So. The day I've been dreading has finally arrived: I realised yesterday evening that my 3 year old daughter E needs medical attention. She almost certainly has a UTI. Yay(!) (On the plus side, I'm hoping that this at least explains some of her recent difficult behaviour!)
When I realised about the UTI, my first thought was, "Oh, poor thing!", closely followed by, "What on earth am I going to do about it?!!"
So I thought I'd write out my guide to getting her to the doctor.
- Panic *
- Set an alarm on your phone to ring the doctors as soon as they open in the morning.
- Realise you have no idea what to say on the phone or what else you need to do, and that as much as your brain is struggling to function now, it is likely to be absolute porridge in the morning; panic again. *
- Ring your Mum, explain, and agree an action plan for the morning.
- Forget to write the action plan down whilst still on the phone to your Mum. *
- Type up the plan, then go through it with your husband to check you've not missed anything.
- Get E to wee on the potty instead of on the toilet; put wee in sample pot
- Put E in pull-ups for pre-school, in case of accidents (she's had a few in the last couple of days, which is very unusual for her); put spares in pre-school bag
- Ask Sophie (who comes in the morning to get E ready for pre-school and take her there) to explain to pre-school why E has got pull-ups on
- Phone doctor; explain E may have a UTI, and ask if they want to see her or can I just send a wee sample in?
- If they want to see her, ask if it is ok if someone else brings her, and do they need her red book?
- If they want to see her, book an appointment but say I’ll phone back if I can’t find someone to take her.
- Ask Sophie if she can collect E from pre-school, take her to see the doctor, and then take her back to pre-school; if not, try someone else? Who? Change appt at docs if needed. Andy could maybe leave work early if they have a late appt – 4pm at absolute earliest, preferably much later.
- Ring pre-school to let them know what's happening.
- Transfer action plan to the notes app on your phone, and set a reminder for the note.
- Realise that despite having two different reminders set on your phone, you're still likely to forget.
- Text Sophie to let her know what's happening and what needs doing, so she can remind you.
- All is now sorted and you can't do anything else about it this evening, so relax. In theory.
- In reality, spend some time beating yourself up and feeling incredibly guilty and inadequate as a mother that you can't even take E to the doctors yourself. *
- Wake up early the next morning when E calls for you over the baby monitor. She tells you that she needs the toilet; tell her to go to the bathroom and do what she needs to do, and you'll be there in a minute.
- Suddenly remember that she needs to wee on the potty instead of the toilet, so you can put some in the sample pot.
- Rush to get out of bed. Try to ignore the fact that the room is spinning and that you're feeling horrendous, partly because your body clock has reversed (just another delightful ME symptom). As far as your body is concerned, it isn't 7.15am but about 2am - like permanent jetlag! *
- Try not to fall over.
- Get to the bathroom as quick (ha!) as you can; tell E she needs to wee on the potty instead of the toilet. Try to piece sentences together in a coherent way in response to her constant "Why?"s.
- The wee is now in the potty. Start normal morning routine.
- Become a gibbering wreck as your smushed brain tries to work out how on earth to get the wee into the sample pot without spilling it everywhere. *
- Give husband a meaningful and very thankful look when he offers to sort out the wee sample and potty.
- Wonder woman (otherwise known as Sophie) arrives. Ask her if she's available to take E to the doctor's if needed. Try not to burst into grateful tears when she says "yes".
- Sophie gets E ready. We even remember the pull-ups.
- Phone doctor on the stroke of 8.30am.
- Panic when you realise you've dialled the number without getting the note up on your phone, so you have no idea what you're supposed to say to them. *
- Fortunately they take a while to answer the phone, so you have time to get your phone ready.
- They do want to see E, and it's fine if someone else takes her for me; book an appointment. Check the time with Sophie. She will collect E from pre-school, take her to the doctors, and then return her to pre-school. All is ok.
- Phone pre-school to let them know everything.
- Try to explain to Sophie where E's red book is kept, and hope it's still there.
- It is! Phew.
- Sophie and E leave for pre-school. Text husband and Mum to let them know all is sorted.
- Wait anxiously to hear from Sophie after the appointment. Attempt not to worry, but fail. *
- Breathe a sigh of relief when Sophie lets you know what is happening. The doctor is sending the sample off to be tested. The doctor was lovely with E; taught her about the stethoscope and thermometer, and gave her a sticker.
- Worry about whether or not E is drinking enough water. Phone pre-school again. *
- Try to relax. Blog about it to try to release some stress!
* These steps are not strictly necessary and are in fact best avoided if possible!
I know this is such a minor and everyday issue, and it's silly to get upset and stressed about it, but everything is such a palaver when you have cognitive impairments! I used to be the one who calmly coped in a crisis, who others turned to for help with logistical stuff when everyone else was freaking out. Not anymore; my brain just won't cooperate. It's bad enough not being physically able to provide care that my daughter needs, but not even being able to think it through on my own or trust my own brain is not a nice feeling, and it's hard not to feel hugely inadequate. I know, I know, E is fine, she's got the care she needs, and I was able to get help from Mum, Andy and Sophie to get everything sorted. HUGE thanks to them for all their help! However, whether it's sensible/logical or not, this felt really stressful and hard. OK Rachel, breathe...
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