Boy, was I glad when last week was finally over, writes Mark Hotton in And Baby Makes Four.
I try not to repeat the same material in this column but you'll understand why I can't write about anything else today.
For the second time in her short life, Piper needed the expert skills of Southland Hospital staff earlier this week. This time it was a bit more serious.
She woke up on Sunday at 3am, in significant pain, and we initially thought it was a bad bit of wind. It soon became clear she was in serious distress, so Suz took her to hospital. The initial diagnosis was rotavirus and she was sent home with instructions to keep her fluids up, and gradually she seemed to be on the mend. But things escalated that evening and she went back, with a scan revealing the cause.
To make a long story short, she needed a fairly uncomfortable procedure - involving six medical staff in the room - to get things fixed, and the first attempts didn't work. When they tried again, it was clear things were more tense - if the second attempt wasn't successful, it was likely she'd need to be flown to Christchurch for an operation.
So the relief was quite noticeable when things "worked". I wouldn't say there were high- fives being bandied about . . . but it was close.
After another night in hospital, she was almost bouncing off the walls, eating normally and keen to get home. As was her poor mum.
Yet it wasn't Piper's situation that was upsetting.
We dealt with everything matter-of-factly, comfortable in the knowledge that everything was being done by skilled professionals. We can't speak highly enough of, or offer enough thanks to, those involved - they'll all know who they are.
What affected us more was that, in the room next to us, a family had to sit and wait for their toddler to die. There was nothing that could be done; all they could do was sit and wait.
Regular readers will recall my lack of empathy on other issues, but I won't lie to you - it broke my heart and even now tears well up as I think about what they had to go through. They'd brought the child in, sought help and put their hope in the medical staff, only to be told there was nothing that could be done.
I don't know what caused the death or why it couldn't be treated, but I know there wouldn't have been anyone in the hospital who wouldn't have done anything possible for a better outcome.
As I left the children's ward for the last time, I realised how lucky we are. Piper is well, there should be no lasting effects, and she'll bounce back without a care.
But a mother and a father, grandparents and aunties and uncles of that other child would leave only to have to bury their young one.
I felt guilty that we got to leave with our child and they would not. I wish there had been something I could have said to them to ease their pain, even though they were strangers, but there was nothing.
It's a big scary world out there and sometimes things don't go the way you plan or expect. Your day gets put of kilter, or your week gets messed up, but sometimes it pays to realise that someone else's day or week is infinitely worse.
So today and tomorrow, and the next day, give your son or daughter, or your grandchild, an extra big hug. And be grateful for their health, because it all can change in an instant.
Mark Hotton is a full-time journalist/ full-time dad who feels shame that he had to realise the genuine preciousness of his two children through the death of somebody else's child.
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