Tag Archives: A&E

The phone call you dread . . . “There’s been an accident . . .”

IT’S a phone call any parent would dread – “Now don’t panic, but [insert your child’s name here] has had an accident and we’ve called an ambulance . . .”

This happened to us for the first time this weekend.

It was the usual Sunday morning of rugby – which can either mean everyone at their home ground training or scattered around the county at different games.

Bloke had left early to take Billy to Corby for an under-eights game, I’d dropped Dougie at one club for an under-13s home game, while Jed cadged a lift with a team-mate to another town ground for an under-14s match.

Rugby is Bloke’s domain; I opt out of rugby when possible, in theory because I’m the taxi-driver for everything else, but in reality there’s usually a massive pile of washing to clear before the next heap of filthy kit arrives beside the machine.

Bonnie and I had just got home from a supermarket run. Then my mobile rang; an unrecognised number. It was our friend and fellow rugby mum, Kim.

“Now don’t panic, but can you get down here right away? It’s all fine, but Jed’s had an accident, and he’s OK, but we’ve called an ambulance . . .”

The old cliché of your blood running cold is truly accurate.

Within about four minutes I’d got Bonnie back into her shoes and coat, out to the car and strapped into her seat, and we were racing across Northampton.

Of course every light turned red as we got to it. Every slow driver pulled out in front of us, giving extra time for my mind to race.

He wasn’t knocked unconscious; we’d established that much on the phone. But what had happened? How badly injured was he? They said they weren’t moving him . . . did that mean a neck injury? What if we missed the ambulance going the other way to hospital? What if we didn’t get there in time? In time for what? How bad was it going to be?

I considered putting my hazard lights on, running red lights, overtaking, but I needed to get to him in one piece. And I had Bonnie in the car too. Don’t be stupid Hilary, just get there. Get to him.

Then it occurred to me to ring Bloke. What should I say? He was even further away. And what about Doug, who would need picking up from elsewhere?

When we got to the Casuals RFC ground in Bedford Road, there was no ambulance, but fellow parents were waiting to show me where Jed was. I parked – badly – passed a bewildered Bonnie over to Kim’s brilliantly responsible teenage daughter, and started running to the farthest corner of the fields where I could just make out a shape on the floor surrounded by adults.

At this point my adrenaline ran out and utter, disgusting, chubby unfitness took over. I got halfway across the muddy second pitch and couldn’t breathe, let alone run. I turned to see the ambulance coming in the gates and got to Jed just before it did.

He was on the wet pitch where he’d fallen, covered in coats, tops – anything anyone could donate to keep him warm – in shock and some pain, with his excellent coach holding his head still. Everyone was clearly concerned.

He’s a scrum-half. He’d been in a heavy tackle, fallen sideways and landed heavily on his back. After the impact his legs had gone numb with pins-and-needles, and his back was agony. He’d been told in no uncertain terms, quite rightly, not to move.

The two ambulance women quickly established he didn’t have a neck injury, and got him onto a stretcher and into the ambulance where he was given gas and air for the pain.

Everyone at the club had rallied around, taking care of Bonnie, kit bags and the car while I went in the ambulance.

Meanwhile Bloke had arrived back in Northampton, gone to fetch Dougie, and was on his way to retrieve Bonnie and everything else before coming to the hospital.

In A&E, we were admitted quickly. Jed had to part with the gas and air, which he’d clearly become attached to, and had been given strong painkillers instead. He wasn’t talking much, mostly from shock.

We were seen quickly by a nurse, then a doctor, and the diagnosis was that he probably hadn’t broken any bones, but had possibly torn muscles in his lower back. They seemed most relieved he hadn’t broken any ribs.

We were dispatched within an hour of arriving with three sets of strong painkillers and advice not to play sport until he recovered fully.


Jed before Sunday's drama. And no those aren't his rugby boots.

Jed felt relief, shock, and utter disappointment that he hadn’t been able to play the match and probably wouldn’t be playing for a while either. He was also embarrassed about the whole ‘taken off in an ambulance’ thing. Word had quickly spread and his phone was pinging all day with concerned messages from his friends.

Meanwhile I felt, and still feel, massive, overwhelming relief that it hadn’t been worse. A boy I’d grown up with had died in his teens playing school rugby in a freak accident. Plenty of other people suffer life-changing sports injuries and thank goodness Jed wasn’t one of them . . . this time.

Part of me is screaming: don’t ever let any of them on a rugby pitch again! But I know I can’t, and shouldn’t, stop them, any more than we can stop them ever crossing the road or getting in a car. Normal life carries risks.

Huge massive thanks to all at Casuals RFU who went out of their way to help and to the ambulance and hospital staff who mop up these kinds of sports injuries every weekend.

And by the way . . . they all lost their matches too.

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How do you get medical glue out of hair?

TOUCH wood, we haven’t had to attend hospital too much over the 13 years we’ve been parents. But Billy managed to end a recent day out with a trip to A&E after bashing his head (we’re still not sure how) and bleeding profusely.

The wailing only really started when tactful Dougie, who ran to his aid, started saying things like: “Cor, there’s loads of blood, look, it’s really bleeding, he’s got blood all over him, it’s gushing . . .”

Once we, and some helpful fellow parents, had managed to calm him down and stem the flow, we tried to work our way through his matted hair to find out how bad/deep the cut was. It was only about an inch and a half, but looked like it might need a stitch (we mimed this idea to each other out of his eye-sight so’s not to start him wailing again).

We headed for MIMIU, the minor injuries and minor illness unit on Cliftonville Road in
Northampton. It was a Sunday, we thought we were doing the right thing, but apparently not.

After a bizarre one-way conversation with the receptionist (I talked, she typed) we deduced that you are supposed to ring ahead or get referred by your GP. A passing medic stopped to examine Billy’s cut an agree that it did closing with medical glue, and asked the same receptionist to find out if the nursing staff had any. The minor injuries unit didn’t necessarily have the right kit to fix a cut!

A further bizarre wait while the receptionist emailed the unseen nurses, then explained she
then had to wait for them to see the emails and reply. No phones or feet in use then?

Cricket boy

Inevitably, we were sent up to the main A&E department. Thankfully Bloke had waited with
the other kids in the car or it would have been a long walk. A&E booked him in, assessed him, sent us to a play area and patched him up, all in half an hour.

Billy’s cut paled into insignificance when I was talking to a fellow mum, whose toddler daughter had run into a heavy chair and needed several stitches in her forehead, under general anaesthetic. Billy was lucky.

A week later, with no proper hair wash, Bill’s bonce seems to have healed. But please, how on earth do you get a big clump of medical superglue out of hair?


Filed under Parenting