The last time I filmed a vlog I finished it by muttering these words: ‘We have a son down with mumps. I need to go and be Mum and Daughter for the weekend and I’ll see you next week, assuming he doesn’t get worse.’
(The following is what happened after that – and is entirely unrelated to beauty so if you’re not interested come back tomorrow… 🙂 )
That was Friday 14th July. It’s now 9th August. Clearly things didn’t pan out the way I anticipated.
Daniel did indeed have mumps, unfortunately an incredibly severe case. What started as swollen glands in his jaw quickly spread throughout his body to the point that on the following Saturday we had to call an ambulance, such was his fever and delirium. He had a temperature of 40c/106f. The paramedic walked into his bedroom and almost immediately radioed to the Ambulance Service ‘Yeah we’ll be coming in.’
They had to work on him for 20 minutes in the ambulance to ‘find a vein’. We had been to the doctor’s office 3/4 times the previous week and the emergency room once, where they sent him home with antibiotics and advised him to ‘sleep it off’.
If we have learned anything in the last few weeks it is to never doubt a parent’s (or patient’s) instincts and to never be afraid of questioning doctors if you are not satisfied.
(This isn’t going to turn into a bashing of the medical profession or the NHS, the government are doing plenty of that on their own.)
Dan was in the Acute Medical Ward for five days. He was on constant IV antivirals, antibiotics and fluids for a straight 72 hours as they threw everything at him to bring his fever under control. They were monitoring him hourly waiting for the tests to show whether meningitis or encephalitis was present. He had so many bloods taken he looked like a pin cushion, endured x-rays, CT scans and a 50-minute lumbar puncture, all with a sky-high fever and the shakes. He didn’t sleep for two weeks due to the crushing headache that they could not make go away, even with morphine.
Jim and I took shifts at his bedside switching over to relay the events from the hospital/home, share a sandwich and then carry on, one sleeping on the floor next to his bed, the other keeping things going at home with the other kids.
Very little is as polarizing as a child being ill. It doesn’t matter if that child is 23, 6’4 and built like a linebacker. He’s your kid. And he’s desperately ill. It will take him weeks to recover his strength. He lost over 2 stone in weight – around 30lbs.
The Doctor gave us permission to take him to our long-planned holiday in Cornwall. He wasn’t contagious, the rest and the air would ‘do him good’. So, we go to Cornwall on the Friday, in the middle of the night on Sunday/Monday morning, Ava wakes us up crying in pain. She has the ‘worst case of tonsillitis I’ve seen’ according to the emergency doctor we saw in Newquay (an absolute gem, I was too tired and delirious at this point to take his name, but thank you lovely man). She gets it frequently, but this is ‘really bad’ and results in her taking to her bed and antibiotics etc., rendering her unable to surf, which is of course the worst part for her, the absolute sporty machine that she is.
By this point Jim and I are done. We want to come home, be in our own space and try and regroup/sleep, get back to normal.
We’re due to leave on the Friday and at 6.30 that morning Jim wakes me up and says, ‘I think I’ve got mumps.’ I respond in a less-than-kind swearing fashion (to the universe, not my poor husband), and then we quickly mobilise the troops, change to Plan B, and pack for home. Daniel, still weak but recovered enough to help, takes all the younger children (four of them, including my two nephews) home on the train, Jim (now obviously quarantined) and I pack the car with all our luggage and we set off at 10am.
And of course, we get stuck in the ‘worst traffic the area has seen for 40 years’. So Jim, worsening in symptoms by the minute, and I endure a 12 hour journey for a trip that normally takes 4.5 hours. And at this point we’re laughing, almost hysterically. Literally ‘ANYTHING ELSE you want to throw at us?’
I took Jim to the hospital the next day and we go through the whole rigmarole again of:
‘Are you immunized? Yes. And I’ve had it before. Then it’s probably not mumps. It could be acute parotitis. That’s a glaring coincidence don’t you think?’ etc etc
And now it’s Wednesday 9th. Jim, although unwell, doesn’t seem to be getting worse. Daniel is exhausted, sleeping a lot and trying to put on weight by eating too much, which I am joyously enabling. Ava is back to normal (did I mention she’s a machine?) and trying to enjoy what’s left of her summer hols and I am almost ready to get back to the grind.
But before I do, some facts:
- All our children had all their immunizations. You are only 80% protected from diseases after you’ve had your shots. No. I didn’t know that either. But some antibodies in your system are better than none. Don’t forget to have your boosters. (We had them, but I am genuinely asking for another one after this).
- We have no way of knowing where Dan caught it, the likely suspect is the Download Festival, although he is the only one in his entire group to be so unlucky.
- Jim has already had mumps. To get mumps twice, or after being immunized is rare, but it still happens. Why? Because a certain demographic of parents think that ‘injecting their beautiful pure child with a toxin’ is bad, so they don’t immunize. They think they’re safe because they eat ‘clean’, never let their kid have McDonald’s, go to yoga and take homeopathy and are above medical advice and ‘big pharma’ is bad. It’s not so bad when it saves your kid’s life is it? Because if your child catches mumps/measles, you’re not fixing it with f’ing homeopathy and ‘good energy’. You’re in the ICU.
You know what’s bad? Thinking your kid is going to die from catching a disease that you took every precaution to prevent.
You know what’s bad? Watching your child endure a lumbar puncture and a fever so high that he doesn’t know you and his Father are there when you’re both lying either side of him on the bed with your arms around him.
You know what’s bad? Listening to dipshit advice over medical science.
The Professors we spoke to said Dan may not have made it if he had no antibodies at all in his system. Mumps is no joke. If it nearly fells a man of Dan’s size, imagine what it could do to a baby?
Get your kids vaccinated. And if you choose not to, I hope you’re educating them at home, away from my kids. Because you and your kind almost killed one of them. Mumps, measles, diphtheria, TB – these diseases were near extinct. Now they’re back.
And yes, I’m angry. On behalf of our kid, I think we’ve earned the right to be.
*Obviously if your child is medically contraindicated in any way from having immunizations, I am not talking to you.