Ola and James Jordan have been through quite an ordeal with their 23-month-old daughter Ella the past two weeks, after the little girl was admitted to hospital with a suspected virus and chest infection.
In their HELLO! column below, the former Strictly dancers open up about their traumatic experience finding Ella limp and unresponsive in her bed, and their panicked dash to hospital. On top of being seriously unwell, Ella has also been diagnosed with a heart murmur and she suffered an allergic reaction which saw her lips swell up.
Now home, the couple are still worried for Ella's health. Despite having taken a course of antibiotics and feeling a bit better, little Ella is still coughing and being sick. "It just doesn't seem right," says James, who is taking his daughter to be checked again.
The Jordan family are having a tough time
Below, Ola and James tell us about their tough two weeks…
Ella falls ill
James: It's been an awful time. It started off as a really bad cough. After three weeks it got to the point where I thought, how long should Ella have this cough for before they give her something? It was going on for far too long.
Ola: She was coughing to a point where she'd wake up at 1am, but she'd be coughing so bad it would make her throw up.
James: We kept taking her to the doctor, who is lovely, and they kept saying she's not got an infection of her lungs; they didn't recommend giving her antibiotics. Ola took Ella there on her own and our GP told her that she thought Ella had a slight heart murmur.
Ola: I was so distraught that on the way back I bumped the car, I hit the curb with my wheel. What was wrong with her heart? I didn't know what a heart murmur was. I panicked.
James: As soon as I found that out I booked in to see a specialist down in Ashford for a heart scan.
Then the weekend came and Ella had a really bad night on the Friday, coughing and being sick. Our doctors were closed, so we booked her into a private GP. He said she had a bit of an infection on her lungs, that she was really sick and needed to be on antibiotics. He also told us she had a bad heart murmur and might need an operation!
Ola: I was like, 'Oh my god'. We were confused about whether to give her the antibiotics because of the different doctor advice but that night she was so unwell that we started the medication.
Poor Ella unwell in hospital
Going to hospital
James: By Monday, Ella was being sick a lot with a high temperature so we were back at the doctor. The doctor said she wasn't a well little girl and we needed to take her to hospital. She said: 'Take her there now, I'll ring ahead'.
We got to Pembury hospital and went to the children's ward. They started looking at her and did a chest X-ray. They basically said she had a viral infection, her chest was clear.
They said there was nothing we could do for a viral infection and she didn't need the antibiotics. Apart from doing blood tests, which they didn't feel she needed, they said they'd done all they could, so they sent us home at 10.30pm.
Ola and James' panic
James: We woke up in the morning and Ella was limp. Non-moving, non-responsive, and she started throwing up and she just lay there.
Ola: She was throwing up with her eyes closed. Her little body was just limp. I can't believe what she was like.
James: It was 8am so we thought it would be quicker if an ambulance came for her. We were panicking. The paramedics did a lot of tests on her. Her blood sugar levels were very low. Then they rushed her with Ola to hospital and I followed in my car.
At the hospital, they were giving Ella sugar. She'd lost so much weight. She was like skin and bones.
Ola: She wasn't taking anything in and she was throwing up a lot. She wasn't taking water.
James: We had to syringe water into her every 10 minutes. She must have thrown up 30-40 times.
Then a paediatric doctor came in and said they thought Ella had a bad viral infection and a chest infection that doesn't show up on the x-ray. So they put her on a stronger once-a-day antibiotic.
We started her on that then we went home. She was still really poorly for three or four days and we were in and out of hospital.
I know that people go through it all the time but you love your child so much, you feel helpless when she's going through that. It was horrible to watch. She wasn't walking, she was just lying there.
Little Ella is treated in hospital for a virus and chest infection
Checking Ella's heart
James: I'd put an update about Ella's health on my Twitter and a lady who worked on the paediatric ward had contacted me to say she knew a cardiologist who would look at Ella's heart for us. So we went back in and Ella had a heart scan.
The great news is that the scan showed she has an Innocent Flow Murmur, which is quite common in children. If your child isn't sick, you may never know about it. It's something a lot of children have but isn't necessarily dangerous. He told us not to worry, he's checked the whole heart and everything is normal. We're relieved as we were really stressed about that.
Ella slowly improving
Ola: From Monday, Ella turned a corner and started to be more herself, jumping on things…
James: She got tired quickly. She'd try to play but then she'd lie down and go to sleep, and she never sleeps during the day. But then she started playing more and was happier.
Ella started to feel better
Ola: She's not 100% yet. She's still got that cough but she's getting back to normal.
To add to it, we popped into Starbucks but they didn't have Ella's usual blueberry muffin so we gave her a couple of other things to try. She ate a bit and then suddenly her lips swelled up! She's obviously allergic to something, which we'll now look into. One of the things had nuts in, walnuts and pecan nuts.
James: I had to run to the shop and get to Piriton.
Ola: It's been such an awful week, I don't want to leave the house now.
James: It's been very traumatic. I don't deal with stress well anyway – not when it's out of my control – it was exhausting.
Ola: By the evenings I felt like I was drained.
At the time of writing, Ella is at home and still feeling unwell…
James: Ella's still got her cough, not as bad as it was at all, but she's still being sick a bit. It's been nearly a month since her first symptoms. It doesn’t seem right. We're going to get another opinion as we don't know why she's still unwell.
HELLO! wishes Ella all the best and hope she feels better very soon.
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