Son's shock illness opened my eyes to the value of emergency planning
Published 24/10/2012 | 06:00
Reflecting on one year ago, our farm was experiencing similar conditions, being wet and waterlogged. Grazing was becoming very challenging and resulted in some paddocks being closed with higher than ideal covers for the winter.
The west of Ireland has really been dealing with wet ground conditions for a whole year with only a small respite in March and May 2012.
However, our biggest challenge on this farm over the past 12 months had nothing to do with the wet conditions, managing cow condition or superlevy worries.
My youngest son was 22 months old last October when he started throwing up on a Thursday. I didn't dwell on it too much at the time, thinking that it was just another common kids' bug.
By Saturday though, the little lad had gone from being lively to somewhat dull and slightly distressed, so I took him straight to the doctor. Thankfully the doctor at this stage decided that he needed to go into hospital for re-hydration. Blood samples were taken immediately and they started to give fluids via a drip.
A very short while after being admitted, the results of the blood samples made my heart sink for the first of many times over the next 24 hours.
I was told that his kidneys had failed and that he would have to be transferred immediately to Dublin by ambulance. With just a small overnight bag, I accompanied my little boy to Temple Street at 2am on 22 October whilst my husband followed behind the ambulance in our car.
My son had Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a disorder that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells, which had resulted acute kidney failure.