So Near and So Far

Aaargh!  One of the reasons why I hate being too busy to blog is (a) all the little stresses of life build up in me with no bloggy outlet, and (b) I forget to write down relevant bits.

I don’t know if you remember me moaning about Mini Minx being refused her MMR jag because she has an egg allergy?  Well, about a fortnight later, I got a phonecall from the GP’s surgery noting that she’d had the other 2 jags but not the MMR, and was there something she could reassure me about?  I explained patiently that the Health Visitor had refused to inject Mini with MMR despite my reassurances that I was happy it was safe.  The woman dropped the bombshell that the Health Visitor had not written anything about this in Mini’s notes, never mind written to the hospital to refer her to them.  I expressed my irritation and frustration as gently as I could.  So the woman and I got into cahoots and booked me and Mini onto the Practice Nurse’s clinic for the MMR.  My irritation grew to new levels when I discovered that it was impossible to speak with / get a message to the Nurse to find out if she was willing to give Mini the MMR (“Can’t you speak to her and call me back if she says no?  Can I write to her?  Can you leave her a message, even?”)  We agreed that if *she* refused, I’d book appointments with the GPs, one by one.  I privately also prepared to change GPs before they ousted me…

A few days after that, the Health Visitor called The Boss to tell him that one of the GPs had written to the local hospital asking for Mini to be referred for her MMR there.  He asked me why she’d sounded like a sulky teenager, and had I been noising her up.  I managed to look the picture of innocence.

I expected the hospital to either not get in touch for months (as the Health Visitor had said would happen), or to write to me telling me to get back to the GP’s surgery (as a friend told me happened at her hospital).  Imagine my surprise when last week the Children’s Ward (well, a member of staff from…) called to ask when it suited me to come over with Mini.  Wowsers.  So I cancelled the Practice Nurse clinic appointment, slotted the appointment into the busy House of Trout diary, and waited.

It was today.  Let me give you a tiny bit of an idea of the kind of day it fell in.

I drove 15 mins to drop Maxi and Midi at nursery at 9, then drove 30 mins to the hospital to drop The Boss off for an appointment.  I’d forgotten my purse, so couldn’t do the 3 things I wanted to whilst there.  As it turned out, Mini got up too late to have breakfast, so I fed her at the hospital.  Then 30 mins drive to the nursery to watch the girls at their sports day (my mum never went to any of mine, ever.  It hurt.  So I won’t miss my girls’).  Back to the house (15 mins) to get the stupid purse, then 15 mins to town.  Do the 3 things I meant to earlier, grab lunch, then hospital for MMR (more later), 30 mins drive to nursery, pick up girls, 30 mins drive back to let Maxi go to her swimming lesson, 15 mins drive back.  Dinner.

So it wasn’t the best of days, ok?

The nurse at the children’s ward took me through the paperwork and said, “Oh, did someone tell you that you’ll need to hang around for 2-4 hrs after the injection?” Noooooooo, and this could be a bit of a problem if I can’t be out in 2 hours to pick up Maxi and Midi.  She checked and decided that would be ok after all.  The doctor came, gave me a consent form to sign, explained what a possible vaccine reaction would be like, stated that the possible consequences of not vaccinating were worse, got my signature witnessed, then disappeared.  (I’m glad I do my own research…)  The nurse called us through to the treatment room* where the injection was waiting in a little dish.

*the same room where Midi had been held down by 4 adults to try and fail to get a cannula in her when she was dehydrated and admitted overnight.  And the same room where Mini had failed totally to get a decent blood sample for allergy testing.  The room gave me the shivers.

She noticed Mini had a runny nose.  I explained she was starting a cold, caught from her sister, but that she didn’t have a temperature (Maxi (5) and Midi (3) have had all their vaccinations despite being snotty nosed most of the time – the various Health Visitors over the years always said it would be fine so long as they didn’t have a fever.  So I thought that was gospel).  The nurse checked her temp – 37.1degC, so “warm” but not a fever.  She asked if the doctor had examined Mini.  Noooooo.  Her eyes widened.  No?  Had he even listened to her chest?  No, he hadn’t looked at her at all; should he have?  The other nurse fetched him.  He glanced at Mini gurgling and cooing on my knee then went to consult the consultant.

“I’m afraid that because she has a runny nose and a cough we cannot give her the injection today”, he said in his gentle way.  Both nurses ganged up on him immediately: “Cough?  Who said cough?  I didn’t say anything about a cough.  Did you?”  Um, no, she hasn’t got a cough. Oh crikey, don’t get me involved… <wince>

The long and short of it was, I was very happy to just make a new appointment.  The doctor apologised profusely, I accepted graciously and proffered my own apologies – had I known that any kind of illness was a contraindication for the MMR I’d have phoned to cancel the appointment yesterday and not wasted their very valuable time.  We all apologised politely all round and I was given an appointment next week.  I scuttled out, and prepped the nursery for a possible overrun in picking the minxes up next week if they hold me to 4hrs post wait post MMR.

So.  Now I’m almost spooked at how tricky it’s becoming to get poor unsuspecting little Mini her MMR.  With a bit of a measles outbreak in France and the SE of England, I’m really keen for her to have the vaccination.  But it’s beginning to feel fated that she’s not to have it!

2 out of 3

All right! All right! She can have the MMR! Stop citing BMJ articles, woman!

It’s Friday 13th, which means Mini Minx was due her MMR, Meningitis C and HiB booster vaccinations.  Well, until the Health Visitor noticed that Mini’s file had ‘egg allergy’ written on it in big red letters.

I reassured her that I’d done a lot of research (proper research: on the BMJ rather than Mumsnet) on MMR with egg allergy, and that the majority of babies reacting to the vaccination don’t have an egg allergy; they’re far more likely to react to the neomycin or glycerin in it.  And there’s no real egg material in it: it’s made with chick embryos.  There was no longer a standard protocol for egg allergy babies having the MMR in a hospital with a paediatric department.  I was quite happy that so long as there was adrenaline on the premises, that we were more than covered.  Nor was I concerned about her having 3 vaccinations at once: she’d be exposed to far more things attacking her immune system in a standard day, chewing and licking the things that she does.

I did my best impression of a nonchalent, non-neurotic mother.  So I think the Health Visitor over-compensated.  She listened politely, noted my lack of concern, then explained that she would have to administer said adrenaline in an emergency, and she wasn’t happy.  One of the GPs recommended that Mini Minx not have the MMR on the premises, and that she was to have it in the local hospital.

Trying really hard not to look irritated (to be fair, I do understand why she wanted to protect herself.  And better over-cautious than under-cautious, I guess), I asked how long the appointment might take to come through – a few weeks?  A month?

“Oh, much longer.  It’ll take quite a while for the letter to be written by the doctor and sent to the hospital, then they have to open it, then respond, then make an appointment… It’ll be quite a few months,” she said.

Oh.  So in the meantime, my baby gets to risk all the terrible side effects that a disease like measles can bring.  Great.

Still, my poor, wee unsuspecting baba got her 2 booster vaccines.  And yes, she looked at me as if I’d let the Child Eating Witch attack her.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Mini may only be 13 months, and I do tend to baby her, but she does understand a fair old bit.  She insisted on wearing her favourite hat (a red and purple tartan thing), merrily shouting, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” (well, imagine saying ‘hat’ with a dropped aitch and a glottal stop) and patting her head.  Then she’d whip it on and off her little head to make me laugh.  And when I stopped laughing, the little minx smacked me on the bonce, shouted “Ah!” and tried to fit it on me.

For the first time ever, she actually went down in her cot for a nap without a fight.  I put her in her sleeping bag, she waved goodbye to the flowers, the trees, the sea, the cars, the birdies, the cars and the houses (!), then lay quietly in her cot.  I gave her a little Tiny Tears doll that she seems quite fond of, and she poked it in the eyes.  I asked her where the dolly’s nose was?  She poked it in the nose.  Cute – I know she knows what noses are because “Rub noses!” is her favourite game, but I didn’t know she could translate that onto a dolly.