Im not entirely sure of the point of this post, and usually my posts have a clear point, but I had to write it, because I need to somehow process this, process that this is our life, and this is how we live. Its not a nice post, it wont leave you feeling gooey or good inside, or even enlightened, it wont make you laugh. Im sorry. Feel free to not read it.
In the last few days Ive been through what no parent should ever have to go through… ever. Whats worse is that it wasnt even the first time, or even the second, or third… the truth is, I have lost count of the number of times that I have held my limp daughters body in my arms, the amount of times Ive driven like a lunatic actually hoping the police would stop me so they can help me get to the hospital faster, the amount of times Ive entered some kind of auto pilot where I just function and do all the things I need to do but I dont feel or react to anything, because if I felt or reacted, I would have had a nervous breakdown, meltdown or a whateveryouwannacall it ages ago.
So, my daughter is Celiac. Big deal huh? Many Celiacs live somewhat easy lives (and I dont say that lightly, I know all to well what the life of a celiac involves), other celiacs, like mine has a number of health issues. Are they related to her Celiac or other factors? Nobody really knows, but what we DO know is that her immune system sucks, her lungs have damage from her many many cases of pneumonia and upper respiratory infections, and Celiacs are more prone to pneumonia, on top of that she was born 6 weeks early and her lungs were probably not as great as they should be. I still fully believe that had my daughters celiac diagnosis come sooner, we would not be facing all these issues that we are facing today, some maybe yes, but not all.
So Monday I had a call from school, she was coughing alot, so I went in, gave her some meds, she seemed fine, no temp, no big wheeze, just the cough. I asked if she wanted to stay, and she did. A few hours later, another call, she’s coughing even more. I go in, and sure, she’s coughing, but not to bad, but I take her out of class. We hang out outside, play for a bit, she runs, plays hide and seek in the bushes, ‘mummy, can you seeee meeee?’, no big deal. We wait for her brother, he finishes and we go home. On the way home I see her looking a bit more pale. The tiny worry thats been inside me that I kept brushing away as me over reacting (because Ive been here before and Im maybe just hoping Im a bit hysterical and wrong rather then right!) is now growing. We get home, she’s coughing, I give ventolin, it helps… for about 10 minutes. I call my husband to call the clinic. They have an appointment only the day after. I give the kids soup, I pace, I ask the husband to find me addresses of hospitals, just incase you know, because Id rather know where to go, just incase…… I pack a bag, why? Im not sure, I had to do something, I guess I already knew, but wanted to believe that I was being a hysterical mum. She’s getting worse, I can see her chest rising and sinking, and its going to fast, to deep, and she’s not well, I know she’s not right, but its not THAT bad…. I put her in my bed, I lie with her, hoping she just needs to rest. Im lying with her, watching her chest rise and fall, thinking in my head, we need to go, we need to go, we need to go, at the same time as Im thinking, its ok, she will be better soon, its ok. Then I hear a cough and a splutter, and shes covered in vomit and so am I and so is the bed, and thats when my autopilot kicks in, the decision has been made in my head, we need to go, and then the ‘doer’ comes out and sorts everything. Son brings towels to cover the puke on the floor (yes I obviously pulled her off the bed as soon as I could), I pull sheets off the bed and pillow cases of pillows, I sit daughter in bathtub, I call husband to tell him we are going, I take the bag and add even more gluten free food and iPads, I take phone chargers, then I somehow manage to get us all dressed and ready and the pukey sheets thrown on to the floor of the laundry room. Dogs get locked in our biggest bathroom with food and water. Im doing it all so fast, but it feels like slow motion.
By the time we are in the car and driving (probably less then 10 minutes after the vomiting) she is drifting away, not unconscious really, but not responsive either. Like so many times before its all happened so fast. The GPS sends me the wrong way, or maybe I took a wrong turn, I drive like a crazy woman, but yet Im calm, extremely calm, like ice. We finally find the hospital, but the area is a mess and no parking that I can find, its dark, all the signs are in Polish and I just want to get in. So we park in a car park, not close enough, and my big brave 7 year old who must be absolutely terrified, helps me with all the bags, and I carry my daughter and we run. We run, and we get there, and I get to the front desk, and I ask the lady those familiar words, ‘do you speak English’ and thank heavens she says yes and I sit, and I open my girls coat and I point, and I say, ‘her breathing, please, she cant breathe, she has a history of low oxygen levels’.
This is a kids hospital A&E just after normal clinic hours, they are super busy, but we are whisked in to a room within seconds of our arrival and 2 Dr’s see to us almost immediately, a nurse helps translate and then husband on phone also. None of this matters, we are there, we are safe.
I don’t need to continue the story, this was 5 days ago. We were admitted of course. Daughters oxygen levels were around 87 when we arrived. We have been in an ambulance with levels higher then that. I know for a fact they were not that low when we got in the car, once things get bad they get bad fast. We have been let out now, not because she is well enough to be out, but because there is no place worse for someone with a crappy immune system then a hospital, the hospital is also not really able to provide 100% gluten contamination free food, so home is better. We had to beg and plead, but yes, she is home, with twice daily visits for IV meds. She is still very sick. Pneumonia. Her blood tests were repeated many times already, and it seems the day we came in is pretty much when the infection started, because the level of infection was low, so we caught it fast, caught it early they say. But how is that possible when she went from playing hide and seek in the bushes to being pretty much out of it in about 3-4 hours?
Celiac disease absolutely sucks. Pneumonia also absolutely sucks.
I am so so sorry, Linda, beyond words. Thinking of you alone out there is really breaking my heart. We are thinking of you and praying for Aila and that you are held in a way where I actually don’t know where it would come from … but nevertheless, I hold you in my heart. Katrin
Stories like this totally break my heart and they are also the reason I started our support group. My heart goes out to you. A pediatrician long ago told me a mother’s instincts about her child are always, always on target. You know when your child is sick and needs help. Your brain was telling you what to do, thank God you didn’t wait any longer. Yes, premature babies often have immature lungs and suffer upper respiratory problems all their lives. My grandson also- was 4 lbs at birth and has had bronchitis and pneumonia more times than I can count. And celiac does complicate the problem. With prayers she is doing better now.
Hi Linda, I don’t know you but I feel your pain and I want to first congratulate you that Aili is out of the hospital and more important, I want to say that even though her weak immune system is a fact in your present life, and it’s good to face reality rather than be in denial. Please please have faith in her body’s incredible self-healing ability. I know you probably knocked many doors of doctors and medicine, but there are still others. It’s a huge responsibility and burden to take control of her health and find the cure, but I pray that God will guide you. Please when you have the time and energy look into the GAPS diet and/or Raw Food diet so you can heal the gut and hopefully reverse Celiac. Our bodies are capable of healing themselves if we give them the right diet and and environment. Autism, Diabetes, Tooth Decay, Cancer and all disease can be reversed with the right diet. may God guide us all to the complete cure to our diseases:) Good luck:)
Hi Linda. I read this post and being both a Celiac patient myself, and the mother of two children, I totally feel you, your panic, your desperation, and just how much you love your daughter. I am sorry that you are living in a foreign country dealing with health issues… I had a similar experience living abroad in Nepal with my daughter, who fell very ill there, and I had to check in to an expensive Marriott hotel in the city just to get her medical care without going into a clinic in Kathmandu where she surely would have succumbed to some horrible disease or infection. It’s a very scary place to be! Hang in there, stay strong and keep up the great parenting. Standing with you 100%.