Over the past eleven years, we’ve been very lucky with Pumplette’s health. Aside from the usual colds of childhood & an extraordinarily mild dose of chicken pox, she has enjoyed what one can only call robust health, always recovering quickly from any bout of infection. Which is why, way back in the Easter holidays, I had been fairly relaxed when she started to complain about lower back pain. Putting it down to an overly ambitious manoeuvre on the trampoline, I deployed my first “go to” treatment that I do for all my girls. Namely a generous helping of cold shoulder & get on with it!
In true Pumplette fashion, she did. I was poorly myself at the time & I’m pretty sure this also clouded my judgement on the correct course of action to take, because by the Sunday morning, as I started to emerge froms my sick fog, I could see Pumplette was really struggling. Immediately I made an appointment to see the out of hours GP (earliest appointment was for late afternoon). This is only the second time in my life I’ve called the out of hours service. The first time was when Pumplette was diagnosed. My spidey sense was on high alert.
When we saw the GP, she asked for a urine sample & took Pumplette’s temperature. I’m ashamed to say we didn’t posses a thermometer in the house before this trip so I had failed to clock the 40.7 fever she’d been running….(I had noted the hot & cold shivers, hence my call for medical diagnosis!) & neither had I ever thought to keep any multistix in the house in case of urine or kidney infection. Her temperature coupled with the presence of leukocytes & nitrites & lots of other things ending in ites, prompted the GP to make a request that Pumplette be admitted to hospital for IV antibiotics. Queue a very wobbly bottom lip from my extraordinarily stoic 11yo.
After a flurry of phone calls it became apparent that the GP was unable to remotely admit Pumplette to the hospital of our choice, so we dosed her up with paracetamol & headed off to A&E to be assessed.
To cut a long story short, we emerged from the hospital at 2330hrs with some oral antibiotics & a distinct feeling that I’d been a neurotic nuisance for having presented at A&E with a poorly child.
Two weeks later, Pumplette had completed her 10 day course of antibiotics but was still very poorly. A repeat visit to GP heralded a repeat course, for 14 days this time, of the same antibiotic. 72hrs later & she was going backwards, not forwards, and we were chasing lab results to see whether there was a chance these antibiotics were doing diddly squat. Finally on the Friday, 5 days after the second GP visit, we were called with results. And Pumplette was prescribed a different set of antibiotics. It took more than two weeks after that for Pumplette to be able to make it through a morning without being in considerable pain.
Because of the length of time it’s taken for Pumplette to recover from this kidney infection, I requested she have some follow up investigations at hospital. Her kidneys are too precious to play fast & loose with. I must say that all the hospital staff we’ve encountered in the scheduled appointments since she’s been referred have been amazing. Not once have I been made to feel like I was in A&E. My concerns & Pumplette’s have been respected and, crucially, acted upon. I am not a parent who leans heavily on the support team we have at hospital, but when I ask, they have been there for us both in spades.
For now, this episode has rocked my confidence in my ability to access the things my daughter needs for her health in a timely manner. I can’t help but wonder whether I should have been more forceful that night in A&E & insisted upon the IV antibiotics the GP was adamant she required. I’m not normally a person who succumbs to white coat syndrome, especially where my daughters’ health is concerned, but I wonder whether my general empathy for A&E staff who were visibly stretched beyond their capacity, a very abrupt Dr who wanted us off his charge sheet & my trying to protect my daughter from further distress all contributed to my attack of white coat syndrome that night.
Who knows? The lesson I have learnt from all of this, however, is to always be tenacious. I knew my lass was poorly. I could see she wasn’t improving. I just need to remember to let the English reserve go & be more insistent.
Eight weeks after initial diagnosis she is still experiencing some pain, although the medics & I are all of the opinion now that this is just post infection pain & it is improving. Just slowly. Very, very slowly.
So I am looking forward to summer & a happy, healthy brood once more. For we are all excited about the adventures some sunny days will herald.