Every parents worst fear is that their child will be unhealthy. You worry about it all through the pregnancy and then once they are born, you take all the necessary precautions to make sure they are free from harm. So when a 111 call resulted in an ambulance turning up outside our apartment building, our whole world stopped dead in it’s tracks.
Austin had been suffering with a chesty cough and a cold for about 4 days, when we thought enough was enough. We took him to the doctors to get checked out, and everything came back okay. His chest was clear and we were told that he just had a bad case of ‘Man Flu’. The next day though, he took a turn for the worse and his temperature came in at a concerning 39.9. He was hot enough to heat the whole apartment. I could have fried an egg on his forehead.
I came home from work that day to find Amy on the phone to 111. I could tell something wasn’t right by the worried look on her face. “They are sending an ambulance for him”. No parent wants to hear these words. I’d never even been in an ambulance myself and I was 26 years old. My son was 10 months old and was having his first experience. Poor little guy.
The ambulance turned up and they carried out some tests on him right there in the car park. What made the situation worse was the nosey neighbours hanging out of the windows to see what was going on, making no efforts to be discreet about it. It was like a bunch of tourists come to watch feeding time at the zoo. Like the monkeys in zoos, I just wanted to launch my poo at them to make them go away. I didn’t, thankfully.
I followed the ambulance down to the hospital in my car. It was like something out of a movie scene. There were no sirens, but being escorted to the hospital by an ambulance made the situation feel very real. We were seen by various different doctors over the next couple of hours, and it was becoming clear that we would not be returning home that night. I could tell how ill Austin was just from holding him. Usually the boy kicks the living shit out of me when he’s being held, but this time he was slumped into my chest, holding on to me for dear life. It was heart breaking.
The doctors informed us that Austin would need to be put on an IV to be given antibiotics. I’ve experienced this myself and I knew how painful it was to have a needle stabbed into your vein. I sat him in between my legs and bear hugged him as tight as I could throughout the process. He screamed and screamed in agony, and I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. They tried both feet first before settling on a tiny little vein in his arm. The doctor that carried out the torturous activity was the very same that poked several holes in his feet trying to extract blood from him when he was a few weeks old. I feel like this particular doctor may end up on some sort of list when Austin grows up.
Austin was also sent for an X-ray to see what his chest looked like. The results that came back were frightening! One of his lungs was deflated and looked like half the size as the other. All you could see was what looked like a grey cloud covering his lungs. No wonder he had difficulty breathing.
The next few days were tough for all of us. Austin wasn’t allowed home yet because his oxygen levels were extremely low and he was having trouble breathing properly. The doctors had identified that a chest infection was the root cause. On the second night in hospital, a nurse came in with some scary looking breathing equipment. They attached a nasal cannula to his face to assist with his oxygen levels. The poor kid was now hooked up a machine on his right and a machine on his left. I couldn’t even pick him up to comfort him. This is the point where my heart officially broke. He looked so ill with tubes all over his body. I felt awful getting out my phone to snap a picture but I wanted to keep one as a memory to look back on and think ‘you’ve got through this’.
Every day that went by we kept thinking, this is going to be the day that we come home, and each of these days came and went. Austin’s oxygen levels still weren’t at a level where he could be taken off the machine. For 4 long nights we worried and stressed and prayed that he’d get better. Finally on the 4th day he had his cannula taken off and his IV removed. He instantly looked better without the equipment attached to him, and I could see my little boy again, smiling for the first time in days. The relief I felt was overwhelming that he was finally back to his happy self.
After several observations it was finally time to take him home. I want to give a special mention to the staff at Whiston hospital who looked after Austin. They worked tirelessly throughout the day and night to ensure he got better and I couldn’t be more grateful to them. I’m not sure the same can be said for Austin, who gave every single nurse and doctor the death stare whenever they came in the room. Even the poor cleaning lady received a dirty look when she popped her head in.
It’s now the day after we came home from the hospital, and Austin seems back to his cheeky, mischievous self. He’s already attacked me with a TV remote almost blinding me with it so I’d say things are getting back to normal. I’ve told him though that he’s never allowed to be ill again, but we all know that this is only the start of what’s to come. What I do know now though, is that I’ve got a strong little soldier on my hands. Daddy is so proud.
If you’ve had a similar experience I’d love to hear about it. Leave them in the comments below. Thanks to everyone who showed their support and love for Austin over the past week, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.