On Sunday 10th February I had a reminder of just how fleeting life can be as well as how precious it is. I had a rare morning off so had decided to go to the cinema with Katie. Rachel and Jade were following separately to see something else. As we were nearing the cinema my phone rang and Katie answered. It was Rachel and she blurted out, "Get back here right now." When Katie asked what was wrong the curt reply was, "Just get back here NOW!" Then the phone went dead and Katie burst out crying.
I pulled over and called Rach back; straight to answerphone. I kept calling but to no avail. By now Katie was hysterical, "What if something really bad has happened, what if someone's died?" I reassured her that everything would be fine but I was forced to consider the real possibility that something terrible had happened. My first thought was Honey, maybe a knife had fallen off the table top and killed her. They then turned to my parents, my brother and his family, my mother in law. A car crash, a heart attack, shark attack? I called everyone in the family...…..no one answered.
Inside I was beginning to lose it but outwardly I was calm and kept comforting Katie. We were racing home and two minutes out Rachel finally answered. "I can't talk, the ambulance is here, Jade's collapsed and had a fit. I took in the words that seemed almost dreamlike. Of all the scenarios that went through my head, none had involved Jade. We pulled up next to the ambulance and Katie by now was beside herself. I had to almost drag her inside and she'd never gripped me so tight.
Jade had been brushing her hair and next thing she woke up on the floor. She called Rachel who sat her down on the bed. Jade's eyes then rolled back in her head, she collapsed again making gurgling noises. Rach was frantically trying to bring her round and couldn't feel her breathing. Eventually she came round and the ambulance was called.
Jade was now lying on her bed having everything checked. Her heartbeat was irregular, blood pressure and oxygen levels extremely low. My mind was racing and every worst case scenario now seemed a real possibility. Were these symptoms of a hidden cancer, a tumour, some kind of aneurism? Suddenly my mind went to the real worst case scenario. What if we lose Jade, what if this is the end? These thoughts were pushed away and I reassured myself that she'd be fine, it will be something simple. Deep down though, the panic was still lingering.
Due to her vitals being irregular she needed to be taken to hospital. Rach went in the ambulance and I followed in the car. She was seen quickly by a nurse and her vitals had improved further. The feeling was that it wasn't anything serious and most likely just fainting. Apparently the rolling eyes and gurgling noises can all be part of it. They wanted to keep her in for a few hours so they could check her again to make sure everything returned to normal.
I had a party and leaving them all there was horrible, even though she had improved and seemed fine now. She was my little girl and I couldn't get the image of her rolling eyes out of my head. I can only imagine what it was like for Rach who actually went through it all. Unsurprisingly all I could think of through the party was Jade. When it had finished I rang and she had just seen the doctor. The prognosis was that it was fainting but with no idea what could have caused it.
I gave her the biggest hug and kiss when I got home and cuddled her all night. Katie was also fussing round her which NEVER happens. For the next few days I kept asking myself the same questions: Have I been the best dad I could be? Do I spend too much time in my office at home? Do I do enough with the girls, do we have fun? The questions continued with the same recurring theme; am I a good dad? Then I thought about how impatient I can be with her, (and Katie) and how I can lose it over really insignificant things.
I've had plenty of reminders in the past about how precious and fleeting life is but this was the biggest and scariest. I know life can get in the way but I really am trying not to sweat the small stuff and to make the most of every day. Not just with all my girls, family and friends but myself too. When I do finally pop off aged 109 I want it to be with no regrets and with all my ambitions realised.
Give your loved ones a big hug tonight and next time they annoy you just take a deep breath and smile. Well unless they REALLY annoy you and it necessitates you slapping them with a big, wet, smelly cod. Sometimes you need the cod.
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