“Do you want some tissues?” the woman asked, trying to be helpful.
“No I don’t.” I grabbed my daughter, removed her from the scene and to his displeasure through the screams of ‘I can’t see’ and ‘it hurts’ squirted water in her eyes. I then tried the stick her head under the (cold) tap but she was having none of it, so I splashed as much as I could with my hands. She calmed down a bit and I dusted sand off her body, dried and dressed her, before phoning 111.
‘You need to get her to A & E and within 4 hours and get her seen by a Doctor.’ was the advice. The call assistant told me where the nearest one was, and I checked out the best way to get there on Google maps.
Considering the urgency of it I decided the easiest and quickest would be a taxi. When we eventually got one to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, the driver dropped us right at the door. He even refused payment telling me to get my daughter some chocolate to cheer her up. How kind!
At A & E:
In the queue for registering, I heard ‘no GP’, ‘one hour’, ‘last one didn’t come’, ‘not here’ and various other snippets that didn’t inspire me with confidence. Our turn; because of what I had overheard, I asked if there was a GP. The answer was no and there was an eye hospital just down the road.
“Shall we go straight there?” I asked-it seemed logical to me. For some reason, the guy on reception said not to. I shouldn’t have listened.
The good thing about St Mary’s was it has a children’s waiting area and my daughter calmed down a lot being there. After a fair wait, we got seen by a nice nurse who told us to go to the eye hospital.
A & E round 2:
Unfortunately, we had a map of how to get to the hospital but no referral letter. We went to the first floor and waited and waited.. The really annoying thing though is as my daughter started getting a bit angsty I asked how long we might have left to wait and was told:
“You’re next; about ten minutes.” Maybe we were next at that point, but I think the Dr went home. After the ten minutes had passed, instead of calling us, we were all told to go to the second floor.
On the second floor there was no receptionist and it soon became as if we had only just arrived. Eventually I had to fill out a form then we got to see a nurse. She showed my daughter some pictures (very large and really close up) asking if she could see them. She cooperated but then I could tell she had had enough. Snacks had run out, it was way past bedtime and there was nothing to keep her occupied after playing ‘I spy’ for the umpteenth time.
“I want to go home.” she kept telling me. So did I, but I was worried; her eye was weeping sand and the 4 hours within which to see someone (f I had understood tight) were nearly up. I asked a few more times if we could be seen as we had to travel all the way back to the southeast and it was late. Somewhere approaching 10 pm we got seen. By this stage my daughter was having none of it!
Finally seeing the eye Dr:
“No!” she said to every attempt to look in her eyes. She kicked, she screamed, she cried. The Dr. tried bribery with chocolate, I tried coaxing, explaining why, getting cross, even getting a nurse to help; no luck. In the end, he gave me a cream to put it inside her eyes on the red bit when she was asleep, to help heal scratches and draw out the sand. Furthermore, we were told if Daisy still refused tomorrow she would have to be put under anaesthetic. Heck!
The next day:
Thankfully she was in a better mood and let the eye Dr have a look. What was more, we were told no serious damage, nothing to worry about. What a relief; I was so relieved I could have cried.
I must say though, I do think some of the stress at A & E could have been avoided if there was a way to get little ones seen quickly- especially when it is late at night.