This week, Sophie has not been too well.
She’s been coughing and spluttering since Friday, pulling in her chest to help her breathe and wheezing quite drastically in between inhaler puffs.
She’s been so unwell in fact that she ended up having a night in hospital on Monday…
…on the ward where my wife works every day!
Now that was different!
So what’s it like crossing over from doctor to patient?
Well, first of all, there is a bonus to it. You know the top medical professionals there, which does get your daughter seen quickly and you have a good relationship with the people looking after you.
Plus, with it being the first time most of my wife’s colleagues had met Sophie, there was the bonus of them being bowled over by her cuteness and keen to look after her.
All of which was very nice.
For my wife though, it must have been so strange. One minute she’s the doctor looking after all these poorly children and talking with their parents about management plans, medication and monitoring.
The next, she’s in the bed next to them looking after her own sick daughter and being beholden to the management plans of other people.
It can’t have been easy.
And then there’s the whole hospital experience itself. Sophie was there because she couldn’t go four hours without needing her inhaler and it was quite right for them to be constantly monitoring her numbers, doing her saturation levels, checking her pulse etc etc.
However, what it did mean, and this was particularly uncomfortable overnight, was people coming to check on her regularly, touching her and moving her when she was fast asleep and constantly disturbing her.
My (for what little it’s worth!) medical diagnosis was that she simply needed a good night’s sleep.
Sadly though it isn’t always available in hospital and, even though it’s for the best possible reasons, it can be a bit unhelpful.
There was one point where they attached a monitor to her big toe while she was asleep and it had a red glow to it. It was fine while Sophie was asleep but at one point she naturally stirred awake briefly. At any other time she would have turned over and gone back to sleep; however the sight of her big toe glowing red really freaked her out and she was not for dropping off again while this alien object was attached to her.
She then spent the next two hours clinging onto me for dear life, exhausted but determined not to let herself be vulnerable again.
It opened our eyes to the frustrations of being a patient – waiting to see if the observations improve in a few hours, finding things to do to occupy your child, keeping positive. The staff were absolutely brilliant with her and looked after us so well. The ward is also well kitted out with stuff to keep children entertained.
It’s just not where you want to be.
Sophie’s home now, is on the mend and after a good night’s sleep can safely be said to be getting better. We’re grateful to God for that.
My heart goes out all the more now though to those thousands of families whose children do spend a lot of time in hospital and have to endure the paralysing worry of a sick child. We’re so fortunate to have a health system which can care for them.