Speaking to a parent going through a similar situation really helped

Sophie and Daniel suddenly found themselves at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge when their local hospital said there was nothing more that they could do. Find out how our support at Acorn House made a difference to them

Our daughter, Daisy-Mae, is susceptible to picking up colds and coughs which lead to chest infections. However, on this day in particular, Monday 10 February, she seemed worse than usual and had a really high temperature. Daniel and I took her to the pharmacy the following day and were soon in an ambulance on our way to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. The doctors treated her for a serious chest infection, but after five days she started to slip away from us into a life threatening situation. Despite their best efforts, Daisy-Mae was put into an induced coma and was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge as there was nothing more that they could do.

“Everything was so daunting but there was a lady staying at Acorn House, whose daughter was on the ward, who was so welcoming. She offered to support me whenever I needed it, all I had to do was knock on her door for a chat.”

In the centre of this whirlwind, we were told about Acorn House run by The Sick Children’s Trust. Daisy-Mae was in a coma for three weeks and every day felt incredibly long. Acorn House broke up these long days as it was a place to sleep, make food, build our strength and somewhere our son, Oscar, could come and stay so we weren’t apart from him.

Daisy-Mae tested positive for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and was given intravenous antibiotics while paralysed in order to give her body a chance to fight the illness. She also underwent regular physiotherapy to help bring up all the sticky horrible mucus that was on her lungs. This mucus was blocking and plugging the entry to her left lung which eventually caused it to collapse.

Acorn House was a godsend during this time as I was so worried about Daisy-Mae that I needed to speak to someone who understood. I remember arriving having had no sleep and feeling scared. Everything was so daunting but there was a lady staying there, whose daughter was on the ward, who was so welcoming. She offered to support me whenever I needed it, all I had to do was knock on her door for a chat. As the days passed, I visited her daughter and Oscar became playmates with her children who also visited Acorn House. While the nurses and doctors are fantastic, speaking to a parent going through a similar situation really helped me and Daniel.

On Sunday 23 February at around 8am Daisy-Mae’s left lung plugged again, which meant air wasn’t entering into it, and this time she faced a three hour fight for her life. It happened again later that night and this time took five hours to stabilise. She needed more help. Addenbrooke’s had tried all they could and exhausted all their resources to help fight the virus and keep Daisy-Mae stable. We found ourselves travelling to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) as they had access to the medical equipment that Daisy-Mae needed.

“Acorn House was a godsend during this time as I was so worried about Daisy-Mae that I needed to speak to someone who understood.”

We were already grateful for the support The Sick Children’s Trust had given us, but at GOSH we felt the loss of Acorn House. We missed the homely environment and couldn’t have Oscar with us. We also really missed the support network we’d built with other families with children on the ward.

Daisy-Mae was put on a ventilator and recovered from her collapsed lung. By the end of February, she was well enough to be transferred back locally where she was for a week before we were allowed to bring her home. Three days after, history repeated itself but thankfully Daisy-Mae only needed another five days in hospital.

My whole world came crashing down when I thought Daisy-Mae wouldn’t make it. I wanted to just wake up from a bad dream that was snowballing out of control. Despite having severe pneumonia, bronchitis and the rhinovirus Daisy-Mae has made a full recovery and you wouldn’t know that her life was in the balance.

As we move on from this chapter, we will never forget the amazing medical teams that have helped us along with The Sick Children’s Trust which allowed us to focus all our energy on our daughter.

Sophie Wright, Daisy-Mae and Oscar’s mum

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