Posted on 2014/12/06 20:22:33 (December 2014).
[Tuesday 2nd December 2014]
We took Erika to the walk-in clinic at the doctor this morning. I think we'd expected we'd just be there 5 minutes, they'd either say it was a chest infection and prescribe yet another course of antibiotics, or tell us it was just some bug or other and would clear up by itself.
So we were both a bit surprised when, after listening to her chest, the doctor said we should probably take her to A&E for a chest X-ray. Again, I think we then just thought we'd probably be sitting around an hour or two, and would then be sent home, so we just got in a taxi to the Chelsea and Westminster and didn't even go back to the flat first to pick up nappies or anything like that.
I think we were probably in A&E for about four hours in the end whilst we saw various people and waited for assorted tests to be done. After seeing a couple of nurses and a student doctor, we eventually saw the characterful "Dr Ed" who listened to Erika's chest and diagnosed it as a case of "viral wheeze", which apparently was very prevalent at the moment. He proposed she try an inhaler and then wait around a while to see how she responded. On his second examination he decided we should be admitted to one of the wards at the hospital and stay overnight.
It's a little bit of a blur from then on. We went up to the ward and Erika was given a bed in a room with just two beds in, which at least for tonight we had to ourselves. They attached a probe to monitor Erika's pulse and blood oxygen levels, and that infernal little machine with its seemingly endless alarms was something I quickly grew to loathe.
For some reason Erika had become particularly clingy to me today - she's normally much more of a "Mamako" (as they say in Japan - I suppose we'd say "Mummy's girl" in English). I think it might have just been down to the fact that I happened to have carried her in, and I think as it was all quite alien and disorienting, and quite possibly a bit scary for her, plus of course she was feeling pretty rotten, so she really didn't want to be let go of even for a minute.
At some point I think Chie must have popped back home to pick up nappies, clothes etc - as noted earlier we'd just left the flat to go to the doctor this morning, expecting to just be there for 10 minutes and come back again.
Some time after Chie got back I went out to get some dinner for us, from Carluccio's across the road - reminiscent of when Erika was born. I think Erika might have been asleep when I left - I forget now - but apparently became quite distraught at my absence while I was away so I rushed back as quickly as I could.
Later on in the evening, at what felt like the middle of the night, another doctor came to examine Erika and decided she should after all go for that X-ray which the GP had originally suggested, but had somehow been forgotten about, or just deemed unnecessary when we were in A&E. So we had a trek down to a mostly deserted radiology department to go and get an X-ray. Erika really didn't like this bit at all, having decided by this time she wanted me to hold onto her non-stop. So I put on one of those protective aprons and stayed with her for he X-ray whilst everyone else went behind the big screen. She still wasn't very happy, it was all a bit weird and scary for her and it's not easy to explain what an X-ray is to a distressed 2 year old.
The pediatric ward has a rule that only one parent can stay overnight, and it had become clear that was going to be me, so eventually, I think just before midnight in the end, Chie went home. Erika was sleeping on and off by this stage, but was constantly waking up, and seemed quite distressed every time she did. Plus they'd given her an oxygen supply, the mask wasn't fixed on (it seemed fairly clear she wouldn't accept that) so instead we'd just laid it near her head while she slept - but that meant every time she moved, her oxygen saturation level would drop, the alarm would go off, and I'd need to move the mask. So for a while I was just sat leant over the side of her bed, until the nurse persuaded me to actually set up the camp bed for me. I tried lying down in that, but barely managed more than a few minutes before either Erika would wake up and need some reassurance, or the bloody alarm would go off. Then once Erika saw I had a bed too she wanted to sleep next to me in that. I suppose that made life slightly easier for me as it least I could be lying down while I was doing "ton ton" (patting her back reassuringly) or moving the oxygen mask about. I really don't think I could have slept more than about an hour throughout the night, and particularly having come at the end of an already quite stressful day made it overall really pretty grueling.
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