First day back at school. Cartwheels and whoops of joy. Six hours less of treading carefully to avoid landmines which might go off in my face. The silence is magical.
Mayhem is in good spirits when I collect her from school, but within 10 minutes of getting home, she is howling. She has a pain in her left side, she says it hurts to go the toilet, she is clutching the area where I’d imagine a left kidney would be. Herein lies a few dilemmas, which I mull over as I continue to make their hot chocolate:
- She claims to have pains, headaches and illnesses whenever she feels out of her depth. Is this pain real? She’s a very convincing actress.
- She has no left kidney
Mayhem’s left kidney never turned up to the party whilst she was gestating away (otherwise) happily in my uterus. At times a dark spot appeared in scans (a story for another time), but after a bit of poking and prodding for six months following her birth, it was decided that the left kidney was definitely not joining us on this journey.
Recently in a conversation with a close friend, on a particularly difficult day, I wailed dramatically (and in jest) down the phone that, perhaps, her left kidney is lodged in her brain, blocking out our voices and causing selective hearing. Of course I was not seriously entertaining the thought that it’s actually lodged between her ears. The nuclear kidney scan would have found it and we’ve had her hearing tested. Twice. My demented wittering did make me wonder very briefly whether we needed to review the kidney thing, apart from urging her to keep hydrated, we give it little thought.
So on any normal day, when she howls in pain, I’d administer sympathy (and get yelled at for doing it incorrectly), monitor for signs of real distress or illness and ride out the storm as appropriate.
Today I administer sympathy, Calpol and her Kindle. Pain subsides remarkably quickly as soon as the soothing hard lines of the tablet makes contact with her fingers and the flashing images connect with her eyes. Twenty-first Century magic. One of my eyebrows raise involuntarily, I force it back down (she definitely won’t like my face with a wonky eyebrow).
I say: “It’s probably just the lack of fruit and vegetables you’ve had over the holiday, too much bread, not enough fibre”, always happy to have any opportunity to discuss her dietary short-comings in a non-confrontational way.
But there’s a little nagging voice in the back of my head. What if some tiny mutant piece of left kidney or cyst is waiting to explode at 2am in the morning, not only dragging us out of bed, but also earning us the badge of neglectful parents, to sit neatly alongside the poor parenting one we’ve been donning for 6 years. I know the eighties is back in fashion, but one badge is enough.
So off to A&E we go.
They tell us it’s probably an irritable bowl, but they also agree that it would be sensible to send in another search party. Leaving me to wonder why it’s not this easy to get a referral to CAHMS. Maybe I’ll suggest a Top Trumps style trade – I’ll trade one (missing) kidney check-up referral for one appointment with a children’s mental health professional who won’t tell me that she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (again), suggesting that we have (more) parent coaching in techniques (that clearly don’t work).
We do have a CAHMS referral request in progress (second attempt last year – I’m sure there will be more on this later), but I’m going to hedge bets that we see a nephrologist and find out a lot faster that she (still) has no left kidney.