Thank you NHS
This post is a thank you to the NHS, a thank you to all the people who work there. A thank you to everyone, from the consultants to the cleaners. You are all part of a massively valuable team.
In the middle of last week my beautiful boy started complaining of stomach pains, he was sick just the once and so we assumed that it wasn’t just a tummy bug. The pains continued and he described them as switching on and off (similar to the migraines he suffers from) I of course headed to Dr Google as we all do and started to learn all about abdominal migraines.
Could it have been that? Could he have been suffering his first abdominal migraine, apparently they are common in children and as he already suffers from migraines the odds were in his favour. The other thing that had made me suspicious of a migraine was that Thursday was his school trip and he had been pretty excited about going to Monkey Forest with his class. Maybe the excitement had triggered the migraine attack (if it was that). He stayed off school on Wednesday and Thursday spending much of the day sleeping it off and of course missing the trip he had been excited about. By Friday he seemed much improve and Friday was the much anticipated Queens 90th Birthday party at school so he returned to school in the hope he’d make it to the party in the afternoon and get to join in with the fun.
It wasn’t to be, just before lunchtime the school rang me to say he was spiking a temp and crying. I sent hubby to pick him up as we only live a minutes walk away and I was in work. He still wanted to go to the birthday party and so I suggested he have a nap and see how he felt afterwards. I came home in the hope he would be improved and I would return with him to the party. It wasn’t to be, he work up with an even higher temp and was very upset. I gave him some paracetamol and we settled down for snuggle on the sofa where he was very drowsy.
After another hour he still wasn’t cooling down and so we rang the GP to see if there were any appointments that afternoon and if not what the options were. As expected there were none (apparently their systems were down as well)
We happen to live in an area of the country that still provides a walk in centre service to its residents and so along we went. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve taken him to the GP , in fact two fingers. Twice. I guess we’ve been lucky and I’m very thankful that we don’t often have to seek medical help. If my children do get ill I usually self treat or seek the advice of a pharmacist if needed. I try and reserve a visit to the GP for serious illnesses and thankfully that has only ever been twice.
So off we went to the walk in centre, when we arrived we were checked in by the receptionist quickly and asked to take a seat. I noticed that as people we arriving after us there attention was drawn to a laminated sign on reception. I hadn’t been told to read it but from what I understand from conversations going on in the waiting area it basically said that the service was at capacity and the wait would likely be 3-4 hours. I tried to explain this to my baby, but I’m not sure the concept of how long 4 hours sat in a chair would actually be had sunk in to a 4 year olds head. He was doing so well waiting quietly on a chair beside me which is more than can be said for quite a few of the other people in the waiting room. Some were winding up others beside them, others were just generally moaning. Some people were taking out their frustrations on the poor receptionist who was just passing on the message. I was so embarrassed that people felt it was ok to act that way, they selfishly felt that their own need to see someone was a priority over all the other people in the waiting room. One lady who’d only been waiting about half an hour, was taking great delight in bad mouthing the NHS and how awful it was that she and other around her had to wait so long. I didn’t speak up, looking back I wish I had, I guess partly this is the reason for the post. I suppose I didn’t speak up as I was sat their with my mum hat on and not my NHS hat. Plus I had my 4 year old who wasn’t very well sat right next to me, snuggling up, wanting his mummy to be there for him, not wanting me to start arguments. I was desperate to say something to that lady. In so many parts of the country the Walk in Centre services have been closed down or scaled back enormously. Firstly she was lucky to live in an area where the funding is still in place. Secondly she was lucky that everyone in the NHS was there for her. NHS staff work so hard for a wage that comparatively hasn’t risen in many years. Pay freezes and increasingly pressured work environments don’t always make for a great staff morale but the staff of the NHS are always there. It was Friday evening, she had been triaged by a nurse and was obviously well enough to be deemed perfectly OK to wait for the 4 hours. It turns out she was waiting to see someone about a pain in her leg. I know this because she spent some time moaning loudly about her leg that she needed someone to see it today, despite her having had this pain since the previous weekend. All of a sudden she felt it was her right to see someone there and then and not have to wait. By this time we’d been waiting for 3 hours. I was so proud of my baby, he’d waited for 3 hours without moaning, he’d mentioned how hungry he was but hadn’t moaned. Another person waiting next to us had commented on how good he was, my heart swelled with pride (and worry for him). If a 4 year old can wait to be seen then so can that lady. Did I she honestly believe that the staff at the walk in centre were just put there to waste her time, sis she think they were just drinking tea. Far from it, I imagine that the people there had spent all day tirelessly seeing patient after patient without so much as a proper break, and would probably be doing so late into the night.
We patiently waited and once it got to our turn we were thankfully to be seen. I made sure to explain to the boy why we had to wait so long. He understood in simple terms that there were lots of poorly people and that the ones who were more poorly than him had to be seen first which is why we had to wait so long.
The nurse was very apologetic and did explain that given his rising temp and his other symptoms we probably should have been a higher priority and seen quicker. She suspected he may have been suffering with appendicitis and so gave the paediatric doctors a ring at our local hospital who asked us to go straight to the paediatric assessment ward to be seen.
I popped home before we headed to the hospital to get some things in case we had to stay in overnight as it was already past his bedtime.
The hospital were great, the staff on the ward were so kind and caring. He once again made me proud to be his mummy by answering all the questions asked of him (and some more besides!) A few more hours went by and after seeing a variety of different people we were discharged thankfully to go home and watch and wait. It may have been appendicitis but equally it could have been a urine infection or something else. With children it’s so hard to tell. All the way through the evening he kept asking me if it was midnight yet, he was obsessed with staying up past midnight (something he has never done) but by 11:30 he was really flagging, he’s usually in bed for 7 so it really was a late night. At 11:45 he fell asleep, missing his own target by 15 minutes. At 1am we were free to go and so I picked him up in my arms like I did when he was a baby and began carrying him back to the car. So small, so vulnerable, so beautiful. My heart full of love for my baby boy, no matter how old he is he’ll always be my baby. My heart full of gratitude for the wonderful staff of the NHS who work so hard everyday to keep us all healthy and who’s work often goes without thanks. Thank you NHS I for one am grateful!