Monday, 30 November 2009

Victories and Viruses

So Warrington Wolves made it to Wembley. You could have floored me with a feather when the final hooter went in our semi-final against Wigan Warriors and we were the victors. We'd actually made the Challenge Cup Final! The Wire were going to Wembley! But that left us in a huge dilemma: we'd never left Bethany for more than a couple of hours and even then we'd only done it 3 times. But Warrington were in a cup final for the first time in 19 years and as lifelong supporters how could we not be there to see it? Of course opinion was divided. I wanted to take Bee with us and Foz thought it was best if she stayed at home. We live a long way from London and would be gone from very early in the morning until very late at night. Foz's common sense won over my emotional irrationality and it was agreed Bee would stay at home. I would only be happy with one person doing the babysitting: my Mum. After myself and Foz she knows Bee best and nobody could do a better job than she can. Plans were made and my Mum was really looking forward to it. So, minibus booked and costumes organised I looked forward to Wembley with a mix of pure excitement and icy dread. I knew leaving Bee was not going to be easy.

The morning of the Final was bright and warm, surely a good sign, and my Mum and Ken arrived early in the minibus. Myself, Foz and our friend Thecko, costumed up, decorated it with blue and yellow flags, bunting and a sign reading 'this way to Wembley' for the back window. In all the commotion Bee had awoke so her Dad went to collect her from the cot and bring her downstairs. Once in my arms I couldn't let her go. It was so hard to leave knowing I wouldn't see her again for at least another 15 hours. But leave we did. Wembley was calling and we had another 13 fanatical Wire fans to collect on the way. My Mum and Bee waved us off, or rather my Mum waved and Bee attempted to pull her hair, and I shed a few tears as they disappeared from view. Still I knew I was leaving Bee in the best possible hands, I'd just miss her terribly. My Mum was planning on getting Bee bathed, dressed then taking her out for the day with her NannyGranny Jan.

And so, we were off to London! We stopped at the Wire stadium first, our pick-up point for the rest of the travellers on the bus. What a sight! 50+ club-organised coaches on top of the random fan-run coaches like ours, it was wonderful chaos. Vestas, one of Wire's sponsors, had brought lots of free merchandise so we made sure we had stocked up on flags and inflatable banging sticks before finally boarding the minibus and hitting the motorway. On the way down it was almost as if everyone on the motorway was heading for Wembley, decked out in primrose and blue. We waved at the passing cars, coaches and minibuses and received enthusiastic waves back. Everyone was so excited. We'd never been to Wembley and never seen Warrington in a cup final so you can imagine how excited we were. Mine was twinged with worry though. I missed Bee terribly already and we were not even in London. My Mum had texted a couple of times so I knew everything was ok, I just wish we'd brought her with us. On arrival at our booked parking spot, a pub 5 minutes from the ground, I set up my impromptu face painting booth on the floor of the minibus and proceeded to coat my fellow travellers in blue and yellow face paint. Once finished, although conveniently parked at a pub we decided to forgo partaking of the produce and head over for Wembley's over-priced and watered-down beer. I just couldn't wait to get into the stadium and see it filled with Wire fans. The walk up to Wembley was fantastic. To see all the primrose and blue-adorned people gave me such a sense of camaraderie. Plus, as guilty as I felt, it was nice to be having a break.

Inside the stadium was immense, there were Wire fans everywhere and the atmosphere was so excitable. We hung around in the concourse for a while, getting beers, hot dogs and programmes and then took our seats, about half way up the lower tier and right behind the sticks in the Warrington end. Amazing. We'd missed the pre-match entertainment but had made it in plenty of time for the pre-game staples: 'Abide With Me' and the National Anthem. There had been a lot of talk and laughing between us before the game about Abide With Me making even the toughest men cry but it just didn't get me. The National Anthem did though. I'm not particularly patriotic, it was more the knowledge that Warrington were playing in a game big enough to warrant the National Anthem being sung. I was a blubbering wreck. The fans roared as the song finished and the players lined up for kick off. I won't bore you with the blow-by-blow details of the game, Rugby League is not to everyone's taste, I'll just say it was a fantastic and nail-biting game. Towards the end of 80 minutes Wire were in the lead and I allowed a small glimmer of belief that we could win it enter my consciousness. As the minutes ticked past Huddersfield were fast running out of time to score the points they needed. You could feel the atmosphere begin to change from tension to celebration we approached the dying minute of the game. Elation swept through us as we counted down the final minute. Warrington had done it. Challenge Cup Champions. We jumped around and danced and cheered as the team did similar on the pitch. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and fished it out, looking forward to the inevitable 'congratulations' text messages. It was from my Mum. "Don't panic". My stomach dropped. "Bee is in hospital". The fear that had lurked at the back of my mind all day was there in front of me in black and white. y baby was in hospital and I wasn't there. The text went on to say they were waiting for a doctor and she would let me know as soon as there was any news. I told Foz straightaway and we worried over the possible causes. The most obvious (and likely) was another virus but the possibilities we endless and very scary.

Of course the stadium around us was still vibrating with the roar of celebrating Warrington fans, all oblivious in the drama unfolding in our two seats. Being on a minibus meant we didn't have the luxury of dashing home to Warrington so we had a decision to make. What would we do? Obviously we wanted to get home as soon as possible but there were 14 other people with us who wanted to enjoy this historic occasion. We decided to wait until Warrington had lifted the cup and everyone was ready to start leaving the stadium to break the news. It wasn't long before the team ascended the steps and one-by-one accepted their winner's medals. I had such mixed emotions: elation at my team's victory and despair at every passing minute I wasn't at Bee's side. I couldn't stop the tears although thankfully I wasn't the only one crying, I defy any Warrington fan to claim they didn't shed a tear that day. After lifting the cup the team posed for photos and paraded around the pitch. It seemed to go on forever, I just wanted it all to end. When it was finally all over and the last player had left the pitch we joined the crush of fans all exiting the stadium and gathered together with our minibus group in the concourse. It was chaos. The Wire fans milling about were crying & hugging strangers, cheering and waving flags and banners. We decided to tell only our closest friends Frilly & Nita so they could help us shepherd everyone back to the bus as quickly as possible. They were very understanding. Whilst trying to gather everyone together from various toilet trips, conversations and celebrations I was still frantically trying to phone my Mum to find out what was happening. Eventually I got through and she told me Bee had been grumpy all morning, throwing up and had developed a sky-high temp of 39.8. My Mum had taken her to A&E at dinnertime and by the time I spoke to her at tea time they had been moved to the ward but were still waiting to see a doctor. So, major panic over. Bee wasn't at death's door and there hadn't been an accident but we were still terribly concerned as illness for Bee is always tough and that was one of the highest temps she'd had. We were so anxious to get back to her.

Finally, the gang together, we headed for the minibus. The pub we'd parked at had put on a BBQ and everyone was starving. Of course we hadn't told most people about Bee so they started disappearing towards the food and beer. I headed after them and explained the situation. Everyone was supportive and after a quick pint & bite and a short petrol stop we started the long trip back to Warrington. The journey, although traffic-free, just seemed to drag. With every passing minute I worried about how Bee was. Foz and I had agreed that I would be dropped at the hospital first, then everyone else and lastly he would go home to sort through the bags and pack some things for me in case Bee was in longer than overnight.

We finally arrived at the hospital. I must have looked a sight walking the long corridors with my blue and yellow tutu and face paint. The nurses all had a good giggle when I arrived at the ward, no mistaking where I'd been. The ward had been decorated in yellow and blue streamers and pictures of the Warrington Wolves badge, a lovely touch for the children who were too ill to be at the game. Bee was asleep. It was about 11pm but I'd hoped she'd be awake so I could have a cuddle, I was dying to hold her. My Mu, bless her heart, was sat quietly in the comfy chair, the lights dimmed, watching Bee sleep. I was so glad to see her. She told me that the doctor had still not been round even though they'd been on the ward since teatime. She went on to update me about the events of her day: Bee had taken ill mid-morning, coughing and vomiting and had developed a temp of 39.8, at which point she'd taken the decision to take Bee to A&E. After a few hours they had been transferred to the ward, where they were still waiting. By the time we'd swapped war stories & had a cuppa from the nurses it was nearing midnight. Ken had returned from dropping off the minibus passengers and was ready to take my Mum home, which just left me and a sleeping Bee. With this time to myself I was able to set up my camp bed on the floor and sneak a feed down Bee's gastrostomy tube. It wasn't long before the doctor appeared, finally. I reflected that it was a good job Bee wasn't at death's door. After an examination that woke her and made her cry the conclusion was just another viral infection, keep her dosed up on Calpol. How frustrating! We'd waited, or at least my Mum had, nearly 8 hours to see a doctor on the ward and the conclusion was nothing we couldn't have done at home. If we'd have been seen sooner we may well have been able to take Bee home, but as it was past midnight we were stuck. After the doctor had left I settled my tired girl back to sleep and attempted to get some myself. It was about 1am and it had been such an emotional day, from one extreme to the other. By this point I had been awake for approximately 20 hours and I was exhausted. I sent a quick text to Foz and my Mum to update them and was out like a light.

The following day started early, as it always does on the ward. The ward staff make no allowances for people sleeping and it gets noisy very early. Bee was already awake and waving her legs in the air. I got her up, fed and dressed then we sat and played while waiting for the doctor to come on rounds. Rounds are always variable, anything from first thing to after dinnertime. Normally I'm happy to wait, me and Bee just pass the time playing, singing songs and visiting the playroom but today, after 5 hours sleep, I was desperate to get home. Not to mention I was still stuck in my tutu and heels from the day before and getting some very strange looks off other parents on the ward. Finally, after what seemed like an age, the doctor arrived. We exchanged pleasantries, I explained my attire and talked her through the previous day and evening. The conclusion was exactly what I'd expected; just another virus. Take her home, keep her topped up with Calpol and bring her back should she deteriorate. As soon as the doctor left I sneaked a text to Foz to tell him the good news and started to gather together Bethany's belongings. I dressed her in her warmest clothes to keep the chilly air off, good old British summer, and strapped her in the pram. All loaded up we were ready to leave. I collected Bee's medicine, said goodbye to the nurses and we headed towards the back entrance to the hospital to phone a taxi. After a long and exhausting weekend me and my girl were finally going home to a warm house and a cup of tea! Bee was still poorly and this lasted a couple of days but she recovered nicely, as she always does and came back fighting.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Sounds very familiar! Have taken George to the docs with a temperature and a cough, they look at his notes, see strange words like Kabuki...Next thing you know it's a night by the side of the hospital cot when Calpol and bed would do the job.