Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails

“Just” a Virus


I have been stunned and a little overwhelmed at the kindness that Twitter and the bloggersphere have shown to us over the last few days whilst the Cheetah Keeper has been poorly.  Thank you all so much.

So what was it that made the Cheetah Keeper so dramatically unwell?  We all get unwell, our children get unwell, it scares the living daylights out of us as parents, some children (and grown-ups for that matter) get ill more than others and some have bodies that just don’t work properly the first place.

The Cheetah Keeper’s body works pretty well (compared to others we know) but it just doesn’t handle infections particularly well – partly due to the fact his platelet function defect means that he can only have paracetamol – not nurofen.  So we only have one line of attack when it comes to having a temperature.  Add to that, the minute his body is under stress (infection, tiredness, general stress) he starts refluxing – generally onto the site of the infection (him being in Reception the most common viruses are coughs and colds which affect his throat/nose etc).

This weekend brought a searing temperature (40C+), a cough like I’ve never heard (although suspect now I may be reproducing it before long) and a generally poorly boy.  Paracetamol was not enough to get the temperature down and he was complaining that his mouth tasted of blood.

So I took him to hospital.  His condition means that he needs to be seen in a place where they have the relevant drugs and access to the relevant expertise.  Most children will need a cuddle, some calpol, nurofen and some sleep.  The Cheetah Keeper needed a bit more – and with a hospital dose of paracetamol and some antibiotics we came home.

If we can’t get his temperature down it can be the case that he needs a drip of fluids, paracetamol and antibiotics.  This time we didn’t.  Although our lovely nurse admitted it had crossed her mind.

Today it was suggested (by a mother of much older children) that I shouldn’t bother taking his temperature because it would cause me to worry more.

And that really annoyed me.  Because sometimes the whole story isn’t apparent.  The Cheetah Keeper’s virus is running rife in school – and most children will be a bit unwell and back in with no problems.  They don’t run the risk of their throat bleeding when they cough, their tummies will probably process the snot with relatively little effort, their mummies (or daddies!) will be able to manage their temperatures and they won’t have to put their child through the trauma of visiting yet another hospital, with unfamiliar staff, stifling temperatures and strange machines.

I take his temperature to help his doctors and nurses make an informed decision about his treatment.  Whether he needs a drip, a trip to GOSH or a change of medication.  Of course I worry.

He’ll be fine.  Kids with additional needs sometimes need a bit of additional help.  Sometimes those additional needs don’t show.  Perhaps remembering that before making a comment about a child’s health might be a good idea.

What do you think?

Author: Jenny

Life, photos and recipes mixed with family life, additional medical needs and a whole load of imaginary friends

15 thoughts on ““Just” a Virus

  1. I hope he will get better soon. please don’t listen to anyone and do what you think and know is best for you both. Hugs.

  2. How sad for him to go through that, brave little Cheetah. I hope he gets better soon.

    You keep taking his temperature, and taking great care as you do and just ignore other rude people. x

  3. Now I know why you have to make so many hospital visits. Hope Giles is back to full health soon.

  4. I cant believe someone who have the guts to say that, to any parent much less, a parent with a child who has additional needs. Hope he is feeling better, I guess he didnt have his surgery in this case?

    • he didn’t have his surgery – hopefully we’ll be rescheduled soon. He’s improving today – I just need to get him to eat now (even chocolate and ice-cream isn’t appealing!)…

  5. I think the mother of older kids was trying to reassure you, yes in the circumstances her comment wasn’t particularly helpful, but the intention was kind and that’s what really matters. It’s easy to get defensive when your kiddy doesn’t fit the norm, but I’d far rather someone approached me and talked to me about Dominic, how ever clumsily, than was too scared of inadvertently offending me to bother in the first place… Don’t you think? I always listen to the intention behind the words, rather than the words themselves (saves a lot of unnecessary indignation) x

    • This is someone who consistently jumps to conclusions and is famed for belittling situations. I absolutely agree about talking about things and as you know I will spout at length given half the chance and it doesn’t bother me when someone says “do you know how to manage a nosebleed” – this was just another one in a series of particularly tactless comments x

  6. That sounds rough 😦 I hope he’s on the mend.

  7. Some people are just obnoxious. I always wonder if they mean to be or if they don’t realise. I know I’ve said some stupid thoughtless things in the past and I’m always mortified when I realise and even the thought now makes me burn with shame. do other people just not notice how they make others feel?

    Anyway, hope your little man is better now. A nice hot cuppa and ten minutes sitting down for you.

    • I think she was genuinely trying to be ‘helpful’. I am as guilty as anyone on the charge of ‘mouth first, brain second’ but I’ve changed a great deal since having the children – and even more so since they became patients at GOSH. Cuppa – yes please!

  8. Pingback: The Gallery – Me Right Now « Cheetahs In My Shoes

  9. I sympathise, my grandson looks normal, but has multiple medical issues as well as multiple food allergies – and a lot of foods “may contain traces of nuts” and people say well it only may why not give him it – and our standard reply is “if it stated may contain traces of cyanide – would you feed it to your child?”
    I hope he feels better soon, and give a hug to his sister who has to bear the brunt of life with an ill little brother

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