Photography & filmsChris ⤫ CrossDavid Henry Photography



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One awful day and a request

Don’t want to make the blog overly personal or sentimental but life happens in its joys, quirks, rawness, and love.

We’ve just returned from a family holiday in New Zealand.  That was our little family of four and my parents too.

I’ll post a few entries about what we got up to and what we saw cause it is a beautiful place and it’s a far easier flight than the rest of the world.

We got back 40 hours later than expected cause our youngest daughter, 20 month old Cesca, suffered an afebrile seizure.

We’d just finished breakfast and she wanted to go watch Bob the builder. She toddled over to big sister Lexie and stood beside the coffee table. Moments later she headed into a glass window and glanced it with her head. She stumbled through the gauzy curtains for a few steps and the fell to the floor.

Nothing unusual really.

I went to pick her up cause she’d emitted a slight cry and wasn’t climbing up as she normally would. One arm was locked out from her body and her eyes were rolling back and she had not a flicker of recognition of anything – me or the environment around her. Quite simply she wasn’t there…

Sarah quickly went for the phone to dial the NZ emergency number 111 but the phone wasn’t placing the call. My father tried without luck too. We don’t have global coverage on our mobiles (I hadn’t even taken mine anyway – it was a holiday after all) so that wasn’t an option. 

We were on floor 23 and headed for the lifts because Cesca wasn’t responding to anything and getting worse. Within moments the six of us were at the lift doors waiting for one of the four to take us the whole way down to level one. Maybe 50 seconds had passed at this point. She was turning blue around the mouth. Stopped breathing. I had been holding her and leant down to try an ineffective mouth-to-mouth technique (it’s been over 20 years since I learnt it when we used to do school swimming). The lift arrived. We got in. Everyone’s mind is racing. I know I audibly said, “I don’t want to lose her”. Handed her to my father (a dentist) who started a more effective resuscitation technique and an apparently less effective method of keeping her tongue forward (he has the bite marks and pain to remember). The lift gets to ground. Doors open. I leap out a yell a couple of times, “Call an ambulance. Call an ambulance”. Incidentally I’m dressed only in boxers and hotel dressing gown at this point. Everyone else was ready for the day ahead and our return flight home.

The hotel concierge quickly makes the call and then hands me the phone so I can fill in extra details with the operator. I don’t know how long it took for the ambulance to arrive. It’s one of those times when seconds draw out and minutes become an eternal hell. Cesca was being tended to by my parents and Sarah and my family was being kept comforted by the kindness of the strangers in the lobby.

I know there was a couple there who seemed to be an invaluable help to our 4 year old, Lexie who was very distraught at what was going on with her precious sister.

Too much of it is a blur already (thankfully).

I couldn’t get a visual on Cesca through the sea of bodies trying to help her. I just remember the reports filtering across the lobby from where she lay ten metres distant. “She’s not breathing…., her eyes are okay….., her heart is not going…., she’s coming round…., she’s not”. The 111 operator kept me on the line and asked family details and kept up her reassurances right until the siren was next to the hotel.
I raced over to Cesca and leant beside her and muttered a couple of words of love to her and then raced out of the lobby to the driveway with Sarah to make certain the ambulance knew where to come. They came inside and quickly took her to the ambulance with Sarah and my father. Picked up a paramedic en route and kept working on her on the 5- 7 minute journey to the hospital where a team of 8 or so medical staff at the Auckland Children’s Hospital aka the “Starship” quickly, carefully, thoughtfully worked on her.

About forty minutes after she arrived I got there with the rest of the family. Utterly in the dark due to our appalling lack of communication capabilities. Utterly distraught. We entered the ER and found out where she was. Twenty metres before I got to her I heard her crying and screaming. A good sound! And she recovered quickly from then until the four hours later when she was released.

A mystery seizure. There probably never will be an explanation. And hopefully it won’t happen it again. I’ve never witnessed it in anyone before but I’m told it’s not totally uncommon in children.

Publicly we offer our thanks to the staff at the City Life Hotel in Auckland who couldn’t do enough for us it seemed. Especially to the concierge (I’m sorry I never got your name) who seemed to be a constant help and everywhere at once in this little emergency. Our thanks to the husband and wife couple who helped little Lexie. The staff at the Starship Children’s emergency Department were impeccable. A wonderful place run by truly good staff.

Our prayers were answered the way we wanted.

The request? Learn first aid and love your loved one’s cause the next instant really does happen out of the blue.

Two photo’s included –  One of them taken about 2 hours after it all started – the only one I took in the first few hours. She finally collapsed into sleep. Much needed.

The second shows her with Sarah and Lexie the next morning.


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David Henry



see the world through my lens



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See the world through my lens


Photography & filmsChris ⤫ CrossDavid Henry Photography