Fairy tale movies often suggest that “they lived happily ever after” at least we were living happily and blessed until the 30th March 2020 arrived which was and still is the day the world I knew changed forever.
Let’s rewind to the events that led to this day.
Anisa is usually full of energy when I pick her from the childminders, but on this evening in February she was dull and by the following morning we knew that she had caught the famous winter flu. She had the flu the year before, so we knew what to do and began the usual flu treatment. Couple of days later Josiah who was 4 months at the time also began to exhibit flu-like symptoms. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This would explain how she got the flu from the nursery she attends considering how children tend to play and interact in such environments. Before we knew what was happening, daddy and mummy also began to show flu-like symptoms. Yay not!
The entire family by early March had recovered from the flu but Chidinma’s symptoms persisted for more than 2 weeks. I remembered her mainly complaining of tiredness, headaches, fever, body and stomach aches but had no cough. During this period, cases of Covid-19 were on the rise in the UK.
Considering her flu was ongoing for more than 3 weeks, I called our village surgery to book her appointment with our GP who informed me that the next available date was 8 days from the day I rang and suggested we rang 111. We made several 111 calls and made some out of hours visits to the hospital for support which were not as helpful. It feels like one needs to know the right tone and language/terminology to use in order to get the timely and right response; now equipped with the right language, I rang the same GP clinic and an emergency appointment was booked on the same day.
I have never been as worried as I was about Chidinma; she had lost appetite, remained fatigued and gave up breastfeeding because she was unable to produce enough milk for our constantly hungry four-month-old Josiah whose continuous cry felt like the voice of one in the wilderness. When we eventually got to the GP appointment, she was unable to sit in the waiting room and went for the observation bed as soon as we were called in to see the doctor. When the GP saw her, he made an emergency referral to the A&E and asked me to drive her straight to the hospital. Chidinma was admitted into the hospital for 6 days and was discharged to continue the course of treatment at home. After some rest upon our return home, she shared her recovery testimony with concerned friends and family on her Facebook page.
We thought the worst was over until two days after she returned home, she began to throw up and became acutely sensitive to light because of the migraine which she had never experienced until now. During this period our village GP clinic was shut due to COVID19 pandemic and all callers were advised to call 111.
The symptoms she had that landed her in the hospital had now returned with a vengeance by the fourth day. We must have made over ten 111 calls in that week; my experience with 111 during this period hasn’t been great considering the varied conflicting advice we received from the first responders and the doctors.
Chidinma became so ill that she wasn’t able to keep solid or liquid in her belly. Thank God for our doctor friends who strongly advised that I take her immediately to the hospital following their conversation with us about the ongoing symptoms.
The journey from the house to the car usually takes less than 5 minutes but on this Tuesday afternoon it took us over 45 minutes to get to the car because she was frail. On our way to the hospital, we dropped off the children to our new local Pastors in Bedford, we had relocated from Coventry to settle in a village near Bedford.
The journey to the hospital is one of the journeys that I will never forget.
Chidinma was admitted into the hospital immediately when the medical team at the A&E saw the state Chidinma was in. I remember being asked to wait outside for a moment while they wheeled her through the sliding double doors. The wait felt like eternity.
What I saw reminded me of scenes from ER or scrubs when a patient is being attended to by many health professionals at once. I don’t remember being as scared as I was on this Tuesday afternoon, I was extremely overcome by fear.
I would usually find or do something to cheer Chidinma up, but I was in such shock that I barely spoke as I stood dazed and paralysed as I watched Chidinma wriggle in pains at levels I had never seen. I knew that I was now out of my depth emotionally and mentally so we called our parents and brought them up to speed with the new developments.
Chidinma and I took a selfie to share with our now concerned parents to reassure them that we were okay. Little did I know that this was going to be our last picture together.
None for this post.
To Be Continued Next Wednesday...
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