Paul's dad has been in hospital for the last week and a half with a chest infection and a small stroke. Until then he'd been very healthy for an 86 year old.
It's hard being half a world away when something like this happens, although it does give you a bit of leverage on the phone. During one phone call to the hospital Paul asked if he could speak to a doctor and was told he'd have to make an appointment but if he could turn up on the ward in half an hour he could see one. He said that would be a bit difficult as he was phoning from NZ and it was 11.30 at night here. Saying you're phoning from NZ seems to get people scuttling around in amazement (although we actually pay less for calls to UK then just to phone the South Island of NZ!) and they managed to find a doctor immediately!
Paul's dad has been moved to the stroke unit now and sounds like he's doing pretty well. Paul has been fortunate enough to be able to add on a trip to the UK to his flights to a conference in Boston during the July school holidays and will get to visit his parents for 3 days then.
Today was Isaac's EEG. On the way to the hospital I realised I was feeling quite anxious and then realised it was bringing back memories of nearly ten years ago when Noah had an EEG and we discovered he had infantile spasms. We also had a second time in the EEG department with Noah - memories of which I have managed to almost block altogether - when we were accompanied by a nurse with resuscitation equipment and they thought Noah was in status epilepticus.
Isaac has possible absence seizures. These are much less scary than infantile spasms I reminded myself. The whole procedure turned out to be less scary too. The hardest bit was probably getting into the hospital through the hand washing police who monitor the only entrance that is open - there is an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the hospital, visiting is banned and everyone has to wash hands with alcohol rub on the way in and out, and there's another trolley of hand wash in outpatients.
The EEG room is now a small comfortable room well stocked with toys - In the old hospital with Noah the previous room seemed draughtier and more concrete like - like a set from a Frankenstein film (although this may have more to do with the diagnosis we got then reality!)
It was a bit harder getting 20 electrodes on Isaac's head than it had been Noah's, Isaac managed to pull about 10 off with one grab until I perfected the art of holding him rigidly by the upper arms leaving a minimal amount of movement so his hands could manipulate toys - Noah on the other hand had been so knocked off by the infantile spasm that he just lay there.
Once the electrodes were all connected up to the machine Isaac was monitored for about 30 minutes and showed none of his funny eye movements during that time. The technician didn't seem concerned by the reading at all so my guess is that we'll hear from the paediatrician in due course that it's normal.
Another positive change from Noah's EEG is that they now use a water soluble glue to put on the electrodes which just shampooed out of Isaac's hair tonight - with Noah we had to use nail varnish remover and he was still left with sticky white patches in his hair.