This week, my 9 year old daughter was sick. She went to bed early on Tuesday, and stayed in bed all day Wednesday. Her symptoms made me think she was suffering from a mega migraine, so I took her to the doctor on Thursday morning. She was prescribed anti-nausea medication so she could keep the ibuprofen down and get rid of the headache.
It didn't work, and she grew worse by mid-afternoon. I used the NHS Direct symptom checker and was advised to call immediately. The nurse on the phone asked me to get her to hug her knees and touch her chin to her knees. When she couldn't do it, the nurse immediately called an ambulance. Meningitis was suspected.
This was, understandably, very worrying for me. My daughter was ill and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it, but wait for the ambulance.
At this point, I learned that I am not organised enough and need to keep my house in order so we can be better prepared in emergencies. This will take a lot of work.
-2-While at the hospital, my daughter was given the best possible care. We didn't have to wait very long for anything, from the ambulance to the A&E staff to the children's ward. The staff treated her with great respect and dignity, and explained every procedure to her before carrying through with it.
The doctor wasn't sure if it was meningitis, but explained that it was best to treat it as if it was, and scale back treatment appropriately from there. I felt like we were in a bit of a whirlwind of medical treatment, but I also saw the professionalism of the staff and took comfort that this was just another day on the job for them.
I learned that my appreciation for modern medicine and the NHS is fervent and loyal. No matter its current flaws, the NHS takes care of urgent cases promptly and efficiently. I am incredibly grateful.
-3-When I was told that my daughter would need a lumbar puncture in order to tap spinal fluid and find out what was going on inside her body, I was incredibly worried. Needles in the spine just doesn't sound good!
As I explained things to my daughter, she told me she was afraid. I learned that I am capable of handling my fears and taking on my child's in order to make her feel safer. I never hid the truth of what would be happening, but I was able to keep her calm in the face of pain and the unknown. She leaned on me, and I leaned on God.
I am in awe of how my daughter handled the situation. We talked a little bit about visualising her fear as a package that she can give to me to hold for her, and during the lumbar puncture she told me her package was in the shape of a large, shining white ball. I asked her what she was going to do with it, and she said she would pop it, and the fear would come out and go into the bin (trash can).
I never would have imagined that scenario, but she was able to use that visualisation to calm herself and stay still during the 3 attempts. Yes, they put a needle in my baby's spine three times. Ugh.
I learned that my nine year old daughter has inner reserves of strength and resilience that I never thought possible. I truly look up to her for that, and hope that I can help her keep hold of that part of herself and make it stronger as she grows.
I learned about the power of prayer and positive thinking. When I sent messages to my friends and family about her illness, the flood of well wishes and prayers literally buoyed me up. Knowing that there were people on their knees in behalf of my child was humbling and fortifying.
Many times in my life I have heard about other people saying they could literally feel the prayers of others helping them get through a tough time. I always thought it was a lovely idea, but never really experienced something so literal. Now that I have, I am 100% certain that prayer is powerful.
My daughter is doing great now. She definitely does not have bacterial meningitis, but she may have had viral meningitis. She is at home for the time being, but will need to go back to the hospital tonight and tomorrow for more medicine and observation. While I type this, she is upstairs laughing with her brother, so I think she'll be okay. :)