Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Down-side to the “Pilot’s Wife Lifestyle” with Children

Today was one of the days that being a pilot’s girlfriend sucked! Baby has not been well since Tuesday… Running a fever and generally icky. We took her to the out of hours doctor, at the hospital, yesterday under the advice or the medic in the family; since paracetamol and ibuprofen weren’t actually curing the root cause of her fever.

The doctor couldn’t find anything majorly wrong, so he he said he needed a urine sample… He gave me a plastic bag with a plaster section to glue to her little girlie private bits… The first one came unstuck in a crucial area, meaning I had to take it off her and do it again… I felt so cruel having to effectively rip a plaster off such a sensitive area, only to repeat the whole process (especially with her feeling so poorly and sorry for herself).

The long and short of it is, that we were sent home without any treatment, and advised to merely continue as we have been with analgesics… We left the hospital, with Baby feeling no better; having had the doctor (who was blatantly perplexed) fob us off with the old ‘it must be a viral infection, but feel free come back if she is no better’ (AKA ‘I haven’t got a clue what it is, so please don’t ask me). 

Last night she was sick with a fever, and again this morning… The medic in the family, having ascertained from a paediatric consultant that he would have at least prescribed antibiotics from the so-far limited test results we had; suggested we go back and get a second opinion.

The only issue was, that Bf was working today, so at 7:45am this morning, I returned to the hospital with all three children to wait and see the doctor again. After 3 hours we were seen. This time, seeing her without the analgesics holding back the fever, the doctor she saw referred her to another hospital’s paediatrics assessment unit…

Armed with Baby’s letter of referral, I drove all three children to the other hospital, stopping on way to buy some drinks and snacks in case we were in for another long wait…

We arrived, and were seen reasonably quickly by the nurse; but had to wait an hour to see a paediatric consultant. He agreed with the paediatrician that our family member had spoken with, and suggested that despite not having a clear indication of what exactly was wrong, antibiotics seemed the most likely solution to attack the cause, rather than just treating the symptoms.

He said that it would be beneficial to do a sterile ‘clean catch’ sample from baby, to get more reliable test results to send off. This basically involved me sitting with baby on my lap, completely naked, filling her up with juice, in the hopes that she’d pee, and I could hold her over a sterile bowl and catch the sample… If this sounds like a somewhat dubious and flawed plan… It was. The nurse gave me a towel to place on my lap.

Funny thing is… Any time you don’t want a baby to pee when you take their nappy off (even if it’s only off for a split second, they pee all over you… Yet, give Baby 20 ounces of juice, and sit her on my lap; she literally was as arid as a desert. Naturally, it was only when I had let my concentration slip for a moment, that I felt a warm wetness against my leg!

I thrust her suddenly over the bowl, hoping to catch the last of it in the bowl-not a chance… So I had to sit there covered in her wee (that was slowly going cold), whilst waiting for another trickle from her. I was certainly more focused the second time over!  …After what seemed like hours, she finally peed into the container, that I had resorted to gripping between my thighs, as I hovered her over it ‘on my lap’ (I felt incredibly uncomfortable for both of us.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so appreciative of a baby urinating! The nurse rushed off with it.

They dosed her up with Calpol, and within an hour or so, her temperature had normalised. The paediatrician returned shortly, saying that he wanted me to see the registrar… Which I could only assume, meant that he wanted a second opinion.

By this time, The children and I had been at hospital for aproximately six and a half hours! I would have given my right arm to have had Bf there to support me, take it in turns on wee duty, amuse the bored boys, or just generally smile in my direction periodically. The boys were fed up and bored. I was fed up and bored. Even baby seemed fed up and bored.

The registrar arrived. I could barely understand a word he said through his thick accent, and he seemed to contradict everything the prior doctor had said. Of course, he turned up when she was ‘high’ on calpol, with a normal temperature… So, he decided that we should ‘go home, carry on with analgesics, and fluids, and come back if she was no better in a day or two!’


If I hadn’t been holding baby, I might well have done something I regretted. I explained that he wasn’t seeing her at her worst like she would be again tonight. He said that since her temperature wasn’t consistently high; it was unlikely to be a bacterial infection, and was most likely viral. I explained that her temperature was only stabilised because of the Calpol; but it seemed to fall on deaf ears, and he spoke to me in quite a patronising way, explaining the dangers of prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily.

I didn’t feel like he was listening to a word I said, or taking me seriously, because at that moment, Baby seemed well. I wished that Bf was there to back me up, as I felt he would have listened to a man and given it more credibility.  I was silently seething as he told me that if she was bad tonight, I could always come back again. I said

“I have THREE children, not just the one… My partner is a pilot and isn’t home all the time for me to rely upon to look after the others. I live 25 minutes from this hospital, and don’t want to keep going back and forth like a yoyo with my sick daughter and two sleepy children in tow.”

This was met with a shrug, and an empty apology… He said I could follow up on the results of the tests they’d sent off with my own doctor, or come back if she got worse again…


Ooookay! I give up. Bf turned up in a taxi about 15 minutes later, too late to assist me with this man. He wasn’t too happy about it either, but we took our little brood home with us any way. 

Baby still isn’t well. But I’ve pretty much lost confidence in them taking me seriously unless I completely stop giving her relief in the form of analgesics, which would render her permanently miserable… It may yet come to that; but I’d like to avoid being that mean unless I absolutely have to.


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