Somehow, things have become worse. Not for Izzie – provided we don’t give her any milk, she seems right as ninepence – but for her long-suffering parents.
The last few months I’ve been donating platelets at my local blood centre. I’ve been a blood donor for years, but after Izzie’s traumatic birth, I wanted to do more to help people in similar circumstances. Platelets are given to people with leukaemia, those undergoing chemotherapy, and trauma cases who lose a lot of blood. Unlike blood donation, which averages three times a year, you can donate platelets every three to four weeks, so it gives me a chance to put my feet up and relax as my blood is sucked from my body, run through a centrifuge to filter out the butterscotch-yellow platelets, and pumped back in.
Trouble is, not everyone can be a platelet donor as you need an excess of platelets and good strong veins. For every 100 blood donors there is only one platelet donor, and platelets only last seven days so are in constant demand. What’s good about platelet donation, however, is that one 90-minute donation can save three adults or up to twelve children. Last time, my platelets were sent to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, so I can feel good about that.
Anyway, I was due to go in Thursday afternoon. However, after being submerged in Izzie’s vomit, I thought I’d better check to see if they still wanted me or if it was too risky. The consensus was that I had been ‘compromised’ and it was better to err on the side of caution and cancel – I wouldn’t want to pass on a vomiting bug to already sick kids. Though I was asymptomatic, I might come down with it myself. So I gritted my teeth and braced myself for a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting.
If you’ve guessed where this is going, it’s my job to disappoint you. I’m fine. Lizzie, on the other hand, spent all night writhing and moaning, clutching her belly, until at six this morning she tried to make it to the bathroom, failed, and vomited all over the landing. Carpet, doors, walls, the works. So I’m getting to be a dab hand at mopping up sick. Especially as a couple of hours later she vomited all over the bathroom floor.
Today, I am therefore a single dad with two sick children. Here’s hoping I don’t get struck down by the same ailment or I don’t know what we’ll do!