Monday, August 10, 2009

P.A.T (Pre-Appointment Tension)

I know, I know - I'm keeping you dangling about what Charlie's surprise was on Saturday... that's not because I'm mean and nasty - I just haven't had time to write a proper post since then because we've had a really busy few days. I'm hoping to get a proper post written tomorrow with a few pics (once I've caught up on all the housework that has gone by the by over the weekend!)

But just for now, here's something that really made me smile wryly throughout. All of you 'non-heart parents' will probably wonder what it's on about, but I found it on a heart forum that I read, and I had to post this (slightly amended to suit me!) version!
If you're still wondering what it's all about, read this post from the night before Charlie's last outpatient appointment!

P.A.T (Pre-Appointment Tension)

PAT is a chronic condition suffered by parents with sick children. The symptoms of which are mild until the arrival of the brown envelope whereby they become ever more acute leading up to the appointment day.
The arrival of the envelope and date is sometimes accompanied by the very early stages of the acute condition: trembling hands, moist eyes, butterflies in tummy, feelings of both regret and sadness are common.
As is an overwhelming physical urge to burn the flipping thing and run away with the child in question.
Shortly after the arrival of the envelope sufferers often report a (perceived!) increase in symptoms in their child. Common symptoms in CHD children include blueness, breathlessness and fatigue all of which increase in the weeks leading to the appointment.
It is not uncommon in sufferers whose children need to be gaining weight appropriately to start force feeding their children with a diet higher in fat, chocolate and rolo yoghurts.
As panic sets in the child's consumption of double cream increases proportionately and can sometimes double.
Older children may complain but can normally be bribed with Dr Who figures.
PAT affects parents in different ways – a fortnight before the appointment (or as soon as the symptoms in your child are highlighted) it is not unheard of for parents to change.
Appetites can increase (in the form of comfort eating) or decrease but rarely stay the same. Relationships are sometimes strained especially if one parent is more laid back than the other.
It is not uncommon for the slightest thing to cause major family rows especially if friends or family insist that everything will be OK at the appointment.
Things not to say to PAT sufferers include ‘it’s a miracle what they can do these days’ and ‘I don’t know how you cope’.
Other strange behaviour include poor sleep, and a fear that your child's symptoms have now developed at such an alarming rate you really should have booked a single train ticket to the hospital and will be packing an overnight bag.
As anxiety builds so does the consumption of chocolate, wine and cigarettes (if smoked).
All of which leads to increased despair.
About a week before the appointment most PAT sufferers start writing melancholy blog posts and trawling the internet for information to frighten themselves silly.
The night before appointment everything is highlighted – 50% of all people will be weighing clothes and force-feeding children.
Expect to be up all night feeling like a condemned person. Your child will undoubtedly be so poorly by this time you will be up checking them every hour anyway!
Then, the morning of the appointment!
Early morning appointments mean up at the crack of dawn – this is fun when you have had no sleep.
It is not uncommon to feel sick, nauseous or have an upset stomach the morning of appointment. Feelings of despair and total panic are normal.
Some sufferers in advanced stages can suffer from shakes and numbness.
One thing that female sufferers should not do is wear make up. Because even if the news is good at the appointment PAT makes you inappropriately friendly to medical staff (kissing and hugging can happen).
I also recommend a very good deodorant as stress and hospitals can make you very hot and sweaty.
Post-appointment it doesn’t matter how it goes there will be tears – perhaps elation – but expect the next few days to be rough. You have been reminded that there is something wrong with your child and they will be getting away with murder.
Once the clinic letter has arrived (which hopefully you or your mates can decipher) the symptoms of PAT gradually return from the acute to the chronic.
This is normally about the same time as your child steps a bit too far over the line and you start telling them off again!

Is that brilliant or what! It's good to know I'm not the only heart-mum nutter out there!

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