The Nation's Health + Parenting 101

Are We There Yet?

I know, I know. You child is ill. The apple of your eye, the light of your life is suffering and there is only one thing to do. Throw you hands in the air, scream, panic, flap your arms, run round in circles, call your mum, call your friends, call NHS direct for advice. Once you have ignored all of them, because obviously they are all wrong, run to your GP. Or not! I know it's scary, I myself had many a sleepless night because I hadn't heard my baby cough or move for at least 8 seconds, but please, don't act like a maniac! See it from our point of view... you are an adult, a responsible adult, yet you are acting like a numpty! Breathe! Breathe some more! Now stop. Listen. Listen to what we are ALL telling you! We are the people in the know! You have asked us for an opinion because deep down, you know we will do what is right for you and your beloved! Basically, just chill your beans!

"10 week old baby, breathing difficulties, limp, GP on scene"

18:01 and we are off! Off to a GP surgery. Probably because the GP wants to go home and doesn't want to be late off. God forbid!

We arrived and wandered through the maze of corridors, past the many shocked looking faces in the waiting room and towards one of the consultation rooms. As we got closer to the door it became apparent there was a rather unhappy baby inside. The screaming was deafening, there were certainly no 'breathing difficulties' going on here!

We entered the room; a very worried looking mother was sat on a chair, baby in arms, accompanied by the GP and two nurses. It transpired that the baby had its first vaccinations today and apparently went pale and limp about an hour ago. Despite the current lack of symptoms the GP had put the baby on full flow oxygen. She stated we were to take the baby to the nearest A & E department for a check-up. It was from this point that things took a rather frantic turn.

The child's mother was about 35 years old, well spoken and well dressed. It was her first child, so I can empathise with her for feeling worried; however she took the fear to a whole new level. As we picked up our response bags to leave she stood up headed for the exit. When I say headed, I should really say sprint, Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up. She worked her way through the maze of corridors turning left and right like Miss Pac Man on speed. A frequent turn of the head over the shoulder to see if we were still close behind was accompanied by bizarre questions like "does your ambulance have resuscitation equipment?" and "Is there oxygen on your ambulance?"

Bear in mind, there is nothing wrong with her child, no swelling or reddening at the injection site, no temperature, the chest was clear; in fact all the observations were normal. The baby was very hungry and was telling everyone within 100 meters this was the case! Despite constant reassurance she just became more and more panicked. Once on the ambulance my crew-mate began the arduous task of trying to obtain her details. "Are we moving yet?" "When are we leaving?" were the responses to the basic "What is your address?" questions. After 45 seconds of observing this frustrating interaction I'd had enough. I went and sat behind the wheel ready to leave.

It was 1.3 mile journey to the hospital; I hadn't gone 100 yards when I heard "Are we there yet?" How on earth could we possibly be there yet? Surely she isn't that stupid. I was wrong. Every time, and I mean every time I put my foot on the brake pedal or stopped at the traffic lights I heard "Are we there yet?" I could hear the frustration in my crew mate's voice grow with every reply until eventually I heard "No, we are not, I can assure you that when we do arrive, however, the driver will stop the ambulance and let us out, until then, could you please answer my questions." A wry smile spread across my face and remained there.

After a very long 4 minutes we arrived. I opened the door and, like a springbok on the Savannah, out she jumped, baby in hand, "where do I go?" We ushered her in the direction of the door and off she went. We followed at a medium pace as she continued to take 5-6 paces, look over her shoulder and then continue. She was waiting at the nurses' station when we arrived. Anyway, a handover was given, blah blah blah and we left the poor staff to deal Mrs Frantic and her crying sprog (still very hungry)!

In itself it was an easy job, a walk on /walk off, just how we like em'. However, it was ruined by relatives yet again! And for some reason it really irked us. How dare she? She probably has a very nice home, a very nice husband, and very nice bank balance, a very nice job, a very nice supportive family and very nice friends. She probably has at least a 2:1 in a social sciences degree (she looks the type) so has had a good education but none of that has given her the ability to respect our opinions and professional advise. She spoke to us like we were dirt on her shoe, a couple of chauffeurs dressed in green that certainly have no medical training of which to base an opinion on. What do we know? If she had just taken a moment to listen to us and the GP telling her that babies do in fact cry, and that he was probably hungry, all of this could be avoided. She would be at home with her husband, baby asleep with a full stomach of milk and we would be attending another call in good moods. Instead we are hacked off and ranting. So what did we do?

Comfort eat...

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Relevant to: Are We There Yet? + Parenting 101