I read the news. I know the NHS is under pressure so I’m trying to do my bit to avoid going to GPs or doctors as much as humanly possible, but with four children sometimes events conspire against you. Take Saturday. I was doing the washing or something equally interesting downstairs when daughter three loomed. “Daughter two has injured herself,” she said. “She needs you.” She was swiftly followed by only son in a frog onesie – he thinks he looks fierce – who said similar. I went into my room.
Daughter two was lying on the bed, her body twisted, and she was sobbing. She would not let me move her at all. Her chin trembled even if I sat beside her because she said the movement was causing her intense pain. Apparently she had been chasing only son on the bed and had turned and heard a snapping or clicking sound. I got some frozen green beans. She screamed as I gently put them under her leg. I gave her some paracetamol and stroked her head to calm her down. Nothing seemed to work, not even talking about her geography homerwork. The knee didn’t seem to be swelling or to be broken, but it was hard to tell because she wouldn’t let me move it. I sat down beside her to wait for the beans to do their work and tried to calm her down. She was still wincing with pain and sobbing about three quarters of an hour later. I decided I needed to take action. I rang the out of hours doctor to see what they thought might be the best course of action and to avoid an unnecessary journey to A & E.
I was redirected to 111. The man on the end of the phone asked lots of questions. The main problem was that daughter two was still screaming every time I tried to move her. I couldn’t envisage getting her in the car to take her anywhere. She also had a school trip the next week and I could see that ebbing away. “I’ll put you on to one of our clinicians,” said the man. Two minutes later he came back. “Our clinicians are all busy. I’m dispatching an ambulance,” he said. Daughter two gasped. NOOOOOOOOO. I thought it was possibly overkill, but couldn’t figure out how we were going to get her to hospital otherwise.
Daughter three and only son were very excited and wanted to come in the ambulance. I had to explain that ambulances are not some kind of funfair ride. “Is access to the property easy?” asked the man. Usually, the answer would be yes, but the whole road is being dug up by the gas men. I looked out the window. I could see cars driving down the grassy bit on the other side of the road as the gas truck was blocking the entire road. Oh dear. I went outside and told the gas men an ambulance was on its way. They said they could move the truck.
About an hour and a half passed. Daughter two was still sobbing and was, by now, very hungry. The man on the phone had said not to eat anything. She also needed the toilet. This presented a slight logistical dilemma. I explained her options. I managed to get her into a sitting position, but she couldn’t get up. I went downstairs to consult my partner who has done first aid training. I went back up about five minutes later. “It doesn’t hurt any more,” announced daughter two. What????????? She was on her feet and hobbling to the toilet. Apparently she had clicked it back into place. I rang 111 to cancel the ambulance and told my partner. He was not too surprised. Daughter two is known for her dramatic skills. I had even told her during her sobbing fits that she should save this moment and use it in her future acting career. She had come home with a letter earlier this week, saying she was being presented with some award for her contribution to drama.
The problem is that daughter two, while being very dramatic, is also prone to strange accidents and illnesses. At the age of two she was admitted to hospital with a mystery virus and was on oxygen. It is hard to tell if she is over-emoting or in serious pain. In fact, what she appeared to have done was click her knee joint out of place, something that, if you have gone through childbirth, does not even register on the pain scale. I only hope she does not choose me as a birth partner when she grows up.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: Robin Cross and Wiki Commons Images.