Sophia had developed a little, dry cough at the start of the weekend. Nothing sinister but small coughing fits would occur sporadically throughout the next couple of days. Then, on Sunday, something changed and her cough started to become more frequent. Sunday night saw her very uncomfortable and suffering a lack of sleep due to regular stints of coughing.
When we woke up this morning, Sophia seemed alright. Not great but alright. She coughed a little but it was nothing major and she didn't have a temperature so I got her ready for Pre-School as normal. At the regular time, I took her and Dexter to my mother-in-law's and began my daily weekday commute to work. By the time I'd got to the office I had received a text message from the local GP surgery telling me an appointment had been made for later that afternoon.
I thought it was an over-reaction and spoke to my husband about it. He assured me that Sophia had gotten worse and that he had thought it wise to book her an appointment for the GP to check her over. I accepted that and made arrangements to leave work early to take her. Thank goodness I did.
By the time I got home this afternoon, my mother-in-law was waiting for me, concern etched across her face. Sophia's breathing had become laboured, she told me, and she seemed listless, drowsy and hot. I took one look at her; one look at her sweating, frail, little body and agreed with my mother-in-law that it would be best to take her to A&E rather than wait for the doctor's appointment. I bundled Sophia into the car while my mother-in-law stayed behind with Dexter and began the short drive to hospital.
Once there, I was mercifully greeted by a lovely, understanding and helpful person who helped me fill in the necessary forms and directed me to the children's emergency room. We were called in very quickly and Sophia was checked over. Both the doctor and nurse agreed that she was having trouble breathing and that her oxygen levels were too low so they took us to a side bed and gave Sophia oxygen (through a mask) with a nebuliser to help the wheezing. She had to keep the mask on for 20 minutes but even just two minutes later I could tell Sophia was feeling so much better and the relief I felt was almost palpable.
After the doctor checked her to make sure her breathing and oxygen levels were back to relative normalcy, it was back out to the waiting room so that Sophia could be seen by another doctor about her cough. Thankfully there were a range of toys to keep her amused. When we were eventually called back in, the doctor diagnosed an infection in one of Sophia's lungs, which explained the coughing and wheezing. We came away from the hospital armed with antibiotics for the infection, steroid tablets for the wheezing and an inhaler just in case.
It's once again that I'm grateful to have family close by who can help in such emergencies. My mother-in-law stayed with Dexter until my sister-in-law arrived to take over the caring duties and then she was driven to the hospital by my father-in-law to keep me and Sophia company. It's wonderful that they all so obviously care and are happy to cancel their plans at the drop of a hat if something like this happens.
Today now also holds the dubious honour of the first time I have experienced my local hospital's A&E department. And, while the hospital is lovely enough, I really hope I don't have to repeat that experience any time soon.