The Day We Will Never Forget

Early Morning of the 28th February 2016

After having quite possibly the worst few hours of sleep ever due to constantly worrying about Charlie and thinking over and over to myself is he really ok, could it be me overthinking things like I usually do..

It’s 6am on the Sunday morning myself and Robert were awake however the boys were still asleep. We got up and moved the boy’s downstairs, I moved Harry down stairs with no problems however when it came to picking up Charlie, he started to be sick and lots of it! green in colour. I immediately Called back the 111 service for further advice explaining our visit to A&E and his diagnosis of sickness and diarrhoea, the operator had no immediate concerns and advised to see how he goes over the next hour as it should settle. The operator agreed to call back to review him further. During this time, I called my mum to see if she could come over to help me with Harry as I was having to care for Charlie who had still not stopped being sick.

An hour later I receiving a call back, the operator asked me further questions and asked me to look over Charlie’s Body as I had explained there had been little change in his sickness. I stripped Charlie back from his baby grow, that’s when I noticed his stomach had started to bloat, change in colour to a darker red and his overall skin colour was going a shade of grey… Panic hit me straight away I knew this was much more than just sickness and Diarrhoea. I remember the words of the operator

‘‘Do Not Panic we are sending out a paramedic to review Charlie over, one will be with you shortly’’

We had to wait what felt like a lifetime for the paramedic to arrive. I Don’t actually remember how long we had to wait I remember her walking straight through the door taking one look at him and asking why had we not taken him to A&E in her harsh tone. She was shocked when I told her we had been during the night and he was diagnosed with Sickness and Diarrhoea. I could tell by her face this was far more serious than she was letting on, however she remained calm and called for an Ambulance to arrive immediately. She was unable to take us herself as she had arrived by car.

The Ambulance Arrived I was rushed out the door with Charlie in my arms, I was strapped on the bed in the back of the Ambulance with Charlie on my knee. The Paramedic Called for Blue Light to the nearest Hospital. Total fear hit me I was losing my boy, at this point I broke down uncontrollably cry clinging on to Charlie for dear life while we were traveling blue lighted at the speed of light through traffic all while Charlie was still being violently sick green bile all over me. There were three Paramedics that day all playing a part in saving Charlie's life. One driving and Two others hold me holding Charlie to get there safely as fast as we could…

‘’The sound of the siren and the memory of me clinging on to Charlie in the back of the Ambulance will stick with me for the rest of my life. Still to this day hearing the sirens of an Ambulance as it passes me by fills me with severe anxiety and fear. I find myself getting upset thinking oh I really hope the person in the back is going to be ok...’’

On Arrival at our local Hospital they quickly removed Charlie from my arms. While the emergency team assessed Charlie, I was taken aside and asked lots of questions as to what had happened assessing why Charlies health had drastically deteriorated over the past 10hrs since my first call to the 111 service.

Robert and my mum soon arrived after with some belonging for both me and Charlie on the advisory of the paramedic. Robert remained with me while my mum went home with Harry and waited for updates. Me are Robert were taken to a side room while they worked on making Charlie stable as possible. The Doctors and Nurses were constantly in and out asking us both questions. It is all still very much a blur to me to this day as I have never cried as much as I did that morning in A&E waiting to hear for updates as to how Charlie was doing not knowing if he was going to make it… Once they had run a number of tests and scanned his abdomen, a nurse came to fetch us to be by his side.

This is Charlie's Scan from A&E

This is when it was explained to us that Charlie is very critical and has some form of Bowel obstruction and in septic shock. We were informed that he would need surgery immediately and that a team from The Paediatric Critical Care Unit at QMC Nottingham Children's Hospital were on their way over to collect Charlie to take him back to their hospital for immediate surgery.

We were informed that Charlie had to travel alone with the members of the critical care team via a specialised transporting pod due to the severity of his condition.

This is an example of the pod he had to travel in

We waited for the critical care team to arrive and gave Charlie a kiss and said our goodbyes, we were advised to leave by car before him as they needed us to arrive at the hospital before Charlie to sign the paperwork for him to be taken straight in to theatre for surgery.

Our drive there was the most terrifying drive we’ve ever made, praying the entire way that Charlie makes it and is stable enough to go in to theatre. We literally arrived and parked up just as Charlie’s Ambulance pulled in. We walked in with Charlie signed the documents and said our goodbyes again, he was taken down to theatre by staff.

Me and Robert were then guided to the PICU department where we were given a guide around the facilities and shown in to the parent waiting room. From memory we arrived around 12noon Charlie was taken to theatre, it was not until teatime around 5pm we heard something from the surgical team…

All I remember is the Surgeon saying Charlie is very critical he had the worst case they had ever seen of Necrotizing Enterocolitis, they were working extremely hard to salvage what they can of his small bowel. They explained that the next 24hrs were critical and advised we contact family to explain and prepare them for the worse. His surgeon further explains to us that Charlie would be returning to the ward ventilated to help with his breathing due to the extensive swelling of his bowel causing pressure to the lungs. We were informed that Charlie would be monitored over the next few days and prescribed a number of antibiotics in the hope that his body would fight the infection so they could salvage more bowel. It was certain that he would have to go back for further surgery once he was more stable. We knew from here Charlie would need to put up the biggest fight of his life and we were going to be here for a long time… little did we know it was going to be 10 months before we could take a boy home again and be reunited as a family of four.

‘’All we heard repeatedly he is not out of the woods yet’’

The Surgery went on for a total of 8 hours. The longest day of our life was playing out before our very eyes, this was the most painstakingly, sole destroying time of my life sitting there in complete silence and in Shock! How do you call family with an update like that.. How can your life just change instantly from extreme euphoria to sorrow in a matter of hours.

I’m sure I cried for 8 hours straight and the whole time during a conversation to family informing them of the dreadful news. Our Lives were completely torn apart, all I could think of is how it was my fault, I was to blame should I have acted sooner. How did I miss the warning signs. You never shake this feeling this still remains with me to this very day.

When Charlie returned to the ward, we were taken to the first bed space on the intensive care unit. That’s when I cried for the last time in front of him, I knew I had to remain strong for in order to get through this… It’s hard to know what to do for the best during difficult and extremely distressing circumstances. Me and Robert decided we didn’t want family to visit we couldn’t cope with others emotions as we were using all of ours to remain strong for Charlie.

This upset some of the family understandably however there is no rule book how to deal with such circumstances. Deep down looking back now I believed if people visited Charlie that was us saying goodbye and giving up on him. We sat with Charlie all night not dare leave him for a drink or to nip to the toilet in case the worst should happen. Day one rolled into day two as if they were both the same day.

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The Radford Family Surviving Necrotizing Enterocolitis is a family and life style blog designed and created by Claire Radford All rights reserved.  All content provided on our site is for informational purposes only. I am not a medical professional, nor do I claim to be. Always seek medical advice from a trained & licensed physician please see Terms & Conditions & Site Rules for further information.