun personality, the trouble was most of it belonged to Prince. And there's something about a very camp, petite twenty-something mimicking Will Young that just doesn't suit the blues!

The rest of the band were pretty good though. The whole outfit had that typical 'working-the-circuit/whoever turns up plays' thing going on - which in my experience IS very blues! I suppose that way if the gig goes belly-up, they can always just look at it as an impromptu jam session?!

BTW; I shared 3 pitchers of sex on the beach cocktails, yet sobered up significantly throughout the evening. Magic, perhaps? A physiological phenomenon? Or perhaps merely a distinct lack of actual alcohol in the jugs...? Hmmmm...

- - - - - - - -

While Amber and I were with Lou and co, Healey and Wills drove up to spend the evening with Martyn. They've both been through a huge ton of crap recently - not my place to divulge - but as Heals and I have also been through the mill we thought that, as we girls were having fun, the menfolk should get together and have a boys' night in. The tell-tale smell of curry as we got through the front door at 2:30ish told us that they'd probably had a very nice evening, thank you!

I didn't sleep a wink that night (only slightly unsusual for lil 'ol insomniac-me) but I felt fine the next morning and even had some breakfast - shock horror! But it was a brioche so there was chocolate involved...

William played in the garden for a while and made me feel depressed and guilty all over again that we don't have one. I'm growing increasingly less fond of this masionette all the time...

Anyway - a great weekend was had by all! Amber took Martyn back to the festival on the Sunday and I went home with my boys and finally zonked out at 1pm!

Next year, I'm definately going back to Paradise Gardens with Heals and William. Who's coming with us...?!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

I have a lot to blog...

...but no time to do it in!

I will update you soon, dear blog, I promise!