Father’s Day on ’24 Hours in A&E’
Tonight’s episode of ’24 Hours in A&E’ is the last of the current series. Filmed on father’s day last year it focuses on the challenges of parenting.
3-year-old Billy is brought to A&E by his parents with swollen eyes after accidentally squirting washing detergent in them. Billy also has a life-threatening kidney disorder, nephrotic syndrome, which lowers his immune system and makes him more prone to infections – he’s been hospitalised five times in the last year alone.
Billy need his eyes washing out, while doctors run tests to discover if the swelling is a symptom of his kidney disorder. “You sit there and think, why Billy? Why does he have to have it? It’s just not fair,” says Billy’s mum Lauren. “But, it’s the card you’re drawn, I suppose, and we have to deal with it.”
The pressure of Billy’s illness and losing another baby during pregnancy led his parents, Lauren and Billy, to separate. But they are still close as a family and Lauren doesn’t rule out a reconciliation. “At the moment it’s working for us,” she says. “He’s an amazing dad. In a year’s time we could’ve grown closer.”
60-year-old retired lorry driver Tony, who’s type two diabetic, has come to St George’s because of an infected leg wound. He needs intravenous antibiotics and to be assessed to ensure it doesn’t spread.
Tony has three daughters, eight grandchildren and a great granddaughter. He talks about his own parents. “I had many runs in with my father, but my mum, she just stood up for us all the time. Although we might have been wrong,” says Tony. “I was a very, very naughty boy. Used to get the cane and all sorts. I got expelled in the end.
“I was a bit of a tea leaf. It started with pushbikes…my dad taught me to drive, so I got the experience of driving and I was 14, 15…I’d go out an nick a car. I got my collar felt three or four times. Being under lock and key…I didn’t like it at all. Once I got married that all stopped. Because I had responsibilities, you gotta grow up.”
Accompanying Tony is wife Kay. She was diagnosed with agoraphobia eight years ago. “She stayed in the top back bedroom for two years. Didn’t come out at all,” says Tony. “But I love her and I want to be with her, so that’s all there is to it.”
Meanwhile 80-year-old Ida, a retired PA, is brought into St George’s with knee pain by her husband Ron. X-rays reveal a mysterious shadow on her knee bone, which needs further investigation to rule out cancer.
Ron and Ida recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married, appropriately, on St George’s Day 1955 and are inseparable. ‘We’re like two peas in a pod,” says Ida. ‘If I take a breath, he takes the next one.”