I think I have PTSD. Today, I went to the doctor with my youngest son to find that his oxygen levels were not as high as they should be “his breathing is not right” and he was on the cusp of a “nasty infection” in his chest.
Yesterday, my son was laying on the sofa and didn’t want to eat his tea. At bedtime he ran around playing with his brothers and claimed he felt “all better” yet something within me told me he needed to see the doctor.
The morning came and he was up and playing computer games, he gave me a bright smile and said “I feel better today” yet I couldn’t shake a terrible feeling.
I called the doctor. Thankfully, I was able to get an appointment and despite crazy amounts of snow and slow traffic, I got him to the surgery. As an anxiety sufferer by the time we got there I had used up most of my energy. But I was determined.
When the doctor asked what was wrong all I could say was “Nicholas has been poorly with a cold on and off since January really, but last night he just seemed lethargic and off his food. He thinks he’s better today but all I can say is I just have a terrible feeling.”
The doctor was amazing. He took my “feeling” seriously and did a thorough examination of his chest, glands and temperature.
When he told me that my son was suffering with a chest infection and it was close to turning particularly nasty having already affected his oxygen levels I think it just opened up a wound.
My dad died from Interstitial lung disease. It came out of nowhere.
In fact, I specifically remember sitting in the lounge just a few days before he went to hospital. He had a chest infection and was sat on the sofa in his dressing gown. My mum said “Dad’s feeling a bit sorry for himself today” with a sad smile. Dad nodded with a polite smile and replied “Yes, I am a bit.”
If you looked at him, he just looked a little under the weather. At that point he was not particularly breathless or pale. He just seems tired and worn out.
A few days later I was taking him into hospital for a chest x-ray and blood test – his doctor was not happy that dad’s chest infection was not getting better. Dad and I had a pleasant conversation while I drove him to the hospital, I remember him saying “you are a very good driver Laura, I feel very safe you know,” which was a lovely thing to say because I suffer a lot with driving anxiety.
When we got to the hospital Dad was clammy and his face was very pale. Kind of ashen. We walked to the reception and Dad was out of breath, like he’d been power walking for miles.
When we got to the waiting room for dad’s x Ray, I noticed that everyone in that room were sat more upright than Dad. Had colour in their faces. They were talking without having to gasp for air. I looked at Dad slumped on a chair his chest heaving and shoulders hunched and thought came to mind, “Dad should not be here. He should be admitted and given oxygen. He needs help.”
I started to text my sister and a friend for help and advice. I wanted someone to look at Dad and help him.
While Dad was having an x Ray I grabbed a wheelchair for him. Walking was just taking too much breath. Dad did not complain nor argue. He thanked me and sat quietly in the chair, allowing me to wheel him to get his blood test.
While Dad was having his blood test done, I ran down to reception and asked a lady what I could do to get Dad some help. She told me to take him to the urgent care centre which was part of the hospital.
Dad felt a weak and wanted a hot chocolate. So I pushed him through the busy halls and took him to the cafe. We sat and drank a hot chocolate together. I can’t remember what we talked about. I only remember feeling worried and unsettled. Dad smiled tiredly at me and said “This is so nice, it’s like our Daddy-Daughter dates.”
Even when things got really hard, Dad was always one to appreciate the little things.
Dad agreed to let me take him to the urgent care centre. He was seen by two doctors, the second one wanted to speak to me alone. She told me that my dad was very very ill. She said he could go home but if he looked clammy and breathless after little exertion, to call 999 immediately.
“But, that’s why I’ve brought him here. He is like that now,” and the doctor said “well his oxygen levels are ok so long as he sits still and doesn’t talk”
I took him home. A decision I replay every day since. What might have happened if I fought for him more? What if I insisted he was admitted? What if I took him to A&E and he got treatment faster?
What if? What if?
As I process this grief, more of the story will come out. But right now, this is the only part I can put down in words. At this moment my throat has closed and my eyes are stinging, full of tears. The horrific, harsh question crosses my mind “am I responsible for my father’s death? Could I have saved him?”
Then seeing my baby boy, sitting in a chair far too big for him, seeing his oxygen levels and being told what I did, it just brings it all back.
I am so grateful I followed my intuition. To think what might have happened if I left him to deteriorate further.
I suppose the lesson today is; always listen to your intuition. If you get a feeling to take someone to a doctor, don’t delay. Even if the only thing you can say is you just have a bad feeling. You just never know.
On that day, I had a feeling that Dad needed to stay in hospital. I wanted to scream at the doctors. Sometimes I feel so angry that they didn’t just admit him. And even more angry at myself for not listening to that feeling.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you Dad. I love you so much. I miss you.