Emergency services and wee funnels – my rubbish weekend

If you read my recent “soft play and fails” post, you will know that I had a slightly annoying Friday last week. You will also know that said rubbish day culminated in my toddler being sick all over one of my friends. What you don’t know is that vomit was only the beginning.

The worst thing about my 1yo’s bug that night (besides the usual feelings of worry about him) was the fact that I currently have no washing machine. You can imagine the “joy” of dealing with pukey clothes without being able to just bung them in the machine. I didn’t deal with them. I hid them in a far corner of the bit of my house which is being renovated, in the hope that the plaster dust would neutralise the smell until I could find a launderette.

I can’t say Friday night was pleasant, but we survived it. By midnight, poor little 1yo was finally able to keep down some water and we all gratefully went to bed.

Saturday was sort of alright. We went to IKEA and I discovered I could put my 4yo in the basket of the trolley with his tablet. This enabled me to look at candles and unnecessary soft furnishings in peace, instead of spending the whole time stopping him from forging a path of destruction through the kitchen displays. I even think the children actually went to sleep nicely in the evening.

But cue 3am and my poor little 1yo started crying in an unusual way. I ran to his bedroom to discover he was burning up. I took his temperature and it was nearly 40 degrees celsius. I gave him some baby ibuprofen (we were out of baby paracetamol), brought him into our bedroom for a cuddle, and stripped him down a bit. Then we noticed that his breathing was a bit fast as well. I decided to call 111 (for the non-Brits, this is a 24-hour health advice line you can call for non-emergencies).

After the usual assessment, the advisor on the phone told me he was calling an ambulance. Okay. That’s serious shit. My adrenaline kicked in. Best put some clothes on, I thought.

I put some Peppa Pig on Netflix for my 1yo while I waited with him for the ambulance. My husband stood with the door open as advised by 111, to make sure the paramedic could find the house. The paramedic soon turned up and was very reassuring while she did a series of tests on 1yo to assess his condition. Based on these tests, she offered to drive us to hospital.

It wasn’t a full-sized ambulance. It was smaller and called an Emergency Response Unit or something like that. The back of it was sort of like the back of a Black Cab. We strapped 1yo into his own chair – he always prefers to have his own chair – and I sat in another. Husband stayed home to look after the 4yo.

Our local hospital has a paediatric A&E and this allowed us to be processed through triage very quickly. The nurse brought us to a bed and presented me with a sort of test tube with a funnel attached to it. “We’ll need to get a urine sample,” she said.

I said, “Uuuhhh, how do I get that then?”

“You should take off his nappy, put this waterproof pad underneath him, hold the funnel nearby, and wait.”

Me: “Right. Okay.”

I felt a heavy weight of responsibility. I had been given a urine sample obtaining job. I wished to succeed at this. Never mind I also had the responsibility of keeping a sick baby mildly content whilst waiting an unpredictable amount of time to see a doctor.

Luckily, we’d brought my best friend: the tablet. And the hospital had brilliant WiFi. Streaming CBeebies saved my sanity on this night. Thank you, tablet. Thank you, hospital WiFi. Thank you, CBeebies. Never say I’m not grateful for small favours.

So now you can picture me:

  • Holding the tablet at a comfortable viewing angle for the 1yo (which was an uncomfortable angle for my arm).
  • Simultaneously holding my head upright in a way that would keep me from nodding off in utter exhaustion (the head bobbing slowly down and then shooting back up again in another bid for wakefulness).
  • And watching LIKE A HAWK for the anticipated wee sample.
  • Constantly re-adjusting the funnel to ensure ideal placement for the catching of a sudden wee.

In the end, we waited 3 hours to be seen by a doctor. I spent that entire 3 hours waiting for my son to wee in the funnel. That’s right: I spent 3 hours staring at my son’s junk, hoping for a wee. Well, how else could you spend the wee hours of a Sunday morning (maybe be dancing in a club? I wouldn’t know).

When the doctor finally came, he diagnosed tonsillitis and sent us home with some penicillin. We never did get that urine sample.

While I was waiting for husband to collect us from hospital, I gave my son his first dose of the penicillin from a syringe. At first he took it eagerly as he loves the flavour of Calpol. But then he made the incredible grimace. This was the precursor to a later disaster.

When we got home I was allowed to go for a nap while husband looked after the children. I was awoken when he tried to give my son the next dose of his penicillin. He screamed and screamed and refused to take it. When my husband finally got it in, 1yo promptly puked it back up.

I was enlisted to have a go at administering another dose. Let’s just say I failed.

Hours passed and my son refused to eat or drink anything. My husband popped out to the shops, and while he was gone, 1yo laid down on the sofa and just went to sleep. I looked closely at him and I thought he’d gone a bit blue around his nose and mouth. In hindsight I was probably imagining it.

Suddenly, my heart started pumping at a mile a minute. It felt as though it was going to leap out of my chest. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I called 999. This was the first time I’d ever called 999 (or 911, when I lived in the USA) in my life.

The woman on the phone was very kind and talked me down from what was apparently a panic attack. I’d never had one before.

When my husband got home, we agreed that my son should go back to A&E because he wouldn’t drink anything and we couldn’t get the medicine into him. Why are children always sick on Sundays?

They were very nice at A&E and they gave us special rehydrating solution and then the doctor eventually came and gave him an extra check. She said he was fine and then had the nurse help us learn the best way to pin him down and trick him into opening his mouth so we could syringe the medicine in. It seems cruel, but the doctor said if we couldn’t give him the meds then he’d need to stay in hospital for a whole week to get them via a drip.

Perhaps we didn’t need to go to A&E the second time, but you hear so many horror stories about misdiagnosed children. It was a “better safe than sorry” situation. And the doctor and nurses were completely understanding and incredibly helpful.

We went home again and I can’t say giving 1yo the medicine got any easier. But by the end of the day, you could tell it and the rehydration solution was taking effect, and he started taking an interest in his toys again.

He’s now perfectly fine, even though we’re still wrestling him to get the drugs in. Luckily, he is also back at nursery and they skillfully administer some of the doses.

So there you have it. My crap weekend. Why did I bother telling you? Partly just to vent. Partly to say you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to use emergency services and the NHS if you feel you need them. And mostly so you can laugh at the image of me obsessively holding a wee funnel for 3 hours.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

A day out of soft play and fails

I had a very bad day last Friday. It wasn’t terrible. Nobody died and my life did not change forever. It was just one of those days when everything goes wrong enough to leave you wanting to collapse in a heap long before the day is over. And it was a long, long day, full of many parenting fails. So I’m going to moan about it on my blog, because I’m pretty sure that’s one of the things that blogs are for.

We are having renovations on our house, and I shouldn’t complain about that because it will be brilliant when it’s finished. When it’s finished. 

This day was the day when they were tearing out everything in one room in the house and replacing the electricity fuse board. This meant that there would be constant drilling and hammering along with NO electricity. We are also living with an incomplete kitchen and kitchen utensils spread around everywhere. Last week, it took me half an hour to microwave some spaghetti hoops and make some toast.

Of course all this would be going on during half-term, so I had two kids who would need feeding and entertaining all day. I decided I’d be best off leaving the house completely and decided to go to Bluewater (a large shopping mall). It has soft play, food, and if I needed any supplies for the kids I would probably be able to buy them.

Fail Number 1

I left the house thinking that the pushchair was in the boot of the car. It was not. Luckily I discovered this before the entire 40 minute drive to Bluewater. I returned to the house to pick it up. The builders made fun of me.

Fail Number 2

We arrived at Bluewater without incident and made a beeline for the soft play. It’s actually brilliant because you can pay £5.50/child for unlimited play all day, and you can pop in and out as much as you like. It’s not very big, but I find that’s a good thing when you have 2 kids to keep track of. Apparently, it’s a pop up shop, so I’m not sure how long it will be there.

After approximately 10 minutes of soft play, my children got told off for throwing all of the ball pit balls out of the ball pit. After 5 more minutes, they both started crying and lying on the ground whilst kicking their legs around in the air. I decided they must be hungry.

While I was putting 1yo into his buggy, 4yo disappeared. Then I saw him through the window of the soft play standing by the lift with his fingers in a place they were likely to be pinched if the lift door opened. Either that, or the doors would open and he would bugger off to another floor of the shopping centre. I started banging on the window and shouting hysterically for him to come back RIGHT NOW. He did not appear to hear or take notice.

One of the lovely ladies who ran the soft play managed to catch my naughty 4yo and return him to me. I thanked her and tried to make an extremely quick exit in my embarrassment for shouting like a banshee. Another of the ladies kindly said I should be sure to come back to get my money’s worth out of the soft play.

Fail Number 3

I decided to take the boys to Jamie’s Italian because I’d heard that kids eat free during half-term. This was indeed true (but only 1 per adult so I could only get 1 of the kids free). I was very impressed by the kid’s menu there. It was full of variety and healthy choices and made a lovely change to the chicken nugget and burger-based menus I’m used to. Unfortunately, as usual, the kids still didn’t eat it. I enjoyed mine though. Only marginally a fail.

Fail Number 4

1yo did a poo in his nappy. I took him to the very posh refurbished nappy changing rooms at Bluewater. I opened the massive heavy rucksack full of supplies that I’d brought with me. It did not contain any nappies or nappy sacks. I went to Boots to buy some. This is why I chose to go to the mall.

Fail Number 5

Nappy successfully changed, I decided to brave the soft play again. The lady there was very kind again and told me that she understood why I was shouting and would have been more cross if I wasn’t bothered that my son had run off. Very kind of her. While we were talking, 1yo tried to climb over instead of under one of those soft play roller things. He fell on his head. He was fine though.

Fail Number 6

The soft play also lets you rent out push along cars that your kids could “drive” through the mall. It was £7 for 3 hours. I didn’t think I was likely to push a miniature Range Rover around for 3 hours, but my kids really wanted to go on one. I rented a double car. They sat in it and it was a bit narrow for the two of them. Cue pushing and whining and mild bruising.

I did quite well pushing the (very heavy) Range Rover car for about 4o minutes. We stopped for a donut. Then each of the children got out and walked part of the way. When I was almost back to the soft play, I realised that neither of them had any shoes on. I’d left them somewhere at the soft play.

My children had been walking around the mall with no shoes. And I thought people had just been staring at the glittery miniature Range Rover.

Miniature range rover.jpg

Fail Number 7

We went back to the soft play, returned the underused car, and played a bit more. Until 1yo started acting like he’d found some stray amphetamines and repeatedly tried to fall on his head on purpose whilst giggling hysterically. It was time to go home.

I had planned to visit a friend that evening and we were going to order a delivery pizza for us all to enjoy as a treat.

The pizza turned up about half an hour later than expected, so my kids were shouting with (what I assumed was) hunger by the time we finally sat down to eat. 4yo ate nicely but 1yo absolutely refused to touch a bite. He cried and cried until I gave up and put him on the floor to play.

He wandered round for a bit, then walked up to my friend and vomited on her leg and all over the floor near where her baby was playing.

Thus ends Part 1 of the most shit weekend in recent times. Tune into my next post, where things get even shitter.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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