February 28, 2006
Absent Without Leave
Let me try to get it all down for you.
It's been over two weeks since I've written anything, but it's all been a bit of a blur. I've often, during that time, thought of this site and my commitment to it. More than once I thought about giving it away entirely as being something that I couldn't cope with writing anymore, but I somehow feel a responsibility to its sheer size that means I have to keep going.
So your grammy and grandad were here, as evidenced by the portrait to your right. Their visit this time was different than others they have made, as it seems like they are making moves to come and visit you on a more permanent basis. It was fantastic to see them interact with you, to feed you and play with you and see how much you've grown, what you've learned. You're a very sociable child, you love to talk to people and play silly games with them, and it was a great joy to me to see my mother and Phil get that opportunity.
Grammy and Grandad went through the magic grandparent swallowing doors at the airport on Thursday morning just past, and whilst it was sad to see them leave, I'm clinging tight to the idea that this will be the last time I'll have to watch my mother walk through those doors.
On Thursday night, my sweet punkling, things took a turn for the worse.
Before I get into telling about precisely what went down, I should make it clear that you're home now, and recovering well, and that we don't hold any serious concerns for your health. We're still keeping a pretty close eye on you, but you are, as they say, Out Of The Woods.
So here goes.
Late on Thursday night, you woke your mother and I with a few choice yells. This is no big surprise for you, so your mum came in to settle you down and try to get you back to sleep. She asked me to get up and help her, as you had vomited on your matress and I needed to change the sheet before she put you back into the bed. It became clear, however, that you had not finished puking, and that you had no intention of doing so.
After a good sustained 15 minutes of hurling, we decided that your condition was getting worse rather than better, and called the locum doctor service. Being wonderful and amazing health professionals, like so many of the ones that we met in the next stages of this journey, the locum doctor was at our door within the hour.
By the time she got there, though, you'd gone downhill even further. Lying in my arms, your eyes were rolling back in your head and you were so pale I could see your veins pulsing in your skull. The first words she said when she saw you were "that baby doesn't look very well". She suggested that we get you to the hospital as soon as possible, and set about writing us a referral.
We set off for the Children's Hospital at about midnight, your mother suggesting to me more than once on the way that perhaps my driving was treading a little too close to the line between assertive and aggressive. I won't say that I wasn't driving fast. I'll only say that I wasn't driving TOO fast.
Once we got to the Children's (somewhere between 9 and 11 minutes after we left home), the triage nurse took one look at you, said 'gastro', and gave us a bottle full of hydralyte, a bright orange drink designed to get as much fluid into you as possible in the shortest possible time.
Of course, hydralyte only works if, upon drinking it, one decides to keep it in one's belly, rather than, how should we put this delicately, copiously and violently regurgitate it all over one's father.
By the time that we got seen by a doctor, which was a good 6 hours, you had successfully managed to cover both of your parents several times in bright orange puke, a fact of which you would have been proud, had you not been so sick. You lay on my chest, limp and lank, raising your head only to drink more hydralyte or throw up. Your mum and I swapped you backwards and forwards throughout that long early morning. Taking it in turns to hold you close, to let you know that we weren't going to let you down.
Finally we got through to a trolley in the emergency ward, and things started to happen. We got assigned to a doctor, although the poor lamb had been on the go for longer than we had, and she had a bit of a time getting a blood test taken. Of course, being your father's child, you're not particularly good at giving blood, but I don't think that there was a particular reason for how long it took.
Certainly, it has the tendency to make your father a little bit tense, when he hasn't slept at all and there's a woman there and she's STICKING NEEDLES into you and you're screaming and looking at me and I'm holding you down but I should be HELPING YOU UP or at least giving her a very stern talking to about why it's not ok to stick needles into boys called Bram.
That incident was past us, though, and we got on to some more waiting. They didn't have a cot in your cubicle, so when you weren't sleeping, we had to be watching you to make sure you didn't roll out.
Soon the nurse came back and told us that they were ready for you in ultrasound, so we set off on another journey through the labyrinth of the Children's Hospital. Apparently they were worried that you'd somehow hurt your tummy either as a result of or as a precursor to how sick you were being, and they wanted to have a look at it.
So there was ultrasounding done, which wasn't quite as traumatic as the bloodtesting, but you weren't happy about it nonetheless, until the nurse found a crazy toy that made some groovy noise and you were somewhat tractable for a few minutes, but still clinging to me like a gorgeous snuggly sweaty pukey baby monkey.
We took you back down to your cubicle in the emergency ward, the doctors looked at your results, had a bit of a confab and decided that you weren't ready to go home yet. They put a drip in your arm to try to get some fluid into you that you would be able to keep down, and decided to move you into the Short Stay Unit.
I think there's some time missing from my memory here, because it seems to me that by the time we got you ensconced in your cot (with sides, finally) in the Short Stay Unit (thanks to the fabulous Mel), it was time for your mum to get some sleep (finally, in a foldy outy cotty beddy thingy) and time for me to go home to get some of the same.
Of course, when presented with the concept of having a house to myself (and more importantly, a home entertainment system to myself), any thought of my lack of sleep went out the window and my brain began to focus instead on videogames. Upon procurement of a suitable diversion for the evening, I settled in to stay up far too late given the circumstances.
This was a mistake.
At 5am, the phone rang.
It was Simon, at the hospital. While I was still trying to get my brain around the fact that I was awake again, after what seemed like a cruel and unusually short time to be asleep, and I'd just got my handicap down a few points in Tiger Woods PGA06 and bought a new driver so I was consistently getting 240 yard tee shots but hangon Simon's on the phone and what?
Sorry Simon, what was that? Simon was saying that I had to come back to the hospital?
Hangon what? Your mum is sick? Oh no. No no no no no.
So I threw on some clothes and marched out the door, back to the Children's Hospital at 530 in the morning. Simon met me at the nurse's station and we had a bit of a chat about your mum's condition. She had been puked on so extensively by your good self by this stage that the hospital had had to lend her some spare clothes, and she was not feeling well at all. By the time I got there it was pretty obvious that she needed to go to hospital.
Sure, she was IN a hospital, but it was a hospital for kids, and whilst she's young at heart, punkin, she's not quite young enough to get treated at the Children's Hospital.
So I comandeered a wheelchair and sped her 400 yards up the street to the Royal Melbourne, simultaneously on the phone to the first one of your godparents I could get hold of that they had to come and sit with you at your hospital while I sat with your mum at hers.
Let me tell you that arriving at an emergency room already in a hospital gown and in a wheelchair is a good way of getting seen straight away. In no time at all, your mum was in a room of her own and on a drip just like yours.