A brave mum has revealed the heartbreak she faces each day when her baby son pleads with her to stay with him as she prepares to travel to a hospital to see her seriously ill baby.
18 month old Eanna Caffrey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) last May and has spent all bar four nights in Crumlin children’s hospital since.
It has left his parents Yvonne and Stephen, from Garlow Cross , on a constant treadmill of trips to and from the capital, and three year old Donncha pleading with his mum to stay home as she sets off for another hospital visit.
Yvonne told Meath Live, ‘ We haven’t been together as a family in weeks, I go into the hospital to be with Eanna in the morning while Stephen goes to work, as soon as he is finished I travel home and put Donnacha, who is being looked after by a child minder, to bed, then turn straight around and head back to the hospital so Stephen can get home and have some sleep.
‘Obviously Donnacha doesn’t know how ill his baby brother is but he is clever enough to know there is something wrong as he hasn’t had mammy, daddy and his brother together with him in almost two months.
‘Every single day as I am getting ready to leave Donnacha begs me to stay with him, that is probably the hardest moment of my day, but it’s almost impossible to juggle everything.’
The couple are currently travelling 180km daily and forking out for a whopping eight toll fees along the M3 and M50 as they attempt to keep everything under control.
The situation has been made worse by the fact it happened in the middle of the Covid19 crisis.
Yvonne revealed, ‘ Really the only time myself and Stephen have to discuss things is the five minute changeover period at Crumlin, due to Covid restrictions we meet at the hospital door, it’s one in and one out as we cannot both be in with Eanna at the same time, so we just about have time to tell each other how he was that day,what medication he has taken and how he reacted to it.
‘Stephen’s family live close enough to us so they help out but because of the seriousness of Eanna’s condition we are adhering very strictly to the HSE guidelines.
‘ I’m from Leitrim originally and during the lock down my only family couldn’t travel up to lend a hand.’
The couple were caught completely unawares when the devastating diagnosis was delivered as the initially thought it was something simple.
Yvonne recalled, ‘I thought he had an ear infection and brought him to the local doctor on call, they suggested we take him in to Temple Street for blood tests which we did and to give you an idea of how fast things happened, at 4.30 pm on May 17th he had the tests and at 4.30 on May 18th he was in theatre.
‘The hardest part has been our complete lack of control over the situation, as parents all you want is to be able to make your baby better and when you can’t do that it is very difficult.
‘We know Eanna’s in the best place and getting the best of care but when you have to put your child’s fate in others hands that is hard, trust me that is hard.
‘There’s been a few times when it seemed as if he was getting better but there has been no mention of a discharge date yet, at the moment he’s not talking and we have been told he will need therapy for that when he recovers.
‘Honest to God this was never on our radar, of course we often thought what would happen the boys if one of us became seriously ill, we just never imagined it would be one of them, it’s kind of hard to explain but you just find the strength from somewhere to help you cope. ‘
Although Stephen is working, Yvonne has taken long term leave from her marketing role and the couple were grateful for an incredible Go Fund Me effort from her old football team, to help out with medical costs and day to day expenses..
‘I played with St Joseph’s ladies side back home and they set the page up aiming to get €40,000 but inside four days of it being launched they had beaten that by five grand.
‘It’s been tough incredibly tough, but when you see a gesture like that it kind of blows you away.’
The Go Fund Me page is here; https://www.gofundme.com/f/all-in-for-eanna