I’m blogging from Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where Olive has been hospitalized for over 24 hours following two febrile convulsions and dehydration due to a viral infection. Poor Olive was hooked up to an intravenous drip for about twelve hours but that’s just been removed and we’re hoping she will be discharged very soon.
What a horrible 24 hours it has been! It actually began over the weekend when Olive started vomiting and refusing to eat. At first we didn’t know if she was ill or just refusing to eat her holiday food but when I also fell ill with stomach cramps and diarrhoea – 22 pitstops in 20 hours (and a rather sore derriere) must be a new record – we realized she’d caught the same bug. On Monday morning we called the local GP who suggested replacing her salts with Dioralyte so Sandy and Mum went off to buy those. While they were out I was in the kitchen with Dad trying to encourage Olive to drink a mouthful of water when her eyes suddenly rolled back in her head and her whole body went rigid. The next second she started shaking … and so did I. Thank god Dad – a doctor – was with me; he immediately said it was a febrile convulsion, that it was OK and that Olive would probably fall asleep immediately afterwards. He took Olive and held her on her side in case she choked on her vomit. The whole fit probably lasted only two minutes but of course it felt much longer. Olive was struggling to breathe, foaming at the mouth and I thought she was going to die. I should have been reassured by Dad’s calm demeanour but I wasn’t. As Dad predicted, Olive immediately fell asleep following her fit for 40 agonising minutes – I thought she might never wake up or she might wake up with brain damage. When she finally did wake she was disorientated and groggy which didn’t help dispel the brain-damage fears!
At that moment in walked Sandy and Mum carrying a huge balloon in the shape of a Dalmation! It was all becoming rather surreal. When Sandy asked me what had happened I was too choked with emotion to talk. Somebody called the GP who told us to call an ambulance, but Dad and Sandy drove Olive to Queen’s Medical Centre A&E in Nottingham. I’m not too sure of the order of events here except that while waiting an inordinate length of time to be seen, Olive suffered another febrile convulsion, this time in the arms of Sandy. She was given a private room on one of the children’s observation wards and a bed was wheeled in so Sandy could stay the night. I popped in that evening to see Olive and Sandy but I shouldn’t really have visited the ward with my virus, and there were signs asking people with diarrhoea not to visit.
Sandy is so used to the efficiency of Singapore hospitals that I think the NHS rather threw her. Olive’s wasn’t hooked up to a drip until 1.30am. She pulled this out after only 15 minutes but the doctor didn’t return until 3.30am to rewire it, despite repeated promises from nurses that they would be there in 15 minutes. After several confrontations with nurses, Sandy eventually tracked down the doctor chatting and having a cheese sandwich and I think she shared with the doctor some choice Hokkien expressions. Anyway, Sandy was awake the whole night, waiting for doctors and looking after Olive, who by this time was very weak and completely spaced out.
But, after a night on the drip and a good sleep, Olive woke with a cheeky smile and actually uttered her first ever command. After Sandy gave her some raisins then removed the box, Olive pointed at the box and said “more, more”! She must have learnt that a few days earlier from her cousin Oscar. I called up and asked Olive over the phone to cross her arms which she did so we knew she was on the mend. When I joined Olive that morning she greeted me with a lovely big smile.
For Olive’s lunch, the nurses have just brought her a jacket potato the size of her head with a huge serving of baked beans … I wouldn't be able to finish a meal as large as this (and I do like to eat Olive’s food). A succession of registrars and juniors are wandering in as I type this, none of whom are explaining much so we have no idea whether Olive will have to stay another night.
Update: Fortunately Olive was discharged at 5.30pm and we made it home in time to have dinner with Leela, a paediatric surgeon from the very same hospital! Olive is eating a little more and drinking fluids. Hopefully she'll be feeling much better tomorrow.