Last night found me at the hospital with child #4. He suddenly developed severe pain in both legs and couldn’t stand, let alone walk. I wasn’t in the least bit bothered as #2 had that right after a bout of cold when he was 2. At the same time one must not take chances. Off we went to the GP who looked perplexed (she was young and inexperienced) and she panicked, calling the hospital ahead to expect me; she sent me off with a letter to the children’s A+E explaining her ‘concerns over this odd turn of events’ I tried to reassure her that it wasn’t serious, then I realised I had unwittingly swapped roles with her and stopped.
At the hospital we had to endure a 4 hour wait, a situation that wasn’t helped by new patients arriving and then leaving before us. I decided to make time pass by eavesdropping on every diagnosis my itchy ears could pick up. Then my attention turned to the young mother of a newborn, no more than 3 months old. She was having a slightly heated conversation with the police, about 4 of them were with her. Then she disappeared into a room presumably with the doctors while the cops gathered outside the door of the waiting room where Toks was strategically positioned for more gist. They talked amongst themselves and I heard them say ”16 times in the last x weeks”. And I heard the phrase Munchausen’s By proxy. I vaguely remembered a nurse in the news about 10 years ago so I whipped out my phone to check on Wiki. Between the great Wiki and my hyperactive imagination, we concluded that this young woman had brought her baby to the hospital 16 times in the last 3 months, trying to convince the doctors that the baby was ill. When she was sent home again and again with no diagnosis she possibly deliberately harmed the baby- at least that’s what the police determined. It is a psychiatric disorder and the mum needs help- if this is the case. An hour later she left crying with her mother- but without the baby. The nurses where stifling their tears. The atmosphere in paediatric A+E was very heavy and sombre. For a moment the only noises were the mother’s cries and the bleeping of the monitors. The machines appeared to be busy minding their own business, yet silently conversing amongst themselves about how crazy the humans were with their strange problems. And how glad they were not to be humans.
About 20 mins later another woman left cradling the baby while receiving instructions from the police She was either the foster mum or the social worker. My heart was heavy and I felt so sad for that woman. Of course I began to wonder how they determined that she was an unfit mother. What triggered the hospital to call the police? I took my first son to the hospital many times and even once took a carrier bag of dirty nappies filled with green poo. That’s normal for a first time mum right? Whatever! to you if you’re busy shaking your head! And what if they were wrong about her? I wondered if there were any false signals I gave out that would lead them to think I had some unpronounceable syndrome. The first time I brought #4 to the hospital I couldn’t remember his date of birth. We tried 3 different dates, all of them wrong and had to call hubby who found it hilarious; he comforted me by telling me I had a lot on my plate. 4 children plus him and running a business wasn’t an easy brew to swallow daily.
Later as I chit-chatted with the doctor, she asked the ages of my other children. Wahala. #1 just turned 13 but I’m still used to saying 12, so I said 12- er.. 13! Long and short of it I muddled up all their ages., I wondered if they’ll see that as a sign of a syndrome. I decided from now on, if I am mistaken with their ages, I’ll stick with my first story. They might be keeping a tab. I can just see it;
- Appears uncertain about ages of her children- Frequently changes their dates of birth.
- Takes bag of dirty nappies to hospital and forces senior doctor to look at each one.’
- Doesn’t cry when child goes camping for a week. Evidence here
- Uses unconventional threats to discipline children, see tongue-cutting episode and cancer story.
I said a prayer for that mum and had to drag myself out of the feelings of despair that overwhelmed me, there’s just too much pain in this world!
Thankfully we were sent home after a few hours. Earlier when I left for the hospital I was grumpy. I had a sore throat, most of the folks in my house were either dealing with or recovering from the flu or cold. I was unhappy about the icy cold weather. I was tired and felt drained from countless nights waking up to administer cough medicine, rubbing menthol on their chests, and forcing calpol down reluctant throats. But as we drove back home, I did so with joy and thankfulness. Joy that I had a home to return to, and I’m blessed with a sizeable family that’s mine. And of course that I don’t have any syndromes named after foreign Doctors or professors. There really is nothing quite like good physical health and soundness of mind, for that I am thankful to God. No doubt you are too.
Thank you for reading, do come back!