I had managed to sleep for a short while because I was exhausted and I could see that Evelyn’s condition was improving. Her temperature came back to normal although she was lethargic and pale.
Our neighbour took our son to school and I sat with Evelyn. She wanted to come downstairs so I made her comfortable on the sofa with pillows and a light blanket and I put a bowl next to her as she had been slightly sick a number of times
I don’t know what time it was when I started to feel concerned again. I do know that her temperature started to rise again and that her breathing seemed more laboured again. When T arrived home from work after 2pm, we decided that Evelyn needed to see a doctor so that we knew whether she needed to go back to hospital. I phoned the GP surgery and was told that a doctor would phone me back.
A few minutes later the phone rang. I explained the history and he told me to bring her to the surgery straight away. T set off on foot for school to collect our son and I put Evelyn’s shoes and socks on and put a coat over her night dress.
We set off in the car with the hospital vomit bowl on her lap and she sat in the front passenger seat. We drove passed T who was walking quickly to get to school. With a very croaky voice, she said “I love my Dad”. It was one of the last things that she ever said.
We arrived in the ridiculously small car park and I reversed into the only available space. I quickly got out and opened the passenger door to help Evelyn in the confined space. As she got out, a wasp appeared from nowhere and stung her thigh before I could even react. It was the last thing she needed and I hadn’t brought my bag which contained antihistamine cream in a first aid kit. The wasp had landed on her skin because she was wearing her nightie.
I held her hand and we went straight to the reception desk. I think that the automated booking was out of order and anyway, I was now in a real hurry to get some help. The receptionist was having a problem with the computer and it seemed to take an age before we were sent to the waiting area. We sat outside the doctor’s room and waited.
Dr M that I know as a parent from school, walked through the waiting area and so I spoke to her and asked for something for the sting. I wasn’t worried about a reaction to the sting, but more that it was hurting her and she was already feeling very poorly. I explained that we were waiting for an urgent appointment with doctor H. She checked the sting and went to see the nurse about antihistamine. When she came back, she said that they only had treatment for anaphylactic shock. The sting was already looking better and so she went to her consulting room and shut the door.
Evelyn began to cough with the distinctive bark of croup. Dr M heard and immediately came out. She offered to see Evelyn, rather than wait for doctor H.
I explained the history and she examined Evelyn. She decided to administer Salbutomol and so we went into a treatment room and one of the practice nurses joined us. Whilst Evelyn was inhaling the Salutomol through the mask, the doctor went to look at the computer. She said that she had used the croup scoring method and that Evelyn had moderate croup, score 5. She said that it it usually over in 3 nights and so I could expect one more poor night’s sleep. She could not see anything that the antibiotics could have been working on as there was no sign of tonsillitis, although I said that I would carry on giving them until the course was complete and she agreed that this was the right thing to do.
She asked me about the medication in A and E and said that she could not prescribe Dexamethazone, but could prescribe Prednisilone. I remember that it was a surprisingly large dose (think 4 tablets dissolved in water) so I made sure that I listened carefully to the instructions.
She asked if I knew any of the other GPs because she thought that Evelyn should be checked after the weekend. She invited another doctor in and gave him the background. They both advised me about what to do if Evelyn became worse and that I should use steam to ease the symptoms.
Evelyn tried to speak, once the nebuliser mask was removed, because she knew the doctor from when I had an appointment. She said “he is the funny one” but he could not understand what she said because she had lost her voice. I explained to him and then helped Evelyn down off the high bed.
We went back to the car and set off for home. I decided to drop her off with T and then go straight to the big pharmacy on the retail park so that I could park outside and run in to get the Prednisilone.
I didn’t know that she had about one hour to live