What the F*ck Are You doing?….

It’s 7.15am on Sunday morning.

I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home.

I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself;

“Chris, What the F*ck are you doing?”


Let me rewind 70 hours.

It’s 9.15am on Friday morning.

I’m sat in the waiting room of the children A&E at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle.

My youngest son is very ill. He was in hospital on the Wednesday with something called HSP. Some reaction to an infection he had. Over night on the Thursday into the Friday he had got significantly more poorly.

Vomiting blood, screaming in pain, covered in a horrible rash. Pretty much the worst things you could see happen to your 4 year old.

“We need to admit your son..”


The doctors quickly realise there needs to be some intervention with my son to stop him getting any more poorly. He’s the most distressed I’d ever seen. He even asked if he was going to die. Heart wrenching stuff.

First and foremost I am a Dad. That is THE most important job in my life.

But, what happens when you’ve got to make that decision between being by your son’s side while he’s going through this awful illness or keeping your commitment to photograph a wedding which has been booked for over a year.

This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

On one hand how could I possibly leave my son? What if he got worse? What if he needed me? What if my wife needed me there to support her?

On the other hand how could I possibly let this lovely couple down? How would that impact their day? How would it impact my reputation as a photographer? What If I couldn’t find someone to cover it?



All day Friday all of this was racing through my head, I reached out to some amazing photographers I know to see who is available if I can’t get there. Luckily four came back to say it wasn’t a problem and they would sort it. Amazing photographers indeed.


This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

It’s Saturday lunch time. He’s not really getting any better. His heart rate is up, his kidney function is down and he’s having to have Morphine for the pain in his tummy.

How do you make this decision? It’s not like when I was employed by a big business, I couldn’t have cared less if I was off work then. It wouldn’t even have crossed my mind not to be at the hospital with the boy. But this is different. This is all on me.



Even though I had great photographers willing to cover the day, how could I do that to my couple? We’ve built a relationship, a rapport and an understanding on how the day will be. Taking that away from them with less than 24 hours notice could have ruined the happiest day of their lives.

It’s Saturday night. I’m still not certain on what to do. I look to the Wife for the answer knowing fine well that she would tell me to go. I look to my Dad. He tells me the same.

I get home. The guilt is real.

How could I leave him?

I cry myself to sleep.

It’s 7.15am on Sunday morning.

I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home.

I pass the turn off to the hospital.

I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself;

“Chris, What the F*ck are you doing?”

I give myself a shake. Take a big gulp of my coffee and get back on the road.

As soon as I get there I check in with the wife to see how he is. He didn’t have a good night and was really unsettled. He was in pain.

I took a minute outside before going to see my lovely bride. I tried to rationalise in my head what I was doing.

Could I actually make him feel any better by being there, like actually physically better? No I couldn’t. He was with my Wife,  very strong, very smart and very much in control of the situation. He was surrounded by Doctors who are doing everything they can to make him feel better.

He is in the best place possible.


It’s 10.30pm on Sunday evening.

I arrive back at the hospital to see my son flat out asleep in the bed. I sit down next to him and cry my eyes out again. The guilt is real.

The saving grace is that my couple we amazing. The wedding was amazing. The venue was amazing and we got some amazing images of their stunning wedding day.

Still. This was the one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.



Eight days in and we are still in hospital with the little fella. He’s looking loads better but its going to be a long road to a full recovery.


18 thoughts on “What the F*ck Are You doing?….

  1. Well done Chris. Either way, you would have felt guilty. Something any employed person would not understand.
    I hope your son, yourself and the rest of your family recover from this quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally get the guilt. My daughter also got HSP at 4:00. She was only hospitalized overnight. Her kidney function stayed the same (thank goodness, as she only has one to begin with!) but the swelling and joint pain from the rash was awful. Some days she would wake up and her eyes would be swollen shut. It went on for 6 weeks.

    12 hours after the was admitted to the hospital, I was booked to do a shoot. My husband practically pushed me out the door while he stayed with her, but I felt awful the entire time. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emotional stuff mate, straight from the heart and those of us lucky enough to know you and enjoy your tutelage will not be surprised at this heartfelt blog. Big man hugs to Noah, Laura and you from the photography fraternity (and beyond I’m sure). As always, if there is anything you guys need, just shout.
    John W.Pattison

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris, I fully understand the affects of HSP as I was diagnosed with it as an adult 3 years ago after been told my rash and pain etc was an allergy, took nearly 3/4 of a decade for me to get a diagnosis as it is not common in adults. It can be painful for the sufferer with rash, joint pain, stomach/abdo pains and kidney function. Unfortunately I was born with one kidney normal and one not so, so I have to make sure I don’t get dehydrated etc. There are many groups on facebook etc for support. From my knowledge children may only get 1 or 2 outbreaks of this condition and then have no further ones. In adults it is a bit worse as I have probably a re-occurence every other week to varying degrees of discomfort. I hope that it is the only one occurence that the wee fella has of HSP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hope he gets better soon and those pictures are amazing you did the right thing for you and your family don’t feel guilty x


  6. Oh my goodness, I was crying reading this. What strength you showed to be able to go work and produce amazing images of the happy couple’s wedding while carrying all this weight on your shoulders, the guilt of not being at the hospital. Hope your wee boy is better soon and I hope that had you opted to stay with him the couple would’ve understood – it wasn’t for a stubbed toe for goodness sake. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing 🙂 Oh, and I love your photography!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m near tears after reading this; I can’t image how hard it must of been. As a wedding photographer and with a little boy it’s my biggest fear. You deserve a gold ‘self employed kick ass committed’ photography award! Well done, I hope this never happens again and Noah is doing well xxx bless your wife for being strong and understanding as well x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s