I didn’t expect to spend my Friday afternoon sitting on the floor of a hospital toilet, pleading with my 3-year old daughter to pee into a sterile pie tin while she vigorously shook her head at me and and firmly told me ‘NO’ many, many times.
On the day the chronically overstretched NHS fell victim to a cyber attack (in addition to the ongoing onslaught by our government and hoards of irresponsible people calling for an ambulance to respond to their paper cuts) my daughter needed their help…and they were outstanding.
Bethan was sent home from nursery on Friday morning. She was fine when I dropped her off but, within 2 hours had gone from re-enacting the battle of Bannockburn using All Of The Plastic Dinosaurs to suddenly having a temperature of 39.7 degrees…for the second time this week. I called our GP in the hope that she might be able to be squeezed in at some point this year (knowing how busy they must be). Only one hour later (and with a very hot and floppy child) I sat in front of a very lovely doctor and blurted out her symptoms in typical panicky mum fashion.
The lovely GP listened carefully, examined Bethan and the worrying rash on her back (which didn’t disappear when pressed) and tried to wake her, unsuccessfully.
Half an hour later and I press the buzzer on the door of the children’s ward at Forth Valley Royal…”um, hello…my GP sent me to bring my daughter to be seen by a paediatric doctor, please” (I could still hear the thinly veiled panic in my voice).
Bed 11 in a ward all to herself. I stared at the immaculately made beds, the ‘call for assistance’ buttons, the medical equipment. I wondered about the children who had occupied this room.
Bethan woke as I spoke to the Junior doctor. I was just explaining my concerns to him my about her unresponsiveness when Bethan spotted a Peppa Pig toy on a table in the corner of the ward and shrieked “PEPPA!!! I WANT PEPPA PIG!!!!!!”
Many questions, poking, prodding, Peppa Pig, pie tin pee sample failure, numerous successful escape missions from the bed mid-examination and a potential diagnosis later and Bethan finally had the chance to make full usage of the toy corner while the very patient Junior Doctor consulted the registrar…concern about the unexplained temperature spikes and the non-disappearing rash still present.
Registrar came. By now I was starting to feel a bit foolish as Bethan was running riot with the play dough and didn’t seem ill at all. However, the registrar (another very caring and patient chap) examined her while she waved her purple dough creation in his face (a mermaid, apparently).
It turned out that she has a nasty viral infection in her throat…and the scary rash was not as scary as first thought.
We remained in Bethan’s ward of her own for a further hour under observation, during which time she was presented with fish and chips and ice-cream and a jug full of her favourite ‘purple juice’. We read all of the story books and the tyrannosaurus rex played with Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep (and then ate them with appropriate ‘roar roar yum yum’ noises).
An apology from the ward sister (because the registrar’s return was delayed because he had been called to resuscitate someone in A&E…like anyone would need to apologise for that!) and we were on our way home with the ward’s direct phone number in my pocket, should she need further medical attention this weekend.
So thank you, NHS.
Thank you to the GP’s receptionist for your calm voice.
Thank you Dr Peterson for seeing my daughter so quickly and for taking instant action with the paeds referral.
Thank you to the lovely Junior Doctor (so sorry I didn’t catch your name through my worry) for making Bethan smile at your wobbly arm dance and for making her examination fun for her.
Thank you to the Registrar who was so gentle with my daughter and got to the bottom of her illness (I hope your resuscitation attempt was successful).
Thanks to the ward sister who checked on us (sorry about the pie tin failure) and thanks to the lovely lady who brought dinner for Bethan – she loved the ice cream.
All of you cared and did your best, despite everything you deal with on a daily basis…thank you.