On Wednesday evening, 9 May herself fainted, briefly and for the first time ever. I rang my father for advice. “Get a doctor round,” he said. The out of hours doctor service said, “Take her straight to A&E, I’ll call the ambulance, if you like.” So, the Princess – slightly miserable and headachey but otherwise ok – and I drove to A&E in the children’s hospital. In driving rain, of course.
By the time we got there, the Calpol had kicked in and she was fine. The triage nurse put us in category 4 – meaning she was ok really but the nurse insisted that she should see a doctor. Category 4 means – I can tell you now – that all smaller and/or sicker children would have to be seen before her. Between 7.30 in the evening and 3.30 in the morning, we saw every child with a broken limb in North County Dublin and a lot of sick babies.
We had left home before dinner but in the solidarity of the waiting corridor, a nice woman shared bananas with us. My phone ran out of juice about 11.30. Herself pleaded with me to pay €2 to recharge it for 40 minutes. “What,” said I, “would be the point, we’ll be out of here in half an hour.” Oh how we laughed. We had brought one book each and in desperation we swapped about 1 in the morning which was unsatisfactory for both of us. I went through the various leaflets – how to be safe in the water, permission for surgery, breastfeeding – and corrected the spelling and grammar errors. Look, each to his own.
When we eventually saw the doctor, she was very thorough but found nothing. But she was less than entirely comforting – if it happens again, we’re to bring herself in for an EEG. You need to pass out more than once before they’ll do that apparently. The doctor had been on since 9 the previous morning and a part of me sympathised and was v. impressed by her thoroughness but another less worthy part of me thought, mmmm, yes but you will be off tomorrow and I will be going to work and it is now 4 in the morning. Yes, it’s all about me. Your point? A bill for €100 is winging its way towards us in respect of the 30 minute examination and 8 hour wait.
Anyhow, herself has been absolutely fine since, so I trust that all will be well but you find us all still somewhat unnerved. Our families have been suitably supportive and caring. Anyone else I have told has been enormously comforting – it used to happen to me, I know a girl who always fainted etc. etc. There has been one notable exception, namely her teacher. He is a native Irish speaker from the Kerry Gaeltacht and, he glows with the irrepressible pessimism that is sometimes associated with the region. When we told him the story, he instantly said, “Ah, I noticed she wasn’t well in herself recently.” “In what way?” we asked nervously, “Was she tired, distracted, not concentrating?” “No,” he said, “I just felt she wasn’t learning.” Oh Lord above. We have decided to discount this evidence on the grounds that she seemed quite alright to us recently.