Unexpected phonecalls early in the morning or late at night from loved ones always produce feelings of foreboding and dread. And to be fair the combination of the words A&E, Iz and breathing difficulties are never going to sound a barrel of laughs down the blower.
That’s precisely why such calls were left to Sarah, the calming trained nurse. No doubt our mum’s and dad’s filters still only heard those three key phrases initially.
Flashback an hour…
It was nearing 6am when Isabelle entered our room, nothing new there. It was soon apparent that something wasn’t quite as it always was, her breathing.
Sarah and I both sat and listened, practically holding our own breaths to hear properly. Sure enough Iz was taking sharp intakes of breath and not much else, this was the first time we’d experienced anything like this so we sprang into action.
You hear so many horror stories these days and you instinctively know when something isn’t quite right so we’d rather act on impulse, or our parental spidey-sense if you will, and play it safe.
There’s a scene near the very beginning of the original The X-Files Movie where Mulder and Scully discover a large bomb in an office building. Chaos ensues, including on the reception desk where they are told by Scully to evacuate the building. She spins round to them and sternly says: “Don’t think, do!” (or words to that effect).
That’s exactly what we did, minus the whole evacuated a building routine, unless you count our home save for Missy. It’s the quickest we’ve ever moved from bed to dressed (go, go gadget trousers) to car. The three of us, plus the ever inseparable Anxious the Elephant, were in A&E by 615am.
When you walk into an A&E department with a 2.5 year old in her pyjamas coupled with the words ‘breathing difficulties’ things happen very quickly. We were being seen by a nurse by the time it practically took us to take a seat and we couldn’t fault the service from Southend Hospital and everyone we saw that morning.
The perfect patient, Iz did all that was asked of her from having a rather noisy heart monitor device stuck on the end of her toe, having a thermometer tucked under her arm on numerous occasions, breathing with an oxygen mask on and taking all her medicine all in one Isabelle-sized gulp. When her medicines had kicked in this was later followed by the eating of a whole bowl of Rice Crispies. Yum!
Mine was mostly a supporting role looking at my watch, the A&E clock, my watch again having not actually registered the time on first viewing, sitting down, knocking the tower fan over that was cooling Iz and pacing up and down.
Heart rate and breathing back to normal (ours and Iz’s) Iz and Sarah were home by late morning and I’d headed back to work, all rather tired from our little A&E adventure.
As well as antibiotics Iz came away with a little teddy bear given to her by a Doctor for being such a good little girl, she also brought home a rather fetching sick bowl that she wore (rather well I thought) as a hat. And it was certainly hats off, or indeed on in Isabelle’s case, to each and every member of staff that we saw that day.
As we were on the run up to Easter I bought Iz a rather large rabbit cookie for being such a brave patient. Let’s just say its ears didn’t last very long…and thankfully we didn’t have to head back to A&E to get them ‘fixed’.