This last week or two we have been trapped in some kind of perfect medical storm. Absolute craziness has gone down. The idea of relaying all the details gives me a nervous twitch, so I'll just give you a few vignettes that paint something of a general picture.
When Ivy Channeled Linda Blair
Ivy's croup settled this week into a standard-issue miserable feverish snot-festival. She passed the virus onto Keith whose body morphed it into an evil, scary, proper influenza complete with shivering and raging temps and then, by Thursday, a full overnight of vomiting and nausea. Next morning Keith was a shambles, I was exhausted and Ivy was looking shabby. Poor Ted was full of three-year-old beans and climbing the walls. Nobody had the energy to play with him.
Keith staggered out to lie on the deck in the thin sunshine, while I fed the baby in the bedroom. 'Muuuuuum, ' Ivy moaned, 'I neeeeeeeeed youuuuu.' 'Just five minutes, ' I begged. 'I'm feeding George.'
Suddenly there was a strange, loud barking yawp. I knew it was Ivy and was up out of my chair and down the hall before I could think. (I dread to imagine what happened to my nipple.) Poor Ted got under my feet in the hallway and I sent him flying. In the lounge I found Ivy throwing up. The urge must have come on her suddenly and violently, because she was running in freaked-out circles around the room, spewing in a centrifugal arc.
I thrust the baby at Keith and tended to the vomitron. Teddy was weeping bitterly and we were running late. I had to dress Ted, pack him up for day-care, clean up the crime scene and set up my two invalids to look after themselves while I made it to our doctors appointment.
I had not yet had coffee, washed my face, cleaned my teeth. Repeat. Not. Coffee.
(Ivy and Keith display their sick-bed princess craft. Ivy has gone for after-5 glamour while Keith's frock speaks of Mary Tyler-Moore-ish 1963 gal-about-town whimsy.)
When I Wanted To Kick My GP Up The Cranny
Ivy's allergy test results were in. I explained to my GP that Ivy wasn't with me to pick them up because she was home with the Black Death. When I asked the doctor about what point I should worry about flu, she had a sort of freak-out about being asked to diagnose at a distance. I said I understood, but that Ivy had been to emergency twice that week, had a giant tick removed, suffered a series of hives and swellings and was now chucking her guts up. The doctor gazed at me stony-faced. But she's still your patient, I thought confusedly. This is her appointment. She's not here because she's too sick. We sat in silence for a little while. 'Well, she's got an egg and milk allergy', she told me off-handedly, and then, as a final salvo: 'And you look like you're going to cry.'
When I Failed To Get A Urine Sample
Saturday morning, Georgette spiked a temperature of 38.6. I rang a health-line to check how to manage a baby fever and they said it was Georgette's turn to hit the hospital. We didn't make it home until Sunday afternoon, after they admitted her for observation and ran a series of blood tests. Fever in babies under three months can get serious very quickly and they had to rule out meningitis and other nasties. Roll on Saturday night on a lumpy fold-out armchair, reading New Idea and eating mystery casserole.
Before they would let us leave on Sunday I had to 'catch' a urine sample. This involves holding the baby on your lap, watching for action and catching the wee in a specimen jar when it appears. This is much harder than it sounds. I stared unblinking at Georgette's nethers for an hour-and-a half. I sang every water-related song I could think of, from 'Islands In The Stream' to 'By The Rivers Of Babylon.', but I failed to catch a wee. (I do feel confident that I could pick my daughter out in a line-up though.) Eventually the nurses attached a plastic-bag apparatus. So there we sat, me and the George, on a peeling vinyl armchair; she nude from the waist down with a swinging plastic bag in place, and me in yesterdays clothes, watching the Celebrity Apprentice. 'George,' I said, 'I think we've both lost our dignity.'
This week, things are looking up. Although I feel a little ground-down, I have only low-grade cold symptoms. Last night I made an egg-free cake, decorated it with a giant chicken with a cross through it and we hoofed it down while watching Punky Brewster (season 1.) Nobody threw up. Not a one. Happy times!
And alls well that ends well with little baby loved-a-lot.