Saturday, 30 April 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 7



'Cameron has Meningitis.' 'What?' 'Meningitis.'  'How did he get that?'  'Here I'll show you.'

The nurse stood monitoring Cameron as Michael showed me the medical books and their complicated medical descriptions of what Meningitis was. I was so confused, how could Cameron have Meningitis? I remembered hearing about Amoebic Meningitis when I was a child. Some children swam in stagnant water up north and they all got really sick. I don't recall if they died but I know one of our friends Mum's became very concerned about water and it not getting up her children's noses. My brain was spinning out, Cameron hadn't been in stagnant water.

Another nurse came in and explained that there were different types of Meningitis and they were now waiting for the next test results to tell them which kind of Meningitis Cameron had. He took us out to a photo board just outside Cameron's room and explained that there can be serious outcomes from Meningitis. He pointed to photos of  past patients who had lost limbs, fingers, toes, a hand, their nose, an ear. Oh my .......... what were we dealing with?

We had to let our families know what was going on so being that this was in the days before we all had mobile phones we took up residence at the public phone in the corridor and started phoning, We called Michael's parents and his sister who were in Perth. We called my sister in Kalgoorlie who was already making plans to get to Perth as quickly as possible. Our dog was dropped off at the dog kennels for a holiday. We phoned our friends at home to let them know what was happening and we phoned my parents.

That was such a hard phone call. We didn't want to overly alarm them because they lived 12 hours away and they needed to drive safely but we needed them to realize that they needed to come now - they may never see their one and only grandchild again.

We both had to phone work and explain that we didn't know when we were coming back and when all the calls were done we headed back to sit with Cameron. We got some breakfast from the hospital cafe and then it was time for Michael to sleep and for me to do my first solo shift.Pretty soon I was told that they were organizing for Cameron to have a brain scan.

It was quite a large group who prepared to wheel Cameron around on a bed for his scan. We didn't go anywhere now without equipment. Cameron was taken off his oxygen and hand pumped while they lifted him and resettled him. All I could do was stand back and watch. I walked along behind like a fifth wheel, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. One nurse hung back with me and showed me a seat outside the department. I was told it wouldn't take long and then I was left on my own.

They took much longer than they had said. I fiddled and watched people. I counted carpet squares and ceiling panels. Finally a nurse came out to tell me that they had had to stop everything and then start again after Cameron had had a massive seizure. I still couldn't do anything, I was left again.

Finally the bed rolled around the corner and we were reunited. The nurse apologized - she shouldn't have left me alone but she was a student and she wanted to see what they were doing. We needed to move quickly to get Cameron back into ICU. This time I knew how to keep out of the way and observe their routines.

I settled in watching Cameron, holding his hand, talking to the staff and watching the world go past outside the window. Eventually a Doctor came and told me that he had received the results of the brain scan and could I please go and wake Michael up so he could speak to us both. Everything went into fast forward as I raced down the passage to wake Michael.

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