Week 45: Bitter-Sweet

Saturday 5th November

Week 45 will go down as one of the most beautiful 1/2 marathons of this year around a img_5837course that I’ve done 5 times already on this challenge. What followed later that day was sadly a stark reminder as to why I am putting myself through this challenge. The contrast of the two experiences book-ended my day.

Today I had Tom Drowley for company. I’ve known Tom for years from my Loughborough days and then later as a colleague and close friend at Bath. Not much of a runner, this was going to double Tom’s lifetime longest run and the tension was building all week. When the morning arrived it was clear blue sunshine, a perfect Autumnal day. I’m not sure we actually stopped talking for img_5839the next 1hr46mins that it took to complete 21.1km. I mean Tom can talk with the best of them and he didn’t disappoint for company. Topics covered included life design, sprint kinematics, ego, ambition… the list of dreamer-bullshit goes on and on! I absolutely loved it and the whole thing flew by.

img_5845We spent the rest of the day unwashed, watching rugby, eating and drinking and even enjoyed a firework display out the back courtesy of next door’s family reunion. It was all going so well.

Autumn had been suspiciously cuddly with me all day and had been off her food ever since her vaccinations on Thursday. When she’s drowsy like this we check her heart with a stethoscope just to make sure it is under control. This time though, it sounded pretty quick. Katie and I passed it back and forth listening intently through her raspy cough. Our guide is that if it’s too quick to count, it’s going crazy! When she’s in SVT it beats like a hummingbird’s wings. We dropped everything (including Tom) and headed to A&E. We got seen straight away and the nurses hooked Autumn up to a heart rate machine. Sure enough her heart was going double what it should be: 260 beats per minute.  Our hearts sunk. We were taken into the room next-door where she’d been seen back in November and it all came flooding back. At nearly a year on she was much stronger than before and while concerned, the situation was not life threatening this time. The doctors tried to avoid using adenosine this time and instead opted for conservative treatments. Unfortunately this involved holding Autumn’s head in ice cold water to evoke a vagal response, that feeling you get when you jump in ice cold water and your breath is dragged from your throat. She immediately responded and her img_5849heart rate fell back to 130bpm before shooting back up again a few minutes later. The staff tried again and successfully repeated the procedure. I couldn’t watch. Our little girl must have though she was going to be drowned. She was terrified and there’s nothing we could do to explain to her what was going on. The doctors delivered adenosine just once through a canular in her hand. Again it worked but he heart just rebounded back up to 260bpm. We were admitted upstairs for the night. Eventually the doctors decided to just leave her to calm down, fall asleep and monitor her. At 2am she corrected her heart rate herself and did not return to SVT. Katie stayed with her overnight and on Sunday afternoon we were discharged.

Once again I cannot thank the staff enough for their kindness and generosity with Autumn, Katie and I that night. Their expertise was once again so impressive to me and I’d like to thank everyone so much for all they did. Unfortunately nights at the hospital don’t come cheap so I’m hereby adding another £1000 to my £8000 total to cover the cost of Autumn’s care once again. It’s worth acknowledging the repercussions of such an evening to appreciate what parents in Children’s Hospitals have to endure. Katie and I took the Monday off work together and returned to work on Tuesday. You feel fit enough to work but you’re not all there. We both got sick that week and limped through to Friday. Life goes back to normal but your just exhausted. My mood was so low. I was irritable and frustrated. I had to remind myself that it’s to be expected and it’ll pass. And it does, but it takes longer than you think.

Each time we just catch a brief glimpse of what life is like in Children’s Hospital and we’re so lucky to take our little girl home safe and sound. I just can’t imagine what it would be like otherwise. My heart goes out to everyone there and the staff that do such an amazing job every single day and night.

Thank you Tom for coming running with me, it was immensely enjoyable. We’ll have to try the burger night again some time!

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