I penned a column about the health benefits of breastfeeding last month. For those who read it, you may recall me predicting our little Betty would inevitably fall ill as a result. If you didn’t, or need reminding, here is a link to that piece: www.mollysguide.co.uk/blog-1/2017/8/9/breastfeeding-is-a-subject-that-divides-opinion
As if by magic, fall ill our poor little toddler did. Her heart racing, laboured breathing and 40-degree temperature at gone 10pm and Mel and I rushed Betty up to the GP Out of Ours Service at Lincoln County Hospital.
Of course, both the Accident and Emergency Department and Out of Hours Service were heaving. The NHS is clearly under severe pressure.
Betty was barely moving in Mel’s arms (I crave for the day she finally wants to be held by her daddy by the way) and was clearly in discomfort.
We were sent straight to A&E once the triage nurse had seen Betty – her age and breathing difficulty making the condition more concerning. But our worry was short lived.
As many will know, I work in the NHS and will sing from the hill tops about the remarkable individuals I come across every single day in this job – but even I was pleasantly surprised by the extra mile trekked by A&E staff that evening. I hasten to add, I am no NHS hero – I merely work in PR and have the privilege to promote all the tremendous work being done by those on the frontline.
The triage nurse handed Betty a teddy for keeps and that, along with doses of Calpol, Ibuprofen and a piece of chocolate from daddy (!), there was an almost-immediate improvement in her mood.
Due to Betty’s tender age, and the fact it must have now been around midnight, she was given a bed immediately.
It was at this point, as biased as I am, I became truly amazed at the lengths severely under pressure A&E staff went to in order to make our Betty’s stay as warm as it could be. Just about every clinician on duty in the department that evening must have come in to personally speak with Betty.
From nurse number one who brought her a bottle of bubbles to blow, to the doctor who came in for a personal chat with a girl with ‘an unusual name for one so young.’ There was a paramedic who regularly popped in to our bay to ask her: “You all right mate?” To which Betty repeatedly laughed back: “All right mate?”
And then there was nurse number two who even super quickly took part in a hide and seek game as Betty gradually bounced back – as kids do so quickly, right?
And before we eventually said our goodbyes after all tests had been done at 2am, a different doctor popped in to show concern for a bump on Betty’s head. It was a minor injury she had sustained following a fall in the park the previous night. This was the first time this particular doctor had met Betty and had not been involved in her care at all that evening. I remember thinking, wow, you really care don’t you?
I wish I had remembered all names of the people we’d met because, they all contributed in some manner, to making Betty feel so much better that night. She wasn’t perfect and was put on antibiotics but the lengths clinicians went to when, if we’re honest, really didn’t need to, was incredible.
The paramedic, who I really do wish I’d noted his name, was a hero. Every time he popped his head round Betty’s bay curtain, she giggled. I guess for professionals under intense pressure, having a giggle with a two-year-old as charismatic as Betty is light relief.
This got me thinking in the days after. Lincolnshire Media is hosting its first ever Lincolnshire Health Awards on November 14. There are 15 categories in total and patients are being encouraged to nominate their NHS hero. Maybe someone who has gone that extra mile with your child, or even yourself?
It may be a nurse, a doctor, a midwife, a support worker or a team. There are many categories to select your hero from.
Without these people, especially those on the frontline every day and night, where would we be? These people get up every day to help others – save lives in many cases.
Please nominate your NHS hero here: http://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/health/time-recognise-health-care-professionals-363434