A trip to the hospital


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

With toddlers, in a split second the whole day can change.
We were outside, enjoying the good weather, good company and preparing for a fun-filled weekend when one simple fall by Éamon turned plans upside down.
Wearing shorts because of the heat, he had a little gash on his knee, and an irksome little pebble had lodged itself inside.
Our efforts to take it out were disrupted by the very understandable protestations of our two year old, who wasn’t overly keen on anyone trying to get at his cut.
No joy either at the doctor. Between squirming and shouting ‘Daddy I wanna go home NOW!’, Éamon was not a willing patient. I was as stressful watching the poor fella, and we had to call a halt.
But the pebble had to come out, so a trip to hospital for surgery to remove it under a general anaesthetic was the only option left.
Off we went on a Friday night to Mayo University Hospital.
We waited seven hours from arrival to when Éamon finally got a bed. Complaints you read in the News section of this paper about delays and overcrowding have considerable merit. The staff there were doing the best they could, but they are stretched to the limit. Despite all this, the nurses everywhere were brilliant with him.
Amazingly, Éamon was in good form for most of the wait. His constant requests to go to the toilet to wash his hands must have had everyone else thinking we were really imparting the public health advice to our son!
Still, there is nowhere quite like the waiting room in an Emergency Department for time to stand still and every minute to feel like an hour.
He wasn’t too keen on the obligatory Covid test, but eventually, coming up on 3am, he got to sleep in paediatrics. I slept in the recliner beside him, and needed no rocking.
He was up for surgery at 9am on the Saturday morning. The whole drama was almost worth it for his reaction to the pre-meds. He was in fits of laughing and smiling going down to theatre in his gown and hat. He was loving life.
Less than an hour after going under, he was back up with me and, before I knew it, having the sleep of the contented in my arms.
Out we got later that afternoon and there wasn’t a bother on him, despite a bandage half the length of his leg, and a few stitches.
However, my instructions to make sure he didn’t run, jump, play on the trampoline, climb or go near water meant I knew what the week ahead held in store.
It felt like I was being asked to man-mark Cillian O’Connor in an All-Ireland final. The old line manager’s say to man-markers that ‘if he goes to the toilet, you follow him’ … Well, I literally had to do that too because we are still toilet training Éamon as well.
The stitches are out now and he’s as right as rain. I think I’m still recovering.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.


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