Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My great-niece is currently in

hospital. She has been ill for some weeks now. My brother first alerted us to the problem.
She stopped walking and would cry if she had to stand. She did not want to eat. At sixteen months of age she does not have the language to try and explain where or how something hurts. Nevertheless it was obvious that something is seriously wrong.
Her parents were fobbed off at first, accused of being over-anxious they were told that she was just looking for attention. As she had been a particularly amenable child until recently that seemed so unlikely they ignored that and sought further help.
Then she fell off the sofa while playing a game with her sister - and broke her left arm in two places. It is now in plaster.
And the other problems continued. My niece and her husband are exceptionally good parents - a fact noted by many other people. My niece trained as a teacher. Her husband has been a hands on father from the moment of birth. The two little girls get a great deal of love and attention. Like all children they have their moments but their parents also expect them to behave well and appropriately for their age. My niece encourages them to be active and, when possible, outside.
A third child is expected later in the year. No parent needs the worry of an ill child, particularly if another child is on the way.
So, ignoring the doctor who suggested it was attention seeking they sort the advice of another doctor - who sent them straight over to the children's hospital. And there someone did believe the problem was serious, serious enough to call in a specialist paediatric neurosurgeon on her day off. She had further tests done as a matter of emergency and diagnosed "discitis". It is an inflammation of the spinal column. It is not common but common enough for it to have at last been diagnosed.
Fortunately something can be done about it too. Antibiotics via a drip for a week and then a long term course of antibiotics. Yes, it's serious but the long term prognosis is excellent. Even by the end of the week things should be looking much better.
Keeping a small child on an intravenous drip for a week is not going to be easy - and the hospital, rightly, wants one of her parents there at all times. My amazing sister-in-law will help so will my nephew-in-law's mother.
They are a thousand kilometres from here so there is nothing I can do to help in the way of child minding or meals preparation - or is there? I am going to prowl off to the cheap remainder store at the edge of the shopping centre this morning and buy some activities for Big Sister to share with Little Sister. If it keeps them quiet for ten minutes that might help too.
And it might help Big Sister believe that she is helping to look after Little Sister.


Jan said...

My little granddaughter has been in hospital since New Year's Eve, with a few days here and there at home. I have been astounded at the response of people to this. We have had many things sent. Now MIss M is a bit over nine years old and can do much for herself but I am sure you can find some things for this little one. Books are fine as I am sure you know.

Toys, not so tiny they get lost in the sheets. Big and bright and full of colour.

Later on, perhaps a voucher for the parents perhaps?

Miss M was diagnosed with leukaemia. Prognosis is good and many advancements have been made in treatment. But the chemo is very rough on my little girl. She's on the second round now into a central port and also orally and by injection. Side effects of the chemo are treated but the chemo goes ahead regardless.

Our family felt as if we had been hit by a truck. That is why I suggest sole care for the parents as well.

Jan said...

I pressed SEND before adding that I hope she is well on the mend very soon.

I do find that Miss M's diagnosis has hit us hard. I am not normally forgetful but things slip as I have just seen here. The prognosis for her is good but final outcome is at least three years away and another several years before all clear is pronounced.

It's so hard to see little ones so ill. Made worse when there are other children in the family who still need love and attention and who may not understand the ramifications of the little one's illness.

catdownunder said...

I sent colouring books off for Big Sister this afternoon along with a Tiger for Little Sister...the colouring books were a great find as there were three and they each tell a story as well. (Vastly superior to the usual sort.) The tiger is lovely, not too big for small hands, washable and a very friendly expression...
I feel for your family though Jan - it's a long, hard haul but at least the prognosis is good these days and improving all the time. It's exhausting though for everyone and puts a huge strain on everyone. Hug her gently from me!

jeanfromcornwall said...

That's a really nasty situation for the poor little soul, and for her family. Thank goodness she does have parents who did the right thing!
Fervent wishes for a good recovery being sent from up-over.

Anonymous said...

I think your reaction to send activities for big sister to be involved was just about as right as anything.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Jean. It could have been much more serious.
I'll be interested in Big Sister's reaction Judy. She loves playing with her.