I wrote a few days ago about how our little Norah was not well. As it happened, her fever did not go away and rose to the point where it became necessary to take her in to an after-hours clinic here in Oxford last night. It’s a bit daunting having a sick child in a place where one is unfamiliar with how the medical system works, and needing to bring her in when one does not have a car.
We took a cab around 10 p.m. and arrived at a clinic staffed by about four people. We sat in the waiting room with an English mummy who kept urging her young son to be sick, if he must, in the cardboard basin provided by the receptionist. She must have said this fifty times. After he had seen the doctor, it was Norah’s turn.
Eventually we were informed by the doctor that Norah would need to head to the hospital for the night. Her high fever and some other symptoms, including dark red dots under her eyes, meant she needed to be seen by a pediatric team as soon as possible. We taxied home, arriving around midnight, to pack for the hospital. The funny part, if there is one, is that it was necessary for the hospital to test a urine sample. I was handed a vial with an opening smaller than the size of a quarter, and instructed to “catch some pee” in it if I could before she went to the hospital. Being pregnant, I’ve seen these vials recently. This is not an easy assignment, even if she were potty-trained. (Trust me.) I failed, but the hospital did manage later.
The hospital allows one parent to accompany the child. It was after midnight, we needed to take a taxi, and I was exhausted. Alex decided to go with her. It was really hard to stay behind and watch them take off. While we were getting Norah ready I told her that the Lord is her shepherd. A few minutes later, as they headed out the door, she called to me, “Tuh Loadis my sepud.” I needed to remember that during the night, alone in the flat, as bulletins rolled in. At four a.m. I heard: it’s not a urine infection, they’re testing for meningitis…
Alex told me this morning that it was a night of sitting around and waiting, holding Norah, trying to help her not notice some disconcerting situations in the emergency room, trying to comfort her when they took the blood samples… At this stage I could not have done it. I felt so badly not being there. But I think I could not have done it.
Late this morning, we received some very good news. It is not meningitis or anything so scary. It appears to be some form of a viral infection, and the doctors believe she should recover in a few days. They arrived home at lunchtime, ate some scrambled eggs and raspberries, and are both sleeping soundly.
I sit here typing very slowly so as not to make noise (despite The Prodigy upstairs, who is popping the weasel with great gusto). I feel so thankful. A few more days of holding and humming, and Norah should be well. Many people have asked me what I think about the health care in this country. The only thing I really think is that I am so grateful for it.