It felt like we’d spent more than a life time’s worth of visits to the accident and emergency unit this year.
My eyes became heavy, and my head thumped from dehydration. Meanwhile my youngest, sat upright on my knee, watching over the waiting room like a sentinel, as she rested the back of her delicate dome shaped head against my chest.
A moment of panic struck me, in only the way an overly concerned parent could as she gave off the stillness of an octogenarian rather than a toddler.
Dipping into my backpack I pulled out a packet of crisps, which drove her back to life, observing the yellow metallic bag with great interest.
I rustled open the packet and a little fleshy mitt reached deep into the bag pulling out a fist full of Quavers, shovelling the long curved cheesy snack into her mouth, each bite so slow and deliberate it gave a satisfying ASMR style crunch.
We’d had a phone consultation with the GP on the Monday expressing our worry, to which he responded with an almost apathetic lack of concern. But when the symptoms returned on the Wednesday – a laboured groan so deep, her belly rose up and down as she fought for each breath.
As I sat on the porcelain throne, I looked up ‘toddler making grunting noises’ on Google. The website verywellhealth.com said it might be a sign your child is having trouble breathing.
The advice, didn’t surprise, but still failed to calm my fears.
We repeated the process calling the doctors, asking the receptionist to see someone, she said “I’ll arrange a call back.”
I guess she didn’t hear the desperation in my voice…
Cursing under my breath, I peered at my wife, the look we gave each other was mutual, so in tune by our relationship, we had the same idea – to accident and emergency.
And that is how I ended up here, with a desensitised bum, perched in an undersized chair made of cold, hard red plastic for the last four hours.
I puffed out my chest, moving forward in the seat to wiggle my hips in a futile attempt to get blood down there.
More time had passed when my daughter started giving concerning grunts, I peered over and saw the look of concentration in those glassy fern coloured eyes. Here whole body tensed and withered in my grip and she let out a ginormous trump that silenced the whole waiting room.
The struggle stopped and my baby girl gave a proud giggle, wiggled to liberate herself off my knee, sauntering over to place her attention on the toys for the first time since arriving.
Six hours in A&E for trapped wind.