It has to be OK

The season of Advent is my favourite time of the year. I love the sense of anticipation, the festive activities, the giving of cards and gifts.

I can never wait to put up my tree and decorate my home, the warmth, the smells, the light and the cheer.

But the last couple of weeks have been overshadowed by worry and concern. Because Ollie has been really unwell.

It started with a rash. Red and rough and quickly spreading all over his body. Of course I did that panicked test with a glass to ensure it wasn't dreaded sepsis and having ruled that out I moved on to assumption number two and gave him some mild antihistamines, thinking it would be gone by morning. He was still happy and smiley, I didn't feel too worried.

The next day it had spread further so I took him to the doctors. Unfortunately, they weren't particularly helpful, spent most of the appointment telling me about Scarlet Fever and then said: "but it's probably just a viral infection, it'll be gone by the end of the week"

But it kept on spreading, accompanied by a swelling all over his body that distorted his features so much he hardly looked like my baby boy. He deteriorated, going from a happy boy with 'just a rash' to a clearly unwell and unhappy boy, lethargic and uninterested in anything, even chocolate. At night I hardly slept, kept awake by worry, his hot and swollen little body, his racing heart rate. 

Another GP visit, two calls to 111 and a paramedic visit later we ended up in A&E early on a Saturday morning. The lovely doctor listened to us and talked us through his thought process. He too thought it was viral but wanted to do some blood tests just in case.

The blood tests came back with a strange, and slightly worrying, result. His 'bilirubin' levels were nearly off the scale. We were told that 'up to 20' would be considered normal but that Ollie's were 160. However, other than that there wasn't any other indication of what was wrong - they'd normally expect jaundice or other signs of liver dysfunction. We were discharged just before midnight with some antibiotics and an appointment on Friday to repeat his liver function tests.

And as his mood improved and the swelling went down I was happy. I thought that Friday would consist of a quick blood test followed by a swift discharge. We could get on with our Christmas preparations, writing our cards, baking biscuits, drinking Baileys (me, not the kids, obviously).

It would be OK.

But... (and you could tell there was a 'but' coming couldn't you?)

Once again his tests came back with some mixed and worrying results. 

The bilirubin levels associated with jaundice were back to normal.

However, the level of 'Alanine transferase' was up to 118 and his 'Albumin' was on 'the lower side' at 31.

I have NO BLOODY IDEA what this means. Unlike the A&E doctor who delighted in explaining the science behind his craft, the paediatrician we saw on Friday merely explained that these could be signs of a liver problem.


I know you should never turn to Doctor Google but I did... there are over 100 different kinds of liver disease and as soon as I saw that I stopped reading, fearful of throwing up.

I'm worried enough. I don't need hundreds of dreadful scenarios spinning around in an imagination so over-active it tells me to start planning for my baby boy's funeral.

What I need is cold hard facts. Is something wrong? What is it? Can we fix it? Is my child suffering? What can I do?

I need an answer but for now all I have is questions.

And so I wait. I wait another week for further tests. I wait another week for results. I wait for answers.

And I pray. I pray that this is a blip. That on Friday we'll go again to the hospital, that extracting blood will go well and that everything will be OK.

It has to be OK.

I can't contemplate anything else right now without spiralling out of control.

It has to be OK.
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