As the summer rolled-on, Harry seemed to be making good progress. He revelled in being around his brothers and sister and was starting to really enjoy the outdoors, music and food; especially off-limits, chocolate!
Towards the end of the summer we decided to take the kiddies to Yorkshire. Matt is a Yorkshire Man at heart and loves nothing more than yomping through the Dales. So in late August we set off ‘Up-North’ for a five hour car journey with three kiddies and a tween-ager in tow.
The break was fab, rugged and beautiful. For five-year old Lewis, however the best bit was the Cow Poo! Ellie was stroking a massive heifer (not sure we were supposed to) at the Wensleydale Show when it did an almighty poo just above her head. On sight of the poo she screamed, Lewis was thrilled and has basically talked about nothing else since (Oh to be 5)! I guess we are just not country folk!
On our third night, Harry started screaming. He was bright during the day but screaming and distressed at night. By day four, I was starting to panic and threatened to call out an ambulance if the screaming didn’t stop. We reasoned in the end that as Harry wasn’t being sick or exhibiting any other sign of a Shunt blockage then he was probably just teething so we carried on with the holiday. The kids were loving the rivers and brooks and Harry was enjoying watching them paddle, fish, turn slightly blue and then bicker in the freezing water. So in all a pretty perfect, summer holiday!
On the way home, and with about two hours to go, Harry started to scream again and I mean scream. His screams were so piercing that Matt got into the back whilst I used every effort of my being trying to concentrate on keeping our ridiculous ‘Mummy Bus’ pointing in the right direction. For my neighbours, who have had the pleasure of watching my daily struggles with the stupid car, it will come as no surprise to learn that this was no easy feet.
Harry continued to do badly at night, but by day he was a joy. I phoned the neuro-unit and told them that I was worried. It was agreed that we could come in ‘just for reassurance’. The kids were now back at school and so, on a bright September morning, I drove the Mummy Bus, through rush hour traffic and into the hospital. Matt went into the work. Nobody was overly worried as Harry was contentedly chewing his toes. When we got to the hospital he found the toys and promptly starting throwing them around the place and making signs for Milk. All good, hey!
The Consultant looked at him and he grinned (he’s a terrible flirt- just like his Dad!). “He just seems odd” I said. We chatted about CT Scanning him. “The thing is, he looks so well” she said. The problem with doing too many CT Scans is that each increases the risks (slightly) of Tumours. Children are only supposed to have ten in their childhood. Harry is already up to six…. We chatted, scratched heads and decided on balance as we were here, and I was worried, to go ahead and scan. Then if all was OK (as everyone expected) we could go home and sleep-train the little bugger!
After the Scan we, (Mum had come along too) sat in the Waiting Room drinking coffee and texting ( I think we are all getting good a distraction techniques). I felt relaxed and Harry looked content. As the Consultant walked back into the ward I clocked her face. “Shit” I said to Mum, “this isn’t good news”. She came straight up to us and ushered us into the Treatment Room. She looked gutted and just came out and said “it’s dislodged- the shunt isn’t working” “We have no idea why”. I staggered back for seat and then asked her to call Matt.
Fifty minutes later- looking hot (and not in a good way!) Matt appeared. We found ourselves, consenting to yet more surgery. This time planned for Matt’s birthday…Happy Bloody Birthday to you. Enjoy the all too familiar view across London from Harry’s window on the ward!