You should always keep your socks close by and your phone fully charged in case you have to go somewhere urgently and unexpectedly. You should also keep a spare key hidden somewhere outside the house in case the door closes on you – as they do in the most inopportune of moments.
We had a full day, Pádraig, today’s carer, and myself, with two therapy sessions in the morning, a spa foot bath, a go on the viva la motomed, and a few other activities. So when I sat down to have my lunch it was almost dinner time. The doors in the apartment were wide open. When I went in to Pádraig’s room to check on him, I’d say after less than an hour, I panicked.
His hands and arms were shivering, his nails were dark blue, and his chin and teeth were going clapclapclapclapclap like they do when you feel really really uncontrollably cold. First I thought I could just calm him down. Then it was gadget time: temperature, blood pressure, heart frequency, oxygen levels – most were wrong. His heart beat was so fast the machine I used to measure it couldn’t cope and went into overdrive. His hands and arms were shivering to much that the next machine came up with error messages complaining that it could not measure his blood pressure if he kept moving.
Eventually I called 120. Reluctantly. But I was on my own with Pádraig and I wasn’t going to take the risk. The ambulance arrived. The crew came up the stairs, found the door closed, and were going back down when I ran after them calling them back up.
When I ran out the door after the ambulance crew, I knew I was making a big mistake. The sound of the high security lock of the door to the apartment closing behind me was the confirmation. Now the ambulance crew was back, but we were all outside – me in an absolute panic, the crew getting ready to call emergency services to smash in the door. I asked them for 2 minutes as I realised I had my car keys with me and hoping I had left a spare key in the car. Called out the neighbours to let me into the locked underground car park and got the door key for the apartment out of the car.
Back up, crew and I in, wondering should they wait for the emergency doctor or take Pádraig straight down to the ambulance and then on to hospital. They waited for the doctor and the apartment got crowded with people wearing really unfashionable orange and yellow emergency jackets. Turned out that Pádraig’s temperature had gone up by almost 2 degrees in just one hour.
Just about, but only just about did they listen to me and left him here – with a word of caution to immediately ring if things got worse. While there were four emergency crew in the apartment, Pádraig got better: his nails started to go back normal colour, his heart beat still high but not dangerous, and his blood pressure coming back close to normal.
Nothing is like it was and it never will be. How vulnerable he still is. How things can change within minutes, literally, from being ‘normal’ to absolute panic stations.
It’ll be a tense night and fingers crossed, all will be ok.
But, just in case, I will keep my socks close by tonight, the phone fully charged, and a spare key to the apartment in my jeans’ pocket… Just when I thought these days had gone, they’re back. Like watching-a-movie-time all over again. Because this just cannot be happening to you and your child.