Dear Medical Professional,
You will ask about his medical history,
And I will repeat the story I have told 100 times or more,
The details fine tuned to the essentials I know you need:
He was born full term,
He has a seven-year-old brother who is fit and well,
He is allergic to penicillin.
You will ask me what happened,
And I will answer:
He is six years old.
He wasn’t breathing for seven minutes.
I gave him mouth to mouth.
I will hand over a carefully typed piece of A4 paper.
It will tell you his hospital number,
The things he is allergic to,
A list of medications and doses.
You will take it and smile.
You’ll tell me I make your job easier.
I will stand calm,
And in control.
You see my demeanour,
My hospital bags packed and ready,
And you say,
You’ve done this before.
I’ll nod and say many times.
But remember this;
That six-year-old is my baby.
That boy with the oxygen,
And the wires,
And the tubes,
Is my son.
I watched him turn blue.
The first time,
The fifth time,
The hundred and fifty fifth time …
It was still my baby.
My answers may be more polished,
I may appear more organised and calm.
But he is still my baby.
Sometimes I lie my head on the bed beside him in A&E and sob huge silent tears onto the starched, white sheets.
Sometimes my hands shake so much, I hold them tight between my knees while I’m answering your questions.
Sometimes I hold my breath just to stop myself screaming, my throat burning from the effort of holding it in, a single tear escaping and betraying me.
So please doctor, registrar, paramedic, nurse … don’t be fooled by my tough exterior.