When there’s a health alert over water contamination, and something we take for granted is suddenly at risk, it’s no surprise people go into panic mode.
Bottles of water were flying off the shelves and kettles were overworked last week when Blackpool residents were warned to avoid drinking water straight out of the tap.
All thanks to traces of a tiny parasite – cryptosporidium –which can cause sickness and diarrhoea.
So, like every other rational resident, what did we do? Panicked, of course!
Let me, at this point, just defend myself.
William had been suffering from diarrhoea for two days – and so, with news of this health alert, it heightened my protective maternal instinct.
With doctors surgeries closed, I rang the 111 non-emergency number and spoke to a very friendly healthcare professional.
“Is he breathing?” Yes.
“Is he floppy and unresponsive?” No, he’s currently running a dumper truck up and down my legs.
“Is he unconscious?” No, the dumper truck is now making its way up my right arm and around my neck.
At this point, I started feeling like an hysterical mother for bothering them with something like diarrhoea, which sounds pretty trivial compared to “unconscious” and “unresponsive”.
That was until the next question.
“Has he had any black, sticky, tar-like motions?”
Well, I’ll spare you the details here, but yes. Two, in fact.
Following a five minute discussion about motions – and a suggestion anything black, sticky, and tar-like could be caused by internal bleeding (stay calm, stay calm) – the lovely healthcare lady insisted William was checked over and suggested I take along one of his nappies for inspection. So, after a frantic rummage in the grey bin for the nappy in question, off we trekked to the walk-in centre.
Sample taken (the poor nurse didn’t even flinch when I passed her the double bagged, hours old nappy), William’s tummy checked, and temperature monitored.
Yes, he had some kind of bug – but keeping him hydrated while it passed through was the best course of action.
So, half an hour later, we were on our way home. Time to put the kettle on for boiled water all round!