The Story Behind the Photo

This was my Silent Sunday Photo on the weekend (many thanks, by the way, to everyone who offered words of support):


Ellie was in hospital, & on a drip. Neither she nor Jake have ever had to spend time in hospital like this since they were little babies; obviously it’s been a difficult time for all of us.

So why was she there?


We were really pleased when we found that she’d contracted chickenpox!

That seems totally counter-intuitive but I’m sure most parents know that – at present* – EVERYONE contracts it once in their lives, & that the later in life you get it the worse it is. The younger the better!

In theory.

Poor little Ellie got it bad! She was covered from head to toe in large, itchy, painful welts. They were inside her mouth, & in other really uncomfortable places where such things just should not be. Many became infected. She couldn’t bear to move & protested in distress every time she had to: we couldn’t touch her anywhere except her hands – let alone give her the hugs she so badly needed!

She seemed to have developed some sort of secondary infection, & her blood was strangely low in some electrolytes. She was having to take paracetamol & brufen & up to 3 types of antibiotic, orally & intravenously. She screamed in distress at the horrible taste of the medicines, & the other drugs meant she was zonked out & slept much of the time.

We had to put cream on her spots twice a day, & they had to take blood from her several times to ascertain the proper treatments – all painful & distressing. It was so awful seeing her in such pain!

Eventually we reluctantly agreed to have her on ‘Oramorph’ for her pain – morphine! It’s very weak & especially formulated for children, but still!

She was incredibly brave, & got several ‘Certificates of Bravery’ from the nurses, which she loved!

The NHS care she  – & we – received was (mostly) excellent, by the way, & the ward can expect a card,  flowers & chocolates to be winging their way very soon!

She was there for a week, & came back home on Saturday. She’s now more or less back to her usual lively self, although she’s walking a lot like a chicken! She’s still having tests for low albumen levels in her blood – which is worrying. Hopefully it’s just a side-effect of the infection: they’ve already ruled out kidney problems, to our great relief!

She should be back at school tomorrow, & she’s looking forward to it!

I found out while writing this that Jake now has ‘the pox’: I really hope it will be mild, & not like Ellie’s!

An important footnote: during Ellie’s hospitalisation we heard of a young child who tragically died from complications caused by chickenpox. She saw a doctor several times but wasn’t taken to hospital for proper treatment.

If your child has more than just the spots – high temperature, signs of infection – please get them to hospital ASAP: don’t hesitate! We’re so glad that that’s what we did!

* I discovered during her illness that there is actually a chickenpox vaccine available now, & that it’s been added to MMR in the USA, Australia & other countries. Maybe it’s time we followed suit here?



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