Tuesday, 14 October 2014

How prepared are we for emergencies?

3 weeks ago I was sitting in front of this very same laptop working on my new post, the first one after the few months break. It was dark, stormy and rainy day, not a chance for the sunlight to shine through the clouds. But it was also a good day, because I was spending a cozy day in with Alex, finally feeling back in tune with my writing blog self. Yes, my thoughts were flowing, there weren't any more excuses for me not to sit and write and my motivation and inspiration were coming back. A new fresh feeling was taking over me, a new start.

It was also an unusual day because it was the first time me and Alex were on our own for quite some time. It has been almost a month since me and he went back to Bulgaria, to spend some more time with my family, and we were used to be with either my mum or brother or dad, or everyone at once. And as much as I enjoyed having help and support all day, every day, it was also nice to welcome some peace and quiet.

Early morning, breakfast, playtime, morning nap, early lunch, noon nap... the usual routine was on and it didn't take me long to finish the text during the small breaks. All that was left was to work on some pictures and videos to go with the post, but that was going to be my evening task after bedtime. Some people say that life is what happens to us while we are busy planning and this day proved it.

There wasn’t a quiet evening in front of the screen, deciding on which effect will suit better the picture, the post never got to be published, there wasn’t the usual bedtime routine, instead Alex, my mum and me were waiting in the emergency for Alex to be examined.
I was holding him, anxiously waiting for someone to tell me what is happening, what is going to happen, is he going to be alright. The world beyond the walls of the hospital stopped existing, my mouth was dry, my heart bouncing, nothing mattered anymore, nothing was more important. Please, let Alex be alright, was my only thought. It felt like there is no tomorrow, only the present moment, when anything could happen…

An hour earlier I was sitting on a chair, Alex on the carpet next to me. I was listening intently to a conversation, while he was playing with loads of toys around him. One moment he was smiling and the next when he turned his face to me his expression has changed to a painful grimace. He has something in his mouth was my first thought and a second later my hand was in his mouth.

After a struggle and unsuccessful attempts to take it out, the black plastic object was gone and out of sight. He had swallowed it. Emergency call, anxious wait, rush, another anxious wait. He was in my arms, upset, but breathing, resting his head and trying to find comfort after what had just happened.

Remembering these dark moments and re-creating the experience on paper is really hard. Cold chills are taking over my body, my stomach feels tight. The memory still fresh, terrifies me to relive this moment one more time. After 5 of my darkest days Alex was finally home.

For a long time I couldn’t quite realize and explain what had happened to us or why it had happened. I was scared to open the subject, to discuss, to read, to research. After the initial shock was gone I got to know that what had Alex gone through is most commonly a problem in young children aged 6 months to 5 years. 80-90% of the cases of ingested foreign bodies will pass safely through the gut, 10-20% indicate the need for urgent endoscopy. Alex was among the smaller per cent which required the procedure.

During our time in hospital I heard loads of different opinions, different experiences, I was pointed with a finger, I was blamed, I was supported, I was understood, but during these extremely difficult days I knew it wasn’t about me and how I feel, this was the last concern and pain. IT was about Alex and whether he will be safe, what is going to happen from now on, is he going to remember the experience, is he going to lose his trust in people, are the needles he was receiving twice a day going to leave a permanent mark on him, is my little boy going to be alright? 

I am writing these lines with heavy heart, but knowing that this is an experience we should always remember and which I should pass to others. I feel blessed that our little bunny is smiling today and enjoying his days, but there isn’t a day that passes without me remembering and feeling terrified that it may happen again. My eyes are wide open, but it takes a second to turn my gaze away during which anything could happen. This experience not only made me more careful but it gave me a terrible fear that dangers are around every corner. I hope the initial trauma will fade with time, healing the paranoia but leaving my senses sharp.

I am sorry we had to learn through living a sour experience what it feels like your child to grow and develop and how from a little sleepy baby, our little ones start exploring the world in every sense (their favourite way-through their mouth). Accidents could happen anywhere, at any time and to anyone, no one is safe. Some of the questions that has arisen in me are how do we react in cases of emergency, how prepared are we, how do we recover afterwards- our children, we as parents?

To find an answer to these questions and more I have decided to go through a First Aid course. There is nothing like the maternal instinct and the ability to act in urgent situation, but when it comes to the actual experience, the shock, fear and being unprepared can cause serious damages. Joining a First Aid course, I hope will return my confidence, make me more aware and prepared and meet me with people who will have the so much needed understanding and support.

During Baby Loss Awareness week I would like to say to all of the parents that a life changing experience showed me how fragile life is and how precious our every breath is. To all of the parents out there who has known the pain of deep loses I express deepest sympathies. For a moment I got to experience feelings I haven’t felt ever before, feelings of despair, fear and deep pain. All of us has gone through hardships and losses, but when you come to a moment when you fear your child’s life, your world falls apart, and nothing, nothing matters anymore. All of our previous problems seem so small and insignificant and we are ready to sacrifice everything just to see our child happy and smiling. I don’t wish to any parent to go through experience from this kind.


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