Since the end of March, Isaac, my youngest son, has had a really tough time. Initially, he developed a painful knee problem, which affected his mobility. Our GP referred him immediately for physio, but even an urgent referral takes several weeks. In the meantime he was prescribed Cocodamol for pain, though it made him feel so ill he stopped taking it after about a week. He took Ibuprofen instead, which helped a little.
When he returned to school after the Easter holiday he was using a crutch to help him get around. His knee was painful, he missed doing PE which he loves, and at home he was unable to walk the dog with his dad at weekends, play badminton with his pals, or do anything very active atall.
At the end of April he started weekly physio, with thrice daily exercises at home in between times, which he carried out unfailingly.
In these first weeks, I ensured Isaac took Ibuprofen regularly, but unfortunately its prolonged use started to cause problems. He suffered stomach pain, and overwhelming nausea, which really floored him. He stopped the brufen, but by that time his stomach was damaged, and consequently there followed a one month 'healing course' of Omeprozole; not a happy state of affairs in a 14 year old boy.
As always at these times of stress, family life, with its myriad demands, continued. I cooked, shopped and cleaned as usual, and generally organised family life. Birthdays were celebrated. I turned 52 without noticing, and Isaac turned 14. His birthday photographs from the day show him rather pale-faced, leaning on his crutch, but grinning. He enjoyed a cinema trip with a group of friends, and family meals and treats too.
Jacob, my oldest boy, was on study leave all this time, in preparation for his Higher exams. In the months prior to Isaac's difficulties, I had assumed that the spotlight of my concern during these weeks would be Jacob, but in fact it was Isaac who was the focus of attention. Jacob was brilliant, calmly following his study plan, ticking off five exams during May, and really being an absolute credit to himself.
Then Isaac developed a second problem with his knee; his mobility decreased, and his pain increased. He continued with physio. I negotiated half days at school. Every day I woke worrying about his wellbeing, his health, and his by now patchy attendance at school. The awful nausea had started again, and was pitiful to witness, was I missing something? Yet, though his spirits were low, and he had a lot to cope with, I could see a well boy in there, and felt sure there was nothing sinister going on, if I could just get some answers to the stomach pain and nausea, which our GP could not resolve, but seemed unconcerned by.
By half term, three weeks ago, Isaac's knee was slowly improving, but his poor stomach was not. He felt constantly sick, and in the evenings in particular, was suffering from a lot of pain. At my wits' end one Sunday afternoon, I called NHS24, and after some convoluted hours of consultations and further referrals, Isaac was seen in hospital by his (and my!) new hero, Mr Albert. Listening to Mr Albert questioning Isaac, and watching his skilled examination, was like witnessing a detective solve a crime. He distilled all the facts and information, and came up with a definitive diagnosis.
It seems that the cocktail of medications had not only caused problems in Isaac's stomach, but also elsewhere in his system. Each problem exacerbated the other, and the end result was Isaac's ongoing pain and nausea.
Thankfully, the problem could be resolved without any invasive treatment, and we left late that night clutching a prescription, both feeling extremely relieved that we had an answer, and, more importantly, a solution. Isaac started his new medication early next morning, and by the end of the first day, I could already see a tiny improvement.
Three weeks later, Isaac has now finished with all his medications, and yesterday he was discharged by the physio. He feels well! (How good it feels to type those words!). Tomorrow, for the first time since the end of March, he will walk in to school without a crutch.
I feel I am surfacing after all these weeks of worry, anxiety, and stress. I feel buoyant and optimistic, and am looking forward so much to the summer holidays, and all our summer plans, which I will talk about another time.
Blogging, both writing and reading, has not been part of my daily or weekly routine for many weeks, though I have maintained my monthly Cookery Calendar Challenge posts. I am looking forward to catching up with all my blog reading, and to writing more regularly again too.
I have not until now, written about Isaac's recent experiences; respect for his privacy being the main reason. Now that we are coming out the other side however, I do want to record a summarised record of events. Isaac has given me full permission to publish this post. I mentioned elsewhere that my blog has become a haphazard journal of family life, and it doesn't feel right to simply ignore the experience that has been my main focus for the last several months. I am so proud of how well he has coped with everything. He is a credit to himself, and that is worth recording too.