I went over to the unit early that morning and left Phil and Jack in bed. Theo hadn’t had the best night, they had reduced his morphine but increased it again as he was showing signs of discomfort. He’d also been vomiting, he was only having 0.5ml every hour which was a tiny amount but they reduced it further to 0.5ml every 2 hours.
A really nice nurse was looking after him that day. I knew that I had to go out and get some clothes for Jack’s holiday so we planned to go after the ward round as we wasn’t allowed back in to see Theo until 11.30am. When I got back to the room Phil and Jack weren’t quite ready to go. I tried to hurry them because I wanted to go so that we could get back.
We went to Manchester Fort which isn’t too far from the hospital. It was the first time I’d seen a shop in ages. Phil and Jack wanted food first, I left them eating and started working my way round the shops because I didn’t want to be out too long. I power walked round the shops but I didn’t see anything Jack would like for his holiday.
I met up with Phil and Jack after they had finished their breakfast. They went to look in a sports shop, there was only about 3 more shops to look in. I didn’t want to go in the shop, I was starting to feel panicky. I looked at the time and it was after 11.30am. I told Phil how I felt and he told me to phone Theo’s nurse who would tell me he’s ok and it would make me feel better. I phoned and there was no answer, I tried again and again but no answer.
All kinds of things were going round in my head. They were obviously busy, I hoped Theo wasn’t poorly and they were busy with him and I hoped that he wasn’t on his own whilst they were busy with another baby. I had an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, I was so stressed I needed to get back to the hospital immediately. I had never in my life felt like that before. I told Phil and Jack I needed to go back, Jack was trying something on and then they needed to pay. I was outside. I felt like I was going to burst out crying, it was such an awful feeling. I phoned them from outside the shop and said I needed to go now and to just leave everything. Jack came out of the shop and gave me a big hug and said it was ok. I felt so bad for him we hadn’t bought him anything for his holidays. He was such a good boy though and so understanding.
When we got back to the hospital Theo was ok. Jack wanted to go back to Ronald McDonald and have some lunch. I said I would go with him because I felt bad for letting him down, Phil stayed with Theo and I asked him to come and swap with me in a bit.
The afternoon was passing by, I was getting more and more worked up inside. I phoned Phil and asked him to come back and swap with me. I was really annoyed because I had been so upset about leaving Theo but then still hadn’t seen him hardly all day.
I felt so stressed, I had gotten myself so worked up, I just wanted to spend some time with Theo by myself. I needed to de-stress, regroup and pull myself together. I went over to see Theo and cried. It was so difficult, we had been in hospital for a month and there was no end in sight. Theo had been so poorly the last few days, I’d had my first ever panic attack and Jack was heading off abroad. I felt so out of control.
Phil said that my sister had gone to Ronald McDonald and that he would tell her I wanted to be on my own. I felt bad that she didn’t get to see Theo but I really couldn’t face speaking to anyone. He was grateful to her for making his and Jack’s tea. I just sat and stared at Theo until late. I went back over to Ronald McDonald after the evening ward round.
I spoke to the counsellor about what had happened that day and she explained it to me really well. She said that because of everything that I was going through my stress levels were running at about 7 out of 10 constantly and I had gotten used to that so I just felt normal. But when something happened, it didn’t take much at all for that 7 to become a 10. She was exactly right! I realised that I wasn’t going crazy, I was just going through an extremely stressful experience!
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