Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A short sketch, for three players:

OCARINA-KID "Daddy! I've cut my foot ... " He paused, for greater effect. "In bed!"
SUPER-SPOUSE "Mummy! come here, quickly! He's cut his foot ..."
PSEUDO-SUPERMUM "He can't have done. There's nothing in his bed on which he could possibly cut his foot."
SUPER-SPOUSE "Well, he says he did. You'd better check."

Do you know what I found in Ocarina-Kid's bed? Exactly what I expected. One boy, plus assorted bed-linen, a duvet and a pile of cuddly toys. Nothing sharp.

PSEUDO-SUPERMUM "Have you been picking the hard skin on your feet?"

I took a deep breath and asked again.

OCARINA-KID (Sheepishly) "Err, well ...."

SUPER-SPOUSE "I was just being a concerned father! (Muttered, somewhat defensively.)

Well, yes. I'm clearly just a bit more cynical! The "cut foot" has been dressed with a plaster, and covered with a sock. D'you think he'll live? My sister's comment, when told this story, was "Does he usually take sharp things to bed with him then, and gain injuries in bed?" In a word - certainly not. Nothing sharper than his own fingernails - and his quick-wittedness!

Meanwhile, I've just had Ye Fraud's music teacher on the phone, enquiring after his health (ha!). They don't realise that parents were all kids once - been there, seen it, done it, got the tee-shirt ...

Monday, February 27, 2006

In the past month, two of our offspring have missed three swimming lessons and two music lessons. Until tonight, they were all for genuine reasons.

"Mum - my stomach hurts - here! - it suddenly just knots up inside - ouch!"

Who would want their child throwing up in the car or at their music teacher's feet? Quite.

Fifteen minutes after the lesson would have finished, it was a different story. Beaming child. "Mum, my stomach has settled now." Hmmm .... that was thirteen quid wasted. I'm not terribly happy. Only yesterday we were discussing someone else's sick child, and assuring our own little malingerer that - obviously - if someone was sick, then they couldn't leave the house. Methinks he learnt the lesson too well. It's too coincidental.

But it does cost money to pay for all these lessons. There are no refunds.

I'm inclined to think that little invalids need to go to bed early, to ensure that they've really recovered. What do you reckon?

Friday, February 24, 2006

On the subject of cats ... did you like the cat picture I posted the other day? Sadly, not my cat, although the colour reminded me of the much-loved moggie that we once had. We had to give Fergie away when no.1 son got asthma at the age of eleven months. As it turned out, Fergie wasn't to blame - and no.1 son grew out of his asthma by the time he was four. We were very grateful indeed for that.

But Fergie - well, he was ginger and white, and very hairy. All our carpets were tan/white flecked, so that his moulted hairs wouldn't show. We gave him to a doctor friend. Sadly, Fergie blotted his copybook by doing a job in the doctor's bath. That was it - Fergie was shown the door. So, I had to find new lodgings for him. The new house had an Aga stove that Fergie could snooze on. Two grown-ups and two kids to make a fuss of him. There was a ruined Scottish castle literally just outside, that Fergie could go mousing round at night. Who could ask for a more idyllic existence. That was in 1995, when Fergie was eight. I rather fear he might not be around any more. We were talking about him only last weekend.

On Wednesday morning this week, my husband made me tea and toast, then kept the newspaper for himself but threw the supplement at me to read. The property supplement? But we're not moving! Anyway, there in the middle was a feature article about the people who gave Fergie a home. Their kids have grown up and they are selling the house. I kept the picture, to show our kids. Even though he was away before sons no.2 and 3 came on the scene, they will be pleased to see where he ended up living.

Call me a softie - I have written to ask what happened to Fergie! It would just give a sense of closure to know if he had a long and happy life, or even if he might still be alive. I don't want to see him again - just to know how things turned out.

I can't show you a picture of him, but if you like cats, then you could always visit Garfield.com!

How can I summarise my convalescence this week? All I'll say is that it's surprising how much sleep you can squeeze into an ordinary day if you try hard enough. I mustn't lift anything heavier than a bag of sugar. I managed a walk round to the corner shop today. I can start driving again tomorrow.

My colleagues have been exhorting me to allow myself to be pampered. Super-Spouse has risen to the challenge wonderfully. However, I'd have to be flat on my back in plaster before the boys would realise there was anything wrong with me...

I've been signed off by the doctor for another week. Then when I go back to work, I'll have to be very careful about the weight-lifting. Heavens, I shift piles of books from A to B without batting an eyelid. This "careful" business will cramp my style somewhat.

And guess what? In three months I'll have to go back for further tests to see if the op was successful. Not quite back to the torture chamber, but there's plenty of embarrassment value to it, I can tell you that much.

Monday, February 20, 2006

This can't be me! I'm used to being tired, especially mentally tired. Post-anaesthetic tiredness is something else again. I keep having little naps. I'm told this is partly an effect of the painkillers I was given. Hmmm ...

Pseudo-Supermum doesn't feel so super when she can't rush around, can't DO anything, can't be bothered to do anything ... so, I ask myself: do I want a coffee (the caffeinated variety) - or a snooze under my grandmother's cozy crocheted blanket?!


Saturday, February 18, 2006

What can happen in a week? In our house, quite a lot. Viola boy's virus has gone. Back at work, I somehow didn't get a lot done this week, because we're short-staffed due to staff illness. Providing necessary cover makes one feel - well, necessary - but doesn't get the normal amount of your own work done!

On Thursday night, Ocarina-Kid developed an acute ear infection, and on Friday I added to the staff shortage by having gynaecological day-surgery. What a 24-hours I've had!

I'd planned for Thursday evening to be spent doing a leisurely supermarket run whilst a babysitter looked after the boys. Then I would pack a very small bag - including my new pyjamas just in case I had to stay in hospital overnight. And that would be it.

Just before the babysitter arrived, came the earache. There was no fever, thankfully. I admininstered Calpol and assumed it would work its magic by the time I got back. It didn't. I called NHS 24, was advised to dose the patient with Calprofen as well, and eventually got the offer of a phonecall from the duty doctor.

Calprofen didn't do much good either. Anyway, we all went out to the emergency clinic, got a prescription for antibiotics (if needed - did you know that trials revealed antibiotics to make a difference of just THREE HOURS in recovery time?!) - and trundled home again.

Eventually, having phoned the childminder to see if she minded having an invalid the next day, I got two little boys to bed and put away the rest of the supermarket shopping, and started to think about packing my bag. The pinky-red pyjamas were a Bad Fit. Ah well, I haven't worn them, and I've still got the receipt.

Before going out early in the morning, I called the childminder again, and wrote a letter to the school. In it, I apologised that I could not phone at 9 am, as I would be in hospital. Viola-Boy faithfully delivered it to the school office shortly after 9 am. At 11 am, a curt message was left on our answering machine, demanding to know why Ocarina-Kid was absent from school. I ask you! What on earth do I have to do? I wrote. It was handed in. I explained (a) where Ocarina Kid was, (b) why, (c) why I couldn't phone and (d) who they should contact in case of any other emergency. I seriously couldn't have done more. And they ring up with a crazy question like that? I can't tell you how annoyed that makes me feel.

After the operation, my hips are extremely sore. I'm tired. But at least, after an anxious few hours, I was finally let out of hospital last night rather than have to stay overnight. (The thought of the dreaded catheter was looming. It's enough to make the strongest woman weep.)

So now, here I sit, obliged to take things easy for a week, forbidden to drive - so, basically grounded! - and definitely not up to walking from the underground station to my work. Light domestic duties after a week, normal domestic duties after six. Deprived of the chance to multitask anything, I feel simultaneously strangely liberated, and guilty. They were short-staffed at work last week when I was there. And now I've made it worse. Mrs Popular, or what?!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Multi-tasking? Give me something more challenging!

Whilst I sit gearing myself up to doing some research-reading, I'm beseiged on all sides with calls for my attention. I've done "paper-crafting" - ie cutting out a paper model downloaded from the web. I've glanced, several times, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on TV. I've looked at something Viola-boy wants to download onto his dad's computer. I've suggested Ocarina-kid ought to tidy his room before bed-time. And now ...

... how can I object when I'm asked to move my chair so that Cello-boy can do some practice, unbidden?! He doesn't have a fever; he really wants to practise. I'm out of here - time to supervise bedtime whilst the musician perfects his art !

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What can I say? Viola-Boy seemed fine last night. This morning, he was sizzling again. This time, he only reached 100 degrees C, and responded to Calpol. Nonetheless, that meant - you've guessed it - no school again.

Phoned school & the childminder. Emailed my boss and colleague. Settled Viola-Boy, and started reading quietly downstairs. Until it occurred to me that vegetable soup was probably good for invalids. (Onions and garlic to fight infection. Vitamin C in carrots and tomato. Whatever it is that fights free-radicals, in the tomatoes.) Made soup, then returned to the reading.

At this point, the invalid decided to come downstairs and read in the lounge, so I read in the lounge with him. Luckily I'd taken the soup-pot off the stove before I fell asleep ...

When SuperSpouse came home, I went to work, where I learned with relief that I could take yesterday as Dependents' leave - so I don't have to make up all the time I've missed. I took the rest as flexi-time. Here's hoping he's well enough for school tomorrow, all the same. The doctor and the pharmacist recommended alternating Calpol and Ibuprofen. I've followed their instructions to the letter. Theoretically, his temperature hasn't a hope of rising until at least midnight.

Last night, at midnight, we found him fast asleep with a hot-water bottle on his head. It wouldn't have helped much would it? (Our kids are such rugged individualists ... )

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The invalid has convalesced all day. I might add that he is very happy and quite relaxed. All went well, until we had to go out to collect Ocarina-Kid from the childminder after school.

"I'm not going", declared the invalid.
"Yes, you are,"
"I'm not. I was told to stay at home and relax all day."
"Your brother has finished a whole school-day. You've been at home ditto. Now we're going to collect him."

And so it went on. We went. (We weren't supposed to have gone, but SuperSpouse went on an errand to Glasgow and discovered, rather late in the day, that he should have gone to Lanark - which is 30 miles away. As I sit blogging, he's in a queue on the M8 somewhere.)

So much for me going and doing some work this evening, to make up the hours that I've missed! I'm sitting all dressed up for work - the only problem being that I can't go until SuperSpouse returns. Already, I could only put in two hours max before work closes. Do you see me making it? No, neither do I! Wait till I tell SuperSpouse that his chilling-out cup of coffee at Lanark cost me an evening's remunerative work!

Of course, I could start some more research at home. But - I can't, really, until he arrives home - there's no point in just getting my books and papers spread over the table and starting to get my thoughts in gear, then having to put it all away and serve up tea. Ah, the trials of being a part-time recycled postgrad as well as a full-time working mum!

Monday, February 06, 2006

I was going to go tae Dundee today - a rare chance to indulge in some undisturbed research. Last night I delivered cello boy back to his halls of residence and prayed that he'd be okay for school in the morning. There have been no panicky phone-calls, so hopefully all was well.

However! Viola boy had a temperature of 101 this morning. I plainly was not destined for Dundee. I've administered Calpol and tepid sponging. Plenty of drinks, plenty of sleep, window open - you name it, I've done it. Phoned the doctor, was advised to get Ibuprofen as well, and to get the boy into a tepid bath. Done both!

What annoyed me was a phone-call from his school in the middle of the morning, asking where he was. Ocarina-Kid had taken a letter to school this morning, explaining why he wasn't there. I was told that I shouldn't have written, but phoned. To which I could only reply that I didn't see the need to phone when I had written. (I was brought up to understand that a letter was just as acceptable as a phone-call. Not any more, it appears.)

I tell you, I could have murdered him! However, it's a good thing I didn't - he had given his teacher the letter. It looks as though she forgot to pass it on. Next time, remind me to post the letter by teatime the day before a child turns out to be ill, so that the postman can deliver it straight to the school office. And I won't be so quick to judge the message-boy next time!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Strange how sometimes life can be so exhausting. Last weekend there was the broadband battle. No sooner was it sorted than SuperSpouse found himself embroiled in a nasty attack from someone whom he thought had been, if not a friend, then certainly someone with whom he had a good working relationship.

I don't think much of a man who is so vicious and spiteful that my husband came pretty close to having a second heart-attack after a meeting of so-called reconciliation.

To finish off the week, SuperSpouse found himself at a social event with an old flame with whom he'd finished not-exactly amicably over 22 years ago. They hadn't met in all that time. At least the evening seems to have passed uneventfully, and they established that they can at least speak to one another again! (I spent yesterday evening at home with the boys, feeling a bit like a sulky teenager left at home with the children rather than being allowed to go to the party - but I hadn't been invited, because SuperSpouse was there as a musical act rather than a party guest. You can imagine my relief when he came home smiling at the end of the evening!)

It's lunchtime. I have a husband who's had a fraught week, two sons with feverish colds, and a happy little seven-year old. All I have to do is survive ...