Rod has taken two weeks holidays and so we head off to our mobile home on Saturday.
Once we arrive in Wexford I call my Mum and and ask her if she wants to come and join us so she throws her duvet, pillow and and a 5 Michelin Star Casserole into her car and arrives a couple of hours later.
On Sunday we watch the kids run in the Bank Holiday weekend sports day here in Wexford and we stick their winning rosettes up on the wall when we return to the van. Lara is sick so she hasn't joined in preferring to sit with her duvet in front of the TV. She's been vomiting all night and has a cramp in her side. She looks pale and frail and later that evening she's in dire pain. She gets a nose bleed and I look at Rod and he looks at me and we know there is something wrong. Something more than a tummy bug. She's doubled over in pain and when she gets that nose bleed I prepare for the trip to the hospital.
My Mother drives a groaning Lara and I towards the Hospital and I swear if Lara wasn't 12 years old and a virgin I'd have guessed she was just about to give birth, right there in the back of my Mothers brand new Mercedes and that would not be good. No more casseroles. EVER.
When we arrive at 12 midnight I ask the nurse how long does she think it'll be before we are seen by the doctor. "About 4 hours" she replies before turning on her heel and disappearing.
Of course it will take 4 hours, this is Ireland, right? Why did I bother even asking. So I sigh and kiss my Mother goodbye and tell her to go back and get some sleep. Someone might as well.
Lara is prescribed some Ibuprofen to ease her pain and lies on a trolley she has been given but she's uncomfortable and she wants to sit in a chair so she can bend over with her head between her legs to ease the pain. We tell the nurse that she can give someone else the trolley and she tells us to go wait outside in the
A surgical Doctor is called and he checks out her foot and mouth and says 'Strange......... I'm sorry but I have other surgical patients to see but I'll have a look at her properly as soon as I can."
I have an urge to shout at him...... but he looks tired and honest. Things change though when Lara lifts up her t-shirt and shows us several white raised welts all over her stomach and there before our eyes her lips swell to twice their normal size. She's put on a trolley and pushed into a nearby temporary ward which holds an overflow of patients on trolleys from the already full wards upstairs.
By now Lara's eyelids are swelling up and her lips are huge. The welts are all over her body, arms and legs and she scratches at herself uncontrollably. I'M WORRIED. VERY WORRIED. But I can't let her see that. A Paediatric Doctor arrives and the questions come quick and fast.
"What has she eaten? Was she in contact with anything unusual?"
Lara cries out. "My throat. They are in the back of my mouth" They are in her ears and on her scalp too.
"What medication did she receive since she came in here?" he asks.
"Ibuprofen" I reply. "That's it." he says. "She's allergic to Ibuprofen."
So they weigh her and quickly prepare an injection of Antihistamine to counteract the allergic condition and when that didn't take effect they increase the dosage and slowly her lips and eyes decrease in size and the welts on her body look less angry.
After a quick faint on the toilet floor she begins to feel a little better but tired.
She's given a bed in the Children's wing at 2am and I sit in a chair beside her until 2pm the next day when Rod, my Mother, Rachel, Sarah and Audrey arrive. I feel like I've taken a flight to Australia and back but am happy that Lara seems to have nothing more than a kidney infection.
My mother drives the kids and I back, leaving Rod and Rachel with Lara, and I fall into bed and kiss my pillow, I've missed it that much.
My Mum returns home and Rod and I take turns sitting with Lara. I go in early in the mornings and stay till he arrives about 5pm. Like ships in the night, one kiss says both hello & goodbye and he hands me over the kids and keys to the van and the second shift begins.
All over again.