She sits in the chair of the darkened room, hunched over the small, defeated, ball of her child. She worries over this baby because she is always ill.
The day has been a big one. Crying, clinging and high temperatures. After the first convulsion, the child, a girl, has not moved from her lap until the next fit exploded from her body and left her motionless once again.
She is scared and feels alone in the place where she is. She cannot think who to call for help, except for her husband, who is still two hours away from home. The boy child has pottered around for most of the day, seemingly unnoticed but she has seen him, her heart aches to pick him up and cuddle him. Kiss him and tell him she loves him but for now, it is as if she is bolted to the chair by the weight of the girl, unable to move for fear of another convulsion.
Another daughter has remained home today and she is grateful of the help. She does not think she would have survived this day without her there.
For all the world, she wants someone to take this out of her hands.
Finally the paediatrician calls and the decision is made to go to the hospital.
She has a dislike for hospitals, even though she works in one and her trust for doctors is little but the paed has assured her that she will spend as little time in the emergency room as possible and because the girl child is not recovering well from the last fit and because she feels as though she can do no more for her baby she admits defeat and takes her. For the first time in days feels relief.
The emergency staff are efficient and kind. There are people everywhere, movement and blurs of people striding past in their urgency to provide care. In one booth she and her baby sit; the child is still on her lap but she watches everything. For an instant she wishes she were on the other side, giving the care instead of needing it.
Soon the girl child is ready, is canulated and a drip has been started. During it all the girl only cries a little and while everyone comments that the baby is brave, she knows that the girl is beyond caring.
They arrive in the children’s ward in the early hours of the morning. The nurses are friendly and sweep the pair into their room to sleep for the last few hours before sunlight.
It comes too soon and the girl child remains silent and unmoving. Her eyes have a glassy, vacant stare. Her breath comes in quick, sharp gasps. The child only moves when the nurses come to check her drip. Then she screams.
She is still worried about her baby but now it is a shared concern as the paediatrician arrives and looks her over. Another night, more antibiotics. Another 24 hours and the girl will be fine, he soothes the mother. She looks into his green eyes (had she noticed that before?) and finds reassurance and a kindness for the girl child.
Friends ring and some come to visit. The day is both long and short at once. The girl child picks up when the boy and her daddy arrive but she tires easily and when they are gone she falls asleep.
She can see improvement though and feels in control again as she snuggles next to her baby.
Now another morning is here and the sun is shining in from the window. The girl child has woken, like the day. Fresh and new.
She smiles for the first time in days and kisses the girl child, who responds with a hug.
It is going to be okay, she thinks as she feels her heart begin to beat once more, as she hears herself exhale from the breath she has been holding.