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I have had to take a little break from Daderoo after my own health was facing some problems. I wanted to write about this topic today because a trip to the emergency department was something that really impacted my mental health. The trauma of having your little one being very sick combined with the rushed trip to a hospital emergency department can leave the best of us laying in a pile of emotional wreckage.

Our little one has asthma and so our stressful runs to the hospital have usually been respiratory, and knowing your little one can’t breathe properly does not help to keep your mind focused on getting them the right help. Obviously, any ailment that requires you to rush your child to the hospital will be traumatic. I am speaking of my own experience which has gotten better the more used to the emergency department I became.

Our baptism of fire came when little Ally became very congested. We had already been to the emergency department months earlier I think and thought that was the worst it could get (we had a short hospital stay). I still remember after getting prioritised by triage nurses, standing next to the bin beside the hospital bed where my wife held my little one and an entire team of respiratory doctors and nurses were working on her.

I felt like climbing inside the bin. That’s how useful I felt at that moment. Knowing you can do nothing to help your child is the most disempowering feeling. Our little Ally was later put in an induced coma and we stayed in the paediatrics intensive care unit taking shifts watching over her.

I never fully realised the impact this event had on me until my own mental health began to deteriorate after this (in combination with some other unfortunate events in my life) which eventually led to a hospitalisation for myself. Thankfully, that led to FINALLY receiving a diagnosis for a mental health problem I have had and lived with for around 20 years.

Because I am aware of my own problems (even without a direct diagnosis that I now have) I was always very mindful of my mental health. It was only when I was in that pressure cooker of a situation that my symptoms became difficult to manage. Children seem to have a way of breaking us down in a way that we can become used to what is a high level of stress. Like they are preparing us for everything that is to come over the years.

It’s not all bad though, I have some very fond memories of staying in hospital with our daughter, hanging out. There is also those wonderful moments when you get to see your child start to recover. When our daughter was in intensive care, that was when the tubes started coming out or when she started to eat again.

Emergency room visits are something that will definitely come up for every parent. Make sure you know where your local hospital is (and that it has an active emergency department as some don’t) and do a practice run there if you get super stressed under pressure. The important thing is to listen to your own intuition. If your little one is really not behaving like they normally do and you feel like you should take them to hospital then do it.

We felt like we didn’t want to burden the hospital with an unnecesary visit, but believe me, we have had visits where our daughter was fine and we were just sent home. If we had second guessed our instinct on some of our trips to the hospital then we may have ended up calling an ambulance.

Thanks for reading my Dad blog, it’s nice to be back writing like this. I am also a parent with bipolar affective disorder, and so I hope to write a little more on parenting with mental health challenges also, especially since I’ve touched on it a little in this post. Look after yourselves!

-Kevin