Today one of those things happened that you think only happens in nightmares.
I took the kids to the GP as they’ve both had chesty coughs for about 7-10 days. Gp checked the toddler first, all good, no concerns just a “viral cough” same diagnosis reached for Vivienne. When taking her clothes off to check for rashes (she had a small rash on her back-nothing of concern to the GP or I. ) the GP pointed to a small bruise on Vivienne’s inner thigh.
Immediately, she said that she was making a referral to the hospital.
Before I processed what was happening, she was on the phone to the paediatric ward telling them she was making an urgent appointment for a 44 week old with unexplained bruising. It dawned on me pretty quickly what she was insinuating. I was shook up and straight away my “fight mode” switched on. I definitely wasn’t polite, and asked what I was supposed to do about the toddler for the afternoon, and the teen when she came home to an empty house because my husband is currently in Germany. The GP just sat in her chair telling me how it was protocol and she was just doing her job and she wanted to make sure there wasn’t maybe an underlying illness. (Bullshit- she could see that I was very upset, and was making a feeble attempt at talking me down from my shock and anger) I didn’t really calm down, other than to ask if she was going to do anything about the kids coughs. (She wasn’t) before I left the surgery.
Luckily I have some fantastic friends who were at my house at the time, and they helped me tidy before taking Sebastien off for the day so I could get Vivienne down to the hospital all the while with the GP’s lasts words echoing in my head
If you’re not there on time, or refuse to go or don’t show up within 6 hours it’s an automatic referral to Child services
I was in panicked mama bear mode and roaring at the injustice of it all. I was angry. So angry that I was being made to feel belittled and accused of the unthinkable. (Whether or not the accusation was voiced out loud- the insinuation that came with the referral broke me- I felt like I had been dropped in to a Witch hunt, and I was supposedly the Witch) I knew I needed to calm myself and focus on driving Vivienne to her appointment.
Thank goodness again for my very kind friend and for my Mum in Law, who between them stayed on the phone (hands free of course!) with me all the way to the Hospital.
I finally got parked and lugged the pram down 2 flights of stairs in to the Hospital (no lift from the upper floor car park- and annoyingly today of all days I didn’t have a wrap with me!) I found the ward in the maze of corridors, where I was met by a lovely nurse, and explained why I was there. I was a bit snappy with the nurse, but mainly because I was so scared. I felt like all eyes were on me and panicking about how I didn’t have childcare for long as it wasn’t fair on my friends.
Vivienne was weighed, obs done and then the consultant ushered us both off to a private room along with the nurse.
In the interest of complete disclosure, and because I do not have anything to hide, I was utterly transparent, I informed her that I’m currently undergoing CBT for anxiety, and that I’ve blogged about my temper and anxiety issues in the past if they wished to read them, ( you can find the posts here and here) but also told her that I was pretty pissed off by the entire situation, because I felt vilified, and because of the inconvenience and hassle of it all- not to mention time being taken away from genuinely sick children. (Despite the feeling of outrage I was completely confident that they would look at the bruise and dismiss any kind of concern- which of course is exactly what happened)
We sat in the private room and I signed some consent forms in relation to the questionnaire and and examination of Vivienne.
The consultant completely understood my distress, and we built up a nice rapport as we rattled through the questions, including when I’d first noticed the bruise which was the evening before in the bath, where I’d tried to wash it off as it just looks like a dirty mark of some sort. She looked at the bruise and agreed that her first instinct would be to try and clean it off just as I had done the night before before forgetting about it!
It was obvious that the consultant wasn’t concerned and was just completing the paperwork as part of protocol. She had photos taken of the bruise, and after signing yet another consent form (for the photos) we were sent on our way- just like that. It was all over. Vivienne was fine. I was fine. It was all ok. I did also ask if it was ok to blog about my experience- and she agreed that of course it is ok for me to share this blog, as well as the photos.
Thinking about it, today was terrifying for so many reasons, and the over zealous actions of the GP sent me spiralling in to a blind panic. For a few hours I felt sick, but imagine how sick you would feel if something was ignored or dismissed by a GP, and a child is harmed. (Just think of some famous cases that have ended in tragedy- notably baby P)
Today was a shocker of a day, and I’m still reeling (hence the hastily written post with some suspect grammar) but it is over. Vivienne is safe. I am safe. The authorities are happy that my kids are safe, and no matter how awful today has been, I know today happened because there are people out there that hold child welfare at the very top of their list.
Edited*2 days on:
Thinking back to how the GP referred us, and her attitude towards me and the fact that she didn’t actually know the guidelines herself and the used a referral code for a non mobile baby (despite Vivienne crawling and cruising) and the fact that I was most likely in shock when I originally wrote this post, I think I will be making a complaint to the GP. I feel sick and disgusted. She didn’t do her job properly. She bullied me in to taking my child for an unnecessary medical examination!
Edit* complaint letter sent to the gP. I never want any parent to be made to feel as scared and upset as I have been since this.