This last week has quite honestly been a bit of a wash out in various ways, the children have complained non stop, made a mess as soon as I’ve finished cleaning and so on. However Thursday was the worst day of the week, simply a disastrous day!
For the last few weeks I have been looking forward to going to see my brother and his partner for the day. We had planned to visit Pembray Country Park near Llanelli to have a walk, do a spot of geocaching and have a picnic. Wednesday evening I started preparing our picnic and getting bits and pieces ready so that we could get up, have breakfast and leave first thing. Now usually we never quite manage to leave on time despite my best efforts but I was determined that we would on Thursday as we needed to be home before it was dark to lock the chickens away and prepare for the Beaver and Cubs Halloween Party that evening. So all around Thursday promised to be a fun packed day for us all however the reality couldn’t have been more different.
Since the clocks went back last weekend the children have all been waking up early, usually before dad of 3 has left for work at 7am. So I haven’t managed to catch up on the sleep I hoped to this week. When they woke at 7am on Thursday I thought I would embrace it rather than groan and ask them to go back to bed for a further hour. We were all up, dressed and had had breakfast all by 8am, fantastic. I did the usual things like ensure they had all been to the toilet before we left, make sure they all had coats etc before I loaded the car with our picnic. For once we were all in the car just before the time I had planned to leave and ready to go. In hindsight I should have seen this as some sort of omen. The day before I had checked my tyres to make sure they were okay for the journey. It’s something I try to do on a regular basis.
I planned to stop for diseal not far from Carmarthen then continue on to my brother’s in Llanelli. Erin and Rowan decided they needed the toilet at the petrol station and thankfully we were able to sort them out there and then as there was a toilet (Usually its a case of a lay by! something we’ve all done as parents) Everything was going smoothly, Trystan was checking out the geocaching app on my phone in preparation for our walk later. Then as I approached the roundabout on the outskirts of Carmarthen Erin was sick! I pulled into Halfords and cleaned her up, she hasn’t been travel sick for ages so I wasn’t best prepared for it, I had a change of trousers in case she’d got wet on the walk, a towel and some baby wipes so I was able to sort her out. I suddenly realised it was the fact she had had a large bowl of cereal before we left which is something that nearly always results in travel sickness with my lot. Cleaned up we were on our way again and despite the two stops were still on track to arrive when I said we would.
We reached my brother and his partner’s house and enjoyed a catch up while the children watched some cartoons. After a while the younger two boys and Erin started playing a game, crawling around trying to catch each other. I immediately told them to behave and sit down quietly for a little longer until we left for the country park. But they decided to continue anyway, even my brother told them to calm down and sit quietly with little effect. My brother’s partner had just popped upstairs to get ready and my brother was in the kitchen when suddenly there was a loud bang! Erin had gone to sit on the beanbag and at the same time Rowan had moved it too sit on himself, one of those freak accidents we’ve all experienced at one time of another. Just as this happened I had been telling them yet again to calm down and stop it. I immediately jumped up and went to Erin who was laying on the floor next to the coffee table. My first thought was that she had hit her head hard on the table. However as Erin sat up I could see blood above her mouth and she immediately started crying. Checking her head quickly I could see no obvious impact so her mouth had taken the brunt of the collision. Rowan by this time was looking rather sheepish. Then I noticed she was starting to bleed quite a bit. My brother started shouting at me to get her off the beige carpet and into the kitchen so I picked her up and moved her into the kitchen.
My brother’s partner had joined us by this time and the three of us were trying to calm Erin down and assess the source of the bleeding. I quickly realised that she had a deep gash on her upper left lip line. So I applied a compress of wet kitchen towel to stem the blood. Erin didn’t want us to look inside her mouth so it took a lot of persuasion for us until she finally let me have a quick look. I could see she had a further cut to her under lip and one inside her mouth. My fear was that the gash inside had penetrated straight through to the outside one a fear that was shared by my brothers partner. I took the decision that we would need to head to a&e to have her checked over as from my time as a dental nurse, I knew that if the cut had gone through she would require stitches if not surgery. Where my brother lives is between two hospitals so it was a toss-up where to go, but I decided to head back to Carmarthen as it was closer to home.
My brother and his partner kindly said they would take the older two down to the country park as we had planned and the hope was I would join them with the younger two once Erin had been checked over. So we transferred car seats and packed lunches etc to my brothers car and I set off with the younger two. By this time the bleeding had stopped but Erin wouldn’t let go of the compress and she was crying saying she didn’t want to go to hospital. I just kept reassuring her she would be okay and that it was important she was checked over. Just before we set off I had spoken to dad of 3 to let him know what was happening too.
At the hospital finding parking was a nightmare, I hadn’t realised I couldnt park near A&E so had to go back round and ended up parking in the main car park then we had to walk around to A&E which took ten minutes. We checked in and were sent to wait in the children’s area, there was a 2-3 hour wait to see the doctor but a shorter wait for the nurse. I had expected to be seen by a nurse initially so hoped it wouldn’t be long. The children’s area had its own toilet facilities and a few toys and books along with a tv. So we settled down to wait. After an hour and a half Rowan and Erin were getting restless and so was I, we were all hungry by this stage. I promised Rowan that if we hadn’t been called shortly I would go and ask for an estimated time but in the meantime we had to wait our turn. After a further thirty-five minutes we were called, not to see the nurse but to see a doctor. Erin immediately became upset again and tried to hide in my coat when we went through. I explained what had happened and then I tried to help reassure her so she would show the doctor her mouth. I eventually managed to get Erin into a comfortable position where the doctor could have a look, he found a second cut on the underneath of her lip but could see that the interior cut had not gone straight through her lip thankfully, so they were too separate cuts. He explained that the cut on her lip line wouldn’t need stitching and that they don’t like to do stitches with children unless absolutely have too. However if the cut had gone straight through we would have been transferred to Morriston Hospital for surgery. The doctor checked the cuts again just to double-check and said it was very close to penetrating through so Erin had been very lucky. He then cleaned the cut on her lip line which all though was deep was clean and he felt would heal well but dressed with some steri strip to help. We were then free to leave just over two and a half hours after we had arrived.
As we walked back to the car I rang my brother and his partner to let them know what had happened and also dad of 3. We arranged for my brother and his partner to bring the older two to the hospital to meet us and I would wait in the car park for them, then we would head home. Back at the car Rowan, Erin and I tucked into our packed lunch as we were starving by this time. I also put my mobile on to charge for twenty minutes while we waited then unplugged it. The younger two were desperate to get home and were also upset we hadn’t managed to have our walk. However Rowan was looking forward to his Halloween Party that evening so I assured him we would be back in time for that. Then at 2.45pm I put the radio on for a bit to distract them. At 3pm two spaces opposite where I was parked became free so I decided to move my car to one of them to make transferring car seats easier.
However the car wouldn’t start… initially I thought it was due to the fact we’d been sat in the car for so long and it was the car security preventing it turning over. So I looked and unlocked the car and tried again but again it wouldn’t start. I couldn’t believe it. I quickly rang the RAC who I have breakdown cover with as part of my car insurance. However the customer advisor having taken details told me it would be at least a three-hour wait. I explained that I was on my own with four children and it would soon be getting dark and cold. Also that I had spent a couple of hours in A&E with one of the children. She assured me I would be a priority however it may still be up to three hours!
As I hung up from the RAC my brother and his partner arrived with the older two and I updated them about the car. They waited with the children while I popped to the toilet in the hospital to save me taking them all with me. At the same time I tried to see if there was anyone looking after the car park to see if they could help but couldn’t find anyone. Back at the car we said goodbye to my brother and his partner who had to go somewhere but said they would ring and see where we were when they finished. Then it was just me and the children in the car waiting. After an hour the RAC rang back to say they were giving the job to a local contractor but they were around an hour away from us still. By this time I was less than amused to say the least. We were all getting cold and tired and I for one was utterly fed up. I explained to the lady at the RAC that I didn’t feel I this was the way a priority call out should be dealt with and that it was now close to getting dark and we were all cold. She explained she would phone again later and I explained my battery was now dying on my mobile phone. At which she asked if there was another number she could contact me on! Really! as calmly as possible I explained again I was in a hospital car park with four children under 12 years old and my only contact number was the mobile I was calling from!
Trystan was really restless by this stage so I let him out of the car to sit under the tree in front of the car. I then told the children it wouldn’t be long now until help came. Then messaged the Cub leader to let her know it was doubtful we would make the party that evening and she would need to find help to cover the numbers. Rowan realised what I was saying and became upset. By this stage I felt like crying too, it had been an awful day but I tried to keep it together for the children. Just after 5pm I received a call from the breakdown who were trying to locate me so I gave them directions into the car park where he arrived five minutes later. I got all the children back into their seats and strapped in so we could go. After a quick look the breakdown man jumped started the car and checked the battery but told me I would need a new battery as soon as possible. He also told me that by the time we got home which was an hour away the battery would be charged again and not to let the engine stop until we reached home. Just before he left the lady from the RAC rang to check we were okay and to apologies for the delay getting help to us. As a gesture of good will and means of apology she said they would send some love2shop vouchers out. Which was kind however I felt didn’t make up for the delay but I just wanted to get going. I thanked him for his help and quickly made our way home.
By the time we reached home we were all so glad to be back. Dad of 3 had got home ten minutes before us and had put the oven on for tea. Over tea I told dad of 3 about the day and sent several texts to let people know we were finally home. Erin although quiet seemed okay in herself apart from her very swollen lip and she even refused calpol telling me she was fine! I’m grateful for the fact that children are so resilient and bounce back quickly, I on the other hand felt emotional and drained from the whole day, a disastrous day and one hopefully not to be repeated.