During their darkest most difficult times, when a warm hug from mum can’t make it better, I tell my children that everything happens for a reason. That even though, right here, right now, you may not know what that reason is, there will come a day when you’ll turn around and look back, and suddenly, you will know exactly why things happened the way they did.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
I have believed this with all my heart since my eldest daughter Kate was a baby, when a chain of extraordinary events led me to embrace this profound philosophy . . .
. . . and it all started because I placed Kate into Day Care.
I’d like to say I did it because I had to go back to work. I’d like to say I did it because day care was free. Heck, I’d like to say I did it for any reason other than the truth, but quite frankly, I did it for her own good. I wanted her to learn to play with other children. I wanted her to learn to share and, most importantly, and truthfully, I wanted to have a few hours to myself.
She was nine months old and I’d had enough of bottles and nappies, day in, day out.
Perhaps the decision seems selfish and I remember my mother saying to me, quite passionately, “You can’t do that to her! She’s your daughter! It’s your job to look after her!”.
But it’s right here where fate intervened because I stuck out my chin, I stuck to my guns, and I stuck her in day care.
Within three months, it would prove to be the decision that ultimately saved her life.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
Kate was a little unwell as a baby. Not sickly, like some children, but not thriving like others either. She was happy, but not exactly healthy and by the time she was five months old, I knew, in my bones, that something was wrong.
It wasn’t long before a paediatrician confirmed my worst fears.
Kate had patent ductus arteriosus. A congenital heart disorder where the ductus arteriosus remains open – patent – after birth. It occurs in approx. eight out of every 1,000 premature babies and approx. two out of every 1,000 full-term babies.
Kate was one of those two.
“Don’t worry” the paediatrician said. “She’ll grow out of it!” But a follow-up appointment was made for six months time, just to be sure. I wrapped myself in a safety net of knowing this was simply a bump in the road.
Suddenly though, the road became very bumpy and within five months we were visiting the paediatrician again.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
I don’t know why he decided to check her heart that day. Perhaps it was close enough to six months. Perhaps he had a niggling suspicion. Or perhaps he thought he’d save me the expense of another appointment.
It doesn’t really matter why, the fact remains that he did and because he was concerned that the duct had not closed – he suspected it had actually grown – Kate was then placed onto the patient list for a cardiac clinic the following week.
Within two weeks we were whisked away to a tertiary referral hospital in the ‘big smoke’. The Prince Charles Hospital, the premier cardiac service for Queensland which provides – among many other services – specialised services in complex interventional cardiology.
My heart ached for Kate while she was poked and prodded, x-rayed and examined, soothed and sedated, but I knew she was in the very best of care, and only three days after surgery, we were flown home.
As quick as that, following her first birthday, Kate was fixed, fit and ready to face her future. AND I must say she didn’t hesitate. She grew up, she grew out, she grew hair, and I started buying baby shampoo.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
By now I’m sure you’re wondering how placing Kate into day care saved her life. Surely it was the specialists, the surgeon’s skilled hands?
Well, not in my books.
Following her operation the surgeon sat me down, took me by the hand, and looked me right in the eye as he said “Mrs Horan, Kate is one very lucky little lady.” He went on to say it was a miracle she was alive at all. That, in his opinion, she would not have survived another two months, that her heart had been working so hard, keeping her alive, that it would have simply stopped.
His words started me thinking.
Appointments at the cardiac clinic were only available during a two-week period each February and August.
It was February when Kate was seen by the assessing specialist.
Kate was placed on the patient list the day before the clinic in February.
The paediatrician ensured her case was urgent.
The paediatrician checked her heart four weeks earlier than planned.
I made that earlier appointment with the paediatrician for another reason.
If she hadn’t been there when she was, he wouldn’t have checked her heart when he did. She would not have been seen by the assessing specialist in February who then rushed her off for life saving surgery.
As hard as it is for me to admit, she would have died with her name on the patient list for the clinic in August.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
All of this brings me to the reason why I took Kate to see the paediatrician four weeks earlier than originally planned.
She had impetigo, that highly contagious skin infection commonly known as school sores. The worse case the paediatrician had ever seen in a child so young, thanks to her already suppressed immune system.
This is the place, right here, where fate intervened, because where on earth does a 10 month old baby catch school sores?
Playing with other children in the sand pit at day care.