The other kidney said he felt like he was experiencing post traumatic shock disorder. I knew immediately what he meant. The first year of Rory's life is a blur for me, the stress and trauma was so intense that I just prefer to park it in the past where it belongs. However, no matter how hard we try to restrain it, that old skeleton can't help giving the cupboard door a really good rattle every now and again. Lest we get ahead of ourselves!
I find it very hard to distill the essence of my aversion to Crumlin, it's a volatile cocktail of fear, rage and despair. The staff were wonderful, warm, professional and caring, the conditions on the other hand, were somewhat akin to those of a Romanian Orphanage circa 1988. These pictures will give you a taste of how we lived for three months while we learned how to dialyse our new kidneyless baby:
Back in 2003, there was no dedicated renal ward in Crumlin so we were housed in a general baby ward and exposed to all those baby infections that rear their snotty little heads every winter. Rory picked up everything that was going; many a weird and wonderful virus. One of those nasty doses landed him in back in ICU on a ventilator when he was about 7 months old. Now that was a dark day.
For respite, we had the parents' accommodation. Again it was warm and welcoming but it hadn't been decorated since the 1950's. Anytime I stayed there, I couldn't help feeling like I was sleeping in the middle of a John McGahern novel. Suffice it to say the surroundings were not conducive to the recharging of flat parental batteries. I shuffled round that hospital like a zombie for months, until one day I was, quite literally, shocked back into the land of the living. 120 volts it was, delivered with a flash as I plugged in the dialysis machine to this socket:
That was the day I got my fight back. The shock lifted me off the floor and out of my torpor. I got angry, proper red rage spots in front of the eyes, angry. That ward has since been fully refurbished and there is now a dedicated Renal ward in Crumlin hospital. Maybe someone did actually read all those letters I wrote.
I listened to the stories of organ donation on Liveline during the week, and was yet again reminded of our extraordinary good fortune.
As I type, boy wonder practices how to burp on demand, just like any other six year old boy, delighted at his new found skill.
Ann & Burping Boy Wonder!