Rocket Ship #6-52

After the best part of two weeks Daniel is now back in good spirits, eating well and full of his usual bubbly energy. Since he was about a week old I have played the rocket ship game with him. We have blast off, orbit and then landing, all with me making very silly noises. He loves it and I love seeing the looks on his face and the various noises he comes out with.

This was a first attempt to capture him in flight, we were on a 10 second timer for this shot so we are mid blast off in this shot.

Rocket Ship


Not well again #5-52

So, just two days after Daniel was discharged from Tallaght children’s hospital, he continued to get worse. Tuesday morning arrived and he had another high temperature and was off his bottles again. That afternoon he had been bearing down a lot as well as holding his breath. His hands & feet were also turning a funny greyish blue any time he did this.

That was it, he was bundled into the car and I drove him to Tallaght A&E. Whilst on the road to the hospital I would put my hand back and rest it on his chest every few minutes to make sure he was breathing ok, at one stage just past Dundrum on the M50 I put my hand back and he was cold to the touch (despite the heating being on) so I immediately pulled in on the hard shoulder and ran around to the other side of the car to check he was ok. Thankfully he was still breathing but his breaths were shallow and fast. At this stage, the only thing on my mind was getting him to the A&E as quickly as possible.

I got back in the car, put the headlights on full, the hazard lights flashing and floored it. I can hand on heart say that I broke most of the driving rules this country has to offer. Amazing that despite the fact I had my hazards on & lights in broad daylight, that so many people were so quick to gesture nastily at me and honk their horns when I drove all the way up the bus corridor on the road to the hospital. I wonder did they stop to think afterwards and put two and two together. Anyway, I apologise if I hurt anyone’s feelings on the road that day, but I won’t apologise for getting my son to A&E nearly 40 minutes faster than the fastest ambulance.

Living in Greystones is great but it does have a really scary & serious flaw when it comes to medical emergencies for children. The closest ambulance services either have to come from Loughlinstown, south county Dublin or Wicklow town, both are a good 15 to 20 minute drive in either direction. I got to Tallaght hospital from Greystones in less time. Sorry I digress…

Back on topic,

Arriving at Tallaght A&E, Daniel was put on oxygen as soon as the attending doctor had examined him. Funnily enough the doctors name was Dr Daniel, ‘Ah three of us’ I said jokingly which put a big smile on his face while he put the cannula needle into Daniel’s tiny hand to draw blood and leave way for an iv drip.

After the examination, Daniel was quite distressed and was doing a fair amount of kicking and screaming. My own head was now pumping sweat down my face from the heat of the A&E department but also because my upper back and right shoulder was coated in red tiger balm as I had put my shoulder/neck out that weekend. Several nurses came in to the curtained off room that we were in, I got the distinct impression that they were thinking I was incapable of settling my child. They tried all kinds of tactics like shaking & waving his toys in his face, making clicking noises with their mouths etc… despite me telling them that all he wanted to do was to sleep. At one point I was very close to telling them all the F*** off and letting them know that I’m not a first time rookie dad who doesn’t know how to settle a baby. I asked them to switch off the overhead lights and sure enough, all Daniel wanted was to go to sleep, he put up a little bit more of a fight and eventually fell asleep in my arms as expected. Sometimes it really pisses me off being a capable parent. There seems to be this giant assumption that all dad’s are useless and only mothers know better.

I won’t disagree that this is often very true and that his own mothers touch would have had him sleeping quicker than I was able to, but I am far from incapable and I know one thing better than most, I know my own kids!


Mean while, Ciara was waiting on her mother to arrive at the house so that she could make her way into the hospital. I think I got the better deal out of the evening as the stress of not knowing what is wrong with your baby and more importantly not having instant access and a steady flow of updates must be very scary. Soon as Daniel was settled I was able to start firing off the text messages with updates to hopefully ease the stress levels for Ciara.

Daniel had only been sleeping for 20 minutes when one of the nurses came in to let me know that they had a room ready for him on the ward and that she had called for a porter. She busily set about transferring his oxygen line from the station wall to a tank under the hospital bed and raising the sides of the bed to make it safe for his transfer. Then she set about doing all the stats checks on Daniel to make sure his oxygen levels had gone back up and settled in the high 90’s. At this stage Daniel woke again and began screaming the place down. So now he is back in my arms and I’m trying to settle him when the porter arrives and proceeds to tell the nurse (loudly) ‘I’m not pushing that bed up with a screaming baby on it, have you no respect for my back. Sure the baby is awake and screaming, that will give people nightmares’.  This went on for a few minutes until he convinced her that it would be better if I sat with Daniel in a wheelchair. I thought to myself, more fool you pal, now you have to push the babies 17 stone father up to the ward. Another bloody overpaid idiot!

Off we went in the wheelchair, the corridor of the children’s A&E was littered with hospital beds, all of them had adults lying on them. I don’t get that as the hospital never seems to be busy or crowded with people. We arrived on the ward and transferred Daniel into one of the hospital cots. I didn’t see or hear from anyone for a good hour as the staff were busy doing their rounds. The doctor came in and examined Daniel, checked his stats etc… and then suggested he be put on the nebuliser for 15 minutes to help his breathing. So along with getting a 1 litre per hour oxygen feed, he was now getting a 15 minutes burst on the nebuliser. I was very happy with this. Ciara arrived shortly after and was all prepared to stay the night. It was gone midnight by the time I left for home, stopping off at McDonald’s for a bite to eat. So unhealthy of me, but I was starving at this stage.

For the next couple of days we rotated our time between the home & hospital. Ciara stayed in again Wednesday & Thursday night. My mother in-law stayed at night time to watch the girls while we were in hospital and to help me with them in the mornings which made the school & playschool runs go a lot smoother.

Daniel started to show signs of improvement on Friday and was finally taken off the oxygen. The doctor then said that if he could stay off the oxygen for the next 12 hours that he should be able to go home. All that day he gradually made little improvements, he started feeding more and was a lot more like his usual smiley happy baby self. He was still able to take the nebuliser which now he was a real pro at using.

A pro on the nebuliser

I stayed the night on Friday night, stocked up with my laptop & some tv episodes to catch up on, I was fully expecting to be woken every hour, Daniel slept from 2am right through until 7:30am so I got a great sleep. I made a couple of trips to the kitchen to make cups of tea during the night. Every time I went to the kitchen, there were mothers either making cups of tea of making up bottles for their babies. All of their babies had the same virus as Daniel, one of them just 3 weeks old. One of the mum’s had not left the ward since the Tuesday and she looked exhausted. Her husband was at home minding her other 3 kids which she was missing terribly, I had no words of comfort to offer her only that I hoped her little girl got better soon. This dose of Bronchiolitis was doing the rounds, Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght wards all had children suffering from the same thing. Five of the babies on the same ward as us had been admitted for Bronchiolitis.

The next morning the doctor came round to the room at about 10am and after checking the charts and his latest stats, she gave me the news I was longing for. You can take him home later on this morning. I was relieved & delighted and couldn’t wait to tell Ciara the good news.

Peaceful rest

Wonder will they let me go home today?

I should take a minute to say a big THANKS to the wonderful nurses on the Maple ward in Tallaght hospital, they really do go the extra mile to make sure your child has the best of care. A good sign to me is that Daniel always greeted the nurses with a big dimple filled smile and always seemed to perk up when they came in to check his stats.

Going home day

Happy to going home

The pictures in this post are a mixture of my camera with the 50mm lens or my HTC camera phone. All taken under natural light from two large windows in the room.

My thanks also go out to the large & vibrant community of online photographers who have done a sterling job of keeping me cheerful with their tweets of kind words & encouragement.

Not well #4-52

Working a horrible backlog of posts, due to recent events I was unable to post this at the correct time.

Over this last week both Saoirse and Carla had horrible colds, then poor Daniel started to show signs of a cold and chesty cough. Ciara decided to take him to see our GP on Friday afternoon to be on the safe side rather than leave it for the weekend. The GP felt that because he was off his food, coughing and that his breathing was quite fast that it would be best to take him to the children’s hospital in Crumlin as a precaution and for him to have further tests, such as bloods, chest X-ray etc…

When we got to the A&E in Crumlin, we were sent to triage straight away. We were not waiting long then to see a series of nurses and doctors who were examining Daniel from head to toe, checking his breathing, his oxygen levels etc… There is an awful lot of repeated activities and the same discussions with every new face that comes into the room to see Daniel, but it’s all for good measure and despite it aggravating my already low patience levels, I am thankful for just how thorough the staff are in Crumlin’s children hospital.

After seeing the doctor we were advised that Daniel was suffering from Bronchiolitis which is an inflammation of the bronchioles, the smallest air passages of the lungs. There is no real treatment plan for this other than to try and maintain the child’s intake of fluids. As it’s a viral infection rather than a bacterial infection doctors try to avoid giving antibiotics.

The doctor in charge of admissions was quick to suggest that he should be admitted for the night so that they could administer a glucose drip and where needed give him oxygen or a nebuliser to help his breathing. After signing consent forms and admittance paperwork Daniel was placed on a nebuliser to help with his breathing and to help clear his chest.

Daniel on the nebuliser at Crumlin Childrens Hospital

Daniel then had his bloods taken and was placed on an iv glucose drip. Within the hour he was already looking more like his usual self.

Then came the news that there were no beds available in the hospital for Daniel, so we were given the choice of staying in Crumlin and sleeping in the corridor of the A&E for the night or a private room in the Children’s ward of Tallaght hospital.

It should be noted that regardless of which children’s hospital you go to, it doesn’t make any difference if you have a government issued Medical Card or Private Health Care insurance, there are no private children’s hospitals in Ireland and all children are treated equally when it comes to receiving medical attention. Our health insurance cover does however entitle us to a private room in public hospitals where the facility and rooms are available, also on this occasion it was a recommendation of the doctor that Daniel be isolated from other sick children that might be on a ward.

We had never been to Tallaght but like many others we have heard plenty of nightmare stories about the usual things like overcrowding , people sleeping on beds in corridors etc… naturally enough we were a bit cautious about saying yes to a transfer, but the option of spending the night in the corridor of children’s A&E didn’t sound very appealing either.

We decided to go for the transfer, as Daniel’s stats were now stable and he was already on a drip, there was no rush for the ambulance to arrive so that he could be transferred to Tallaght. I was keen to drive them myself but the nurse said this was no longer possible because he had been given a cannula for the iv. So instead I followed the ambulance out to Tallaght hospital.

The transfer to Tallaght only took 15 minutes, initial impressions on arrival at Tallaght were that the place was miserable looking and smelly (cigarette smoke). There were men and women of various ages, out in the cold in their pajamas, some of them younger than me and rigged up to oxygen tanks smoking their brains out. All this, right outside the main entrance to the hospital. (I’m so very glad I kicked my 22yr habit) Just as we entered the main part of the building there were security guards wrestling a couple of guys to the ground who were kicking and punching each other while a teenage girl screamed at them and the security guards. Not a great first impression.

For some reason I had always thought of Tallaght as being just another children’s hospital, when in reality it’s a major public hospital with a couple of busy A&E departments. I did a bit of research about the hospital and it’s catchment area. Tallaght now services the highest concentration of families and young children in Ireland.

The children’s ward is up on the second floor and is split into three wards by age group, Daniel was admitted to the Maple ward which is for children under the age of one. The ward and room were clean and well presented and the staff were all lovely. Lot’s more tests, bloods and a set of chest x-ray’s later Daniel was ready to try and settle down for the rest of the night.

Daniel admitted for the night at Tallaght Childrens Hospital

He was given lots of attention through the night by the nurses and following a check up with the doctor in the morning he was discharged. We were advised to keep an eye on him and watch out for signs that the virus may turn bacterial, if this was the case he would have to have a course of antibiotics to help clear it up. There is a great feeling of relief when the doctor says your child can come home.

More to come in #5-52 as we re-visit the hospital…