It’s a sight that no parent ever wants to see, your baby covered in a rash that doesn’t fade. And yet, as I woke up with my first proper hangover in 18 months, this is exactly what I was faced with.
Finbo chose the day after a friend’s very raucous wedding to come down with a bug. Initially I wasn’t too concerned as he was still quite bright and acted in his usual manner when I tried to take his temperature i.e. screamed blue murder and flailed his little arms and legs wildly in indignation.
I was busy cursing my luck to have an ill baby AND a hangover when I noticed the rash – tiny pin-prick, reddy/purple dots under his neck.
James was ordered to the kitchen to fetch a glass and sure enough no matter how hard I pressed (which was quite hard – at one point I was worried I’d cut off his air supply) the spots remained resolutely bright.
It was hard to know what to do. Yes, he was a bit snotty and clingy and he did have a mild fever but he was also quite smiley and not at all off his food. I’m desperate not to be the kind of mother who has the doctor’s number on speed dial and demands antibiotics every time her child sneezes but despite this we seem to live at the bloody hospital. In any case, I decided you don’t ignore a non-fading rash and off we went.
We were whisked through A&E triage the second the words ‘fever’ ‘baby’ and ‘rash’ left my lips. Right from the off, the medical staff were very reassuring and indeed after a dose of Calpol it was hard to believe Finn was sick at all. He laughed and played with the nurses and generally made me feel like a bit of a fool for overreacting.
By the time we got to the paediatric doctor up on the children’s ward I had clamed down enough to notice that I was still wearing my pyjama top and yesterday’s make-up and that actually I felt quite sick. I was expecting to be sent home after he’d been given the once over but unfortunately, a rash like Finn's has to be taken seriously.
A battery of tests was ordered, firstly urine. If you’ve never tried it – let me assure you that getting a nine month old baby to pee into a pot is no mean feat. You have to strip them off and hold the plastic cup between their legs until they feel like going. Needless to say that by the end of it I was covered in wee.
Second was blood and I have to admit that I ducked out of this one. I’m not squeamish at all but it’s one thing having my own blood taken and quite another watching a stranger pin down my baby and stick a needle into his soft, podgy skin. Daddy did the honours and when even he came back with tears in his eyes, I knew I’d done the right thing staying away.
Finally, a chest x-ray. More pinning down and scary noises and by the end of it poor Finbo was borderline hysterical.
After that we waited, for a LONG time. With nothing to do except watch Cbeebies (they wanted £3 for two hours of adult tv, the thieving bastards), worry madly and wish I could turn back time and not drink three sambucas the night before.
At about 9pm most of the results were back. And while Finn did have something, it wasn’t meningitis. Just some run-of-the-mill virus that also happens to cause red spots and scare the shit out of parents.
|Brightly coloured toys? No thanks, I'll just play with this plastic cup.|
Despite the trauma, it was worth getting it checked out. I'd never have forgiven myself if it was something worse and if nothing else, it may make me think twice about doing shots on my next night out.