Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It was awful not knowing what the problem was - The Irish Times - Tue, Apr 26, 2011

It was awful not knowing what the problem was :

"THE LOWEST POINT of my life was the day I had to watch my baby daughter rolling around on the floor of the livingroom in pain and knowing that there was no point in picking up the phone because nobody would listen.

We had already been to the most eminent doctors in the country and they told us she wasn’t in pain, yet she so obviously was. We had no idea what we were dealing with and that was the worst part of the early years of her life.

Karen was born on August 19th, 1983, at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, after a normal pregnancy. My late husband Paschal and I were thrilled that the baby was a girl, as we already had a boy of two-and-a-half called Mark.

As an infant, Karen had difficulty in feeding and keeping her bottle down. She began to suffer what we thought was colic, crying for three to five hours at a time during the night. This persisted until she was about nine months old. She refused solid food and, despite many visits to the local hospital for observation and investigation, no one could pinpoint what her problem was.

It was also apparent at this stage that Karen’s development was very slow. She was making no effort to walk and was not terribly interested in what was going on around her. Then, she developed a rectal prolapse. After the awful shock the first time it happened, I had to learn to cope with it. This was when the doctors told me it was not causing Karen any pain and that it would correct itself when she got older.

She was referred to Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin for investigation in November 1984. While there, she had surgery on two hernias. At this stage Karen was a year-and-a-half old. She had had such a hard time since she was born that we felt that we hardly had time to get to know her as an individual.

However, I did know one thing about her – she had a very loving smile and during the short periods when she was well, that loving personality shone through. There were many times when her little smile had saved her from my wrath at five o’clock in the morning!

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