A while ago, DS gradually became unwell.
He went off his food and became 'just not himself'
Thinking he may of been coming down with a virus or something, I kept a close eye on him and checked we had plenty of Calpol in the medicine cupboard in case it was needed in the next coming days.
The day after, DS was distressed. He was crying and looked angry.
Watching him closely at how he was behaving, I came to the conclusion that he was in pain.
I quickly called 111 for advice and possibly a ambulance as by now he was screaming with pain :(
I was immediately transferred to a nurse who asked me to place my fingers on a certain part of DS tummy which I did. He then screamed even more and crunched over in agony!
I remember screaming down the phone what had happened and how much more pain he was in.
The nurse told me to get him to hospital straightaway as he was showing signs of appendicitis.
Within 1 minute DS was bundled in the car with my Mum in the back with him and I raced the 40 minutes drive to the hospital, no doubt breaking every speed limit along the way! (oops!)
Mum texted Daddy on the way who said that he would be waiting for us when we got there.
Arriving in the hospital, I rushed up to the desk to check him in whilst Daddy cuddled DS and reassured him. We were then shown to a private room and waited sometime to come and examine a very distressed DS.
To cut a long story short, 4 hours later we were still in that room and no-one had been to look at DS.
I was probably seen as a 'lunatic Mother' as I was forever marching up to the desk and asking/demanding/raising my voice at why he hasn't been seen. The answers I kept getting were 'he is next' (he was next for 3 hours but never got seen) and 'we're really busy'
Now I generally admire the hardwork that NHS workers do but I have to say on this occasion, my son was let down by the staff at this hospital.
In the end, we ended up walking out as it was now more the waiting in a small room that was causing DS to be so upset and distressed (I communicated this to them) and we left at 11.30pm with a sleepy DS.
To say I was livid at how ill we had been treated in there would be the understatement of the year!
I think I breathed out fire on the journey back home.
I put DS to bed and then sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea furious at how they had massively failed DS and how I wasn't going to let this go!
The next day DS still wasn't right so we took him to a Children's hospital which was about a hours drive away. They were fantastic and he was examined within a hour of us arriving :) He was actually examined in a sensory room there which I thought was great!
The Doctor was marvellous, listened to me and as I knew him best told me to tell her if he found anything uncomfortable as she examined him.
I'm really big on giving feedback, so I gave glowing feedback on this visit.
Thankfully serious stuff was ruled out for DS which was a mega relief for us.
Now that I knew DS was okay, I turned my attention to the previous hospital.
I put in a major complaint and requested a meeting.
The thought that another autistic child could possibly go through what my son had gone through filled me with dread and I knew that I couldn't just leave that to happen without even having attempted to do something about it!
The meeting day came. I met with the head of A&E and the head of the PALS.
The meeting went much better than anticpated as both persons were lovely, warm and concerned and yes it was admitted that yes my son had been failed that night.
So I asked how could they assure that something like this wouldn't happen again and I was quite satisfied with the answer.
Another point I raised was that I was concerned that my son would have a negative association with the hospital whereas before this he was fine at coming in.
It was suggested that DS came into the department for a 'fun visit' and a walk around the whole department (where possible of course). I thought this was excellent idea and agreed to it.
I was also asked if I would help the staff make the department autism friendly which I'm only too happy to do :)
Taking DS in again was easy, he seemed to be okay walking through the same doors we did that night when he was in agony which I was really pleased about.
We we're met by the lovely heads of departments and we walked through the bays, DS tried out some of the beds and pressed lots of buttons on machines! :) He loved it!
He was even given his favourite chocolate by a doctor and taken to a bay with lots of toys and a bubble tube!
The only place we couldn't visit was resus because someone was in there.
We met lots of the staff and I asked lots of questions as well as educating them about DS and some common things about children with autism which they seemed to take on board :)
Eventually, it was time to go so we said our goodbye and lots of thank you from me and off we went with a happy boy who I'm confident to say has no reservations about visiting hospitals in the future :)