Tag Archives: Hospital

My name is Sarah and I’m 40


I’m panicking.

I see myself as the latest, agile Lara Croft/Trinity/Catwoman/The Bride*, who could floor Mr Stranger-Danger in a couple of backflips and with a nicely placed (think Karate Kid), meditated karate chop here and there.

In my mind’s eye.

In my head I am young. I am fit. I am supple. And I am bendy. Apparently in all different directions.

And that, despite never having been a contortionist at any point in my lifetime. Or having stepped a leather slipper through the ballet class door or even attempted kung fu.

Although, to be fair, I did give judo more than a fair shot. I heaved myself all the way to a yellow belt. Then I promptly dislocated my left arm while running up the little hill between my home and the car park. I’d been skipping, you see. And I needed to tidy my rope into the outhouse before being allowed to join my parents in the car.

Tidiness was never my strong point.

Anyway, I began my ascent up the hill and tripped over my own silly foot.

After months of rehearsing for such falls, I obeyed my teacher (actually my aunt) and threw my stick-girl body at the ground.

Somehow, strangely, something went wrong and my arm popped right out of its socket.

I screamed with all my might and surrounding neighbours came out of their houses to vomit at the spectacle.

My mum took on a ghostly appearance as I repeatedly yelled, “I broke my arm! I broke my arm!” (Just in case someone in a neighbouring suburb hadn’t heard me).

The nurses at the hospital exhibited me proudly. Workers appeared from ward after ward to look at my now extraordinarily long arm.

The fabulous news is: it got me out of judo class. Forever.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes yoga. I attempted yoga. But unbelievably, dodgy knees and yoga don’t, well, harmonise.

I’m panicking slightly.

I’m 40.

And it may well be that I never ever reach my full potential.

*Delete as you feel appropriate

***Add on***

Driving my five-year old (who’s soon to be six and so excited about that fact, that she’s telling the dental receptionist, her husband, the postman and his dog, the delivery man, the woman at the bakers and any other random stranger she comes into contact with) to her ballet class this evening she asked me about the story I had been writing today.

As usual, she said, “I know that one!”

My stories are all known and constantly reiterated by my children. At times wrongly.Which, I can tell you, can lead to even more embarrassment than the events themselves actually had done.

We talked a little of fantasising and fantasies that could never become a reality.

Then she decided to inform me that she has a lot of fantasies and I could have some of them.

That pricked my interest, I can tell you.

But after further questioning she “couldn’t quite remember” any of her own envisionings.

She then went on to offer to teach me judo, having never been to a single judo class in her short life (though who knows what’s happened in her daydreams?)

Allegedly, I have to fall on my hands and my knees next time.

So, now I know.

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My Mr Tickle arm


It all started with me running up the hill, as you do (when you’re eight) and me tripping over my own foot, as you shouldn’t.

Mid-fall I attempted to do a judo landing. My black-belted aunt had been teaching me judo for some months at that point.

What I should have remembered was that I was crap at judo.

Meaning the fall, of course, went badly wrong.

So badly wrong in fact, that I dislocated my left arm.

For those of you who need a more graphical description, that means I separated the bones from the elbow.

I had my very own Mr Tickle arm.

Though it didn’t work.

It was just all wobbly.

And therefore no good for tickling anybody.

I proved that my lungs worked really well though, screaming so loudly that neighbours from near and far ran out of their houses to see the spectacle.

My mother had me on her lap on the passenger seat of our mini. I was screaming. She was trying to ‘hold me together’.

We drove to the local hospital and they said, “Sorry but you’re too late. We close at 5pm. You’ll have to go to the hospital in the next town.”

So my parents poured me back into the car and drove on for a few miles.

“It would be better if you took her to another, major hospital, here she’d have to wait some time.” Yes, it just so happened I’d rammed some sweets in my gob right before my accident.

My parents poured me back into the car and drove on for quite a few miles.

I was still screaming.

At the major hospital, we were informed we had to wait anyway because of the sweets and the anaesthetic.

I lay on the bed with my extra long arm positioned on two pillows.

Nurses travelled over from various wards to see the exhibit.

Some oohed and aahed. Others covered their hands over their mouths and looked to me like they were about to vomit.

Luckily, in its pillowed position I could not see my arm properly.

Which can only be described as a good thing.

They did not need me vomiting in my bed. I’d already managed to miss the bed pan.

A suspicious doctor looked at my injuries and repeatedly questioned my parents about them. He found my story of tripping over my own foot and attempting to do a judo fall somewhat difficult to believe.

He obviously hadn’t seen me doing judo.

Finally, the evil sweets were wearing off and my time had come to have my arm fixed.

Then another child was rushed in, needing a life-saving operation. So me and my Mr Tickle arm were united for a while longer.

Hopefully he had been a good boy and hadn’t been filling his face with sweets.

Eventually, they took me to the operating room. I saw bright lights and people with masks and heard muffled voices.

I offered to keep my Mr Tickle arm. We’d been together this long…

Then a man approached me with the largest needle in the world. He sprayed it upwards like one of those evil doctors in a film and I found myself wriggling and shouting, “You’re not sticking that in me!!”

Pinned to the table and with my Mr Tickle arm being of absolutely no use in an escape situation, he jabbed me.

I yelled some more, being a particularly vocal child. “I will not sleep! I will not…”

Luckily I did sleep, as apparently they set it wrong and had to re-dislocate it and reset it again.

And fortunately, I did not develop a phobia of needles, as people have been sticking them in me ever since.

Pre-op


The surgeon told me it’s a tiny little ten minute operation and really I have no need to worry. The risks are minute and the benefits could be dramatic.

Additionally, the procedure itself offers an opportunity for sleep.

So I agreed. Mind, body and soul.

And I signed on the dotted line.

He told me to make an appointment with the anaesthetist.

I visited her on Tuesday and after waiting for a good hour and a half, she trawled through my medical history with me.

“You have quite a lot behind you, haven’t you?”

“You can’t tell by looking at you.”

“Erm… Yes. Thanks.” I’m not sure whether to feel flattered or concerned.

“I need to tell you, you’re high risk. You have asthma. It could lead to complications. You could take an asthma attack during the operation. We will of course treat you for it, if you do. Please sign here to show I’ve warned you of the risks.”

I signed.

The operation is tomorrow.

I am now starting to think I am completely bonkers. I have lived this long with heavy periods. What’s another few years? After all, the menopause can only be just around the corner… And anyway, is bleeding fifteen days a month really so bad?… I guess I’m pretty used to it by now…

I think about the surgeon and his experience and I start to relax again. I think about going for a hot bath and try to remember that I *must shave*.

I prepare the dinner – Cauliflower Surprise – the surprise being that it contains hardly any cauliflower.

I’m on a stuff-as-much-food-in-as-humanly-possible-marathon because as of 24.00 I am no longer allowed to eat.

In celebration (of the marathon, not the operation) I have even bought a chocolate cake.

Between stuffing and cooking, shopping and soothing conversations with friends, the day whizzes by and it’s time to say goodnight to the children.

Aden’s concerned but Akasha sings, “Have fun at the doctors. Have fun everywhere.”

You gotta love ’em.

Time for some w(h)ine(ing)


I really, really need to have a grump.

I thought about popping into that Thai massage parlour I am driving past on a daily basis at the moment. It has an anti-stress massage advertisement in the window: Head, neck and shoulders for just 29€.

The place looks a little seedy. And I felt kind of concerned in case I was offered more than I bargained for. But my husband has assured me, here, in Germany, the brothels are well signposted, flashing their red love hearts all over town.

Of course, I’ve seen them.

As have the children who were mightily disappointed when I told them it’s a place you go to pay for sex not some romantic place of lurve.

And 29€ may be a special offer, but it’s still 29€ and WordPress, on the other hand, is free.

Plus, in the last couple of weeks I’ve spent enough money to finance a luxury cruise.

For two.

Dear Husband,

If we didn’t have kids we really could be floating off right now… Instead of buying new shoes, coughing up for haircuts, bankrolling the replacement of a full forest worth of necessary books, splashing out on bus passes, not to mention the half a weeks wages we had to invest on a pair of children’s glasses…

Dear Mr Optician,

I did not appreciate you trying to guilt trip me into buying a second pair of glasses for my child. I definitely did not appreciate you telling my daughter her current glasses are old-fashioned and need to be replaced. Are you trying to knock her self-esteem? She likes her glasses. She does not want to change them. She only needs a replacement lens. And you made more than enough money out of that, charging me 41€ for the privilege. Your glasses are well-over-priced. I have British TV and I happen to know that Boots are selling two pairs for £79. You wouldn’t even give me half a pair for that! Anyway, today I found a cheaper optician than you in the shopping centre. So stick that in your pipe…

Dear Baker at the Department Store,

I am very sorry that my four-year-old stole half of your cream cake with her hair. I hope I didn’t offend you, helping myself to your serviettes, but really, the cream was weighing her head down. And I couldn’t let her walk around like that. She already had chocolate smeared all over her face…

Dear Arrogant Chemist Bitch Woman,

I know that you said you would call me when the prescription was ready. I know because the prescription was urgent, and as I told you, it’s bad enough having had to drive back and forth to the hospital every day for the past ten weeks without having to drive back and forth to your bloody chemist too…

Dear New Teacher,

In his defence, I do think my son’s intentions were good, picking up that little kid by his coat. While he was dangling him, my son just wanted to let him know that it’s not nice to hit other kids. Unfortunately the little shit the youngster did not seem to comprehend as he just ran off and thumped someone else…

Dear Dust,

Please pay rent!!

Dear Family,

My son has been back and forward to the hospital every day (bar weekends) for the past ten weeks and not one of you has called to see how he is…

Dear Bloggers,

I am sorry, I am very behind on my reading. I’ve been so busy running backwards and forwards, scowling at discussing the merits of good service with chemists, cleaning up vomit, therapizing pubescent teens, running around shopping centres begging for ice to inhibit a black eye, explaining the black eye, complaining about the cost of books, guestimating the weather, badly – sweating in excessive clothing, or shivering in short sleeves, blocking toilets…

Dear Toilet Cleaner,

I am a little bit sorry that my daughter and I ran off leaving the loo in that state. We went with the ‘save water – share a flush’ plan. And it backfired. Miserably. We didn’t stuff the loo with anything untoward. Honestly. OK, we did, perhaps, I suspect, I confess, use more than the average amount of toilet tissue. What with periods and poos. And several wipes of the seat on the loo. I am normally a responsible parent. That time the little one removed all the price tags in the cheese section of the supermarket’s fridge, I handed them right over to the unsuspecting assistant, did an about turn and left her to get on with her job.
No, I did not leave you a tip, but to be honest, your services weren’t really fully-functioning, were they?

Dear Sore Throat, Migraine and Period,

Kindly, piss off…

Dear Santa,

I thought I’d get my list in early this year. I’ve tried to be good. Honest.

With optimism:

  • 1 – 2 Weekends away with husband but without children
  • 1 x Reasonably large Unreasonably large lottery win
  • 1 x New, improved memory
  • 1 x Large dose of patience
  • 1 x Small, painless op to remove all traces of menstruation
  • 1 x 5 x Extra hours in the day
  • Wine, a lot of wine

And I know I’m pushing it, but

  • 1 x unripped sofa

Dear Psychiatrist,

Tuesday? 9am?

Just ADHD? Update


I wrote a post, a few short weeks ago Just ADHD? and I have to say, I am truly amazed at the response it received.

Since I wrote that article, things have moved forward in that I finally found myself with the details of a hospital where my son, Aden, should be able to be correctly diagnosed. The only snag being, a long waiting time. Again.

My issue with that is, in recent weeks more and more problems have begun to arise. And although I understand more and more about why my son behaves differently (mostly from the help I received after writing the above article), I am finding myself with new issues to deal with now, on an almost daily basis.

The school is struggling to cope with Aden and that all became very clear on Friday.

I received a call from the secretary to inform me that he had run away.

A fight had broken out between him and another boy, and Aden had thrown stones. A search of his school bag revealed more stones and this led to my little boy locking himself in the toilet. His class teacher, who, it must be said, is very nice, got him out of the cubicle and the headmaster sent him to the sick room with some work, on his own, to deflate the situation.

Experience tells me, that this is a very bad idea. At this point my child needs to be calmed down (see I am learning, I just need to learn a lot faster, because I’m having trouble keeping up).

Aden, alone and frustrated in the sick room, opened and climbed out of the window and left the building.

Then made his 2km way home. In the rain.

I answered the phone, and literally two minutes later found him standing on the door step.

I calmed him down and explained patiently, that we needed to go back to school and why.

We faced down an angry, sarcastic sports teacher and the headmaster, together.

The headmaster raged about how disappointed he is in my son, how after everything he’s done for him, giving him less work than the other children, etc. Aden has let him down.

I watched Aden’s pained face and I hurt with him.

I understood the headmasters anger, but I realised at the same time that his ranting would absolutely not improve the situation with my child. I also didn’t feel that Aden’s ability to keep up with school work and the current situation, actually had anything to do with each other.

And someone else’s disappointment will not stop him leaving a building or climbing out of a window or even throwing a stone.

I don’t know exactly what will stop my son doing these things. I do know, that in his frustrated, angry, upset state that he wanted to come home. And though I agree that he should not have left, although I’m upset that half the school had to search for my ten-year-old and that everyone knows and the whole school has been disrupted, I’m also aware, that I must be doing something right and that led my child directly back to me.

To reiterate, I do not want Aden to leave school and come home and cause such disruption. What I want is for him to have a normal school experience, with friends and to love learning, like I did when I was young. I want him to achieve and have goals and feel success. To laugh, to interact, to be able to concentrate on the task in hand.

But I also want him to know that he can tell me anything, no matter how awful it is. That he can trust me and that he has my unconditional love. That whatever he does, we can try together to work it out and to do the right thing.

Once the headmaster had calmed a little and after detention had been set, I tried to explain that I believe Aden not only to have ADHD, but also to be autistic. I informed him that we are awaiting an appointment at the hospital, and that our paediatrician has now told me that he suspects my son has not only ADHD, but also autism. I quietly told him that all of this information has been thoroughly discussed with his class teacher.

He sent us off to the class teacher and on the way I explained to Aden that it could be that she is also angry.

Outside the classroom a boy shouted, “Evil Aden!”

I actually couldn’t speak.

The teacher saw us and treated us both with respect and concern. She informed me that Aden is being bullied. That the other children will not leave him alone. They annoy him constantly. They stick things on his back. And that she’s at a loss on how to handle it.

I felt physically sick as she spoke to me and I had to really force myself to blink back the tears.  He had not told me this. Nor had the headmaster. I knew that the week before, a boy had pulled his trousers down after swimming class. Aden had come home extremely angry, but he had also revealed that the child had been properly dealt with.

My son is an obvious target. He behaves differently to other children of his age. Stands out for his different taste in shoes. Makes odd noises and faces. Runs to the teachers and helps them with everything. Tells if he thinks someone’s doing something wrong. Has no sense of personal space.

We had problems with bullying before, last year, and what I do know is, that he will only take so much and then he will react, explosively.

Worried I called the hospital again, to try to hurry the appointment through. And incredibly we were given an immediate emergency appointment. I asked how immediate and they told me to “leave the house right now!”

I picked up my husband and we drove straight to the hospital.

We saw a psychiatrist and explained the current problems and some back history. She told us almost immediately on seeing our son that she thought ‘autistic’, but that we would have to go through a proper diagnosis.

We came home and although it had been a long, horrible day, and we’d spent half of the afternoon filling in forms we’d already filled in ten times before, I had the overall feeling that we’d made a big step forward. Because now we have an emergency telephone number that we can use, be it day or night, should our son require urgent assistance and the hospital will now push us along on the waiting list and give us an appointment, I hope, quite soon.

◊◊◊

Still worried about the potentially explosive situation at school. Last night Aden and I studied the calendar together, which revealed that he has only just over six weeks left at this school, after holidays in between are deducted. I’ve told him to try to stay calm. When he comes home he can bounce on the trampoline and hit the punch bag to attempt to keep his frustration down.

I’ve also told his teacher that, should things be too difficult at school, she should call me and I’ll come by and pick him up.

ADHD, Parenting, Ritalin and the Do-Gooder Brigade


To All It May Concern,

I don’t need your mumbo jumbo.

Last night I received another call from another innocent do-gooder who wanted to tell me how to bring up my ADHD son.

So I decided this morning, I’ll make it official. Put my statement out there into the world.

On behalf of myself, my son, my husband, my other three children and all of the other mothers in my position:

I am not interested. I do not care. So sod off.

And in particular, I am completely turned off by what your neighbour (who has not once met my son), the old woman you met in the chemist (she definitely doesn’t know me), or your mother-in-law’s dead cat has to say on the matter.

  • A blockage in his neck? – Nonsense
  • He’s allergic to something – tried and tested
  • Mineral/vitamin/oil supplements – got the t-shirt
  • He just needs more affection – I am the official cuddle monster, but thanks for the insult
  • Just to make it quite clear I have absolutely no faith in your astrology, numerology, natural remedies, table tennis theory, or back to nature camps
  • And yes, for your information I absolutely do discipline my son, let him watch only a little TV, don’t allow him to play aggressive computer games (he’s rarely on the computer), do send him out to play and have tried to help him through sport.

In the early days of diagnosis, I did indeed try alternative therapies. Concerned about the effects of strong medicine on my son. I consulted different doctors and begged for help.

After much waiting, talking, reading, educating myself and trying and testing, my husband and I decided to try our son on Ritalin.

My son’s life changed.

Our lives changed.

Completely.

He now hits his head on things (tables/walls etc) as an occasional instance, rather than on a daily basis.

He has not landed in hospital due to an impulsive injury since he started taking the tablets.

He no longer disrupts the class constantly: wandering around, climbing out of windows, sitting under the desk or in the waste paper bin, or fighting.

His concentration is still poor, but his writing is more legible, he can read a book and eat a meal at the table.

He has had no more tics. That is, his body doesn’t jerk, his shoulder doesn’t bounce up and hit him in the face and he doesn’t suddenly jump up at the dinner table then look confused, because he doesn’t know why he’s standing up.

He can sit next to a classmate in school and have friends.

It is also true to say that we have to be extra careful when the medication wears off. He’s still somewhat impulsive and is certainly challenging to bring up.

But the difference is undeniable. Incredible. Amazing. And I am truly thankful.

So Dear Do-gooder, why the fuck, would you call me and tell me Ritalin is a drug, and I should instead try him on X, Y or Z?

Huh?

A little bit of me


2009 (yes, not 2010, I’m going right back in time now) felt like a very demanding year to us. The stresses and strains of my knee op, subsequent life on crutches, Akasha’s two finger operations and learning that she’d had (tested after removal) pre-cancerous cells aged (shockingly) only three years old, tugged on our heart-strings.

Aged nine, Aden finally (after an enormous wait) saw a specialist and received his ADHD diagnosis. Effective treatment however took, looking back, a ridiculous amount of time, until mid 2010, to be exact.

Meanwhile 2009 saw Aden’s symptoms spiral out of all control. He continually hurt himself with his impulsive behaviour. We had more than a natural amount of trips to the hospital. When the staff start to recognise you, and offer you a loyalty card, you know you’ve fallen into the above statistical average category.

Homework was a disaster. School an intolerable nightmare. Frustrated by bullying, Aden became extremely aggressive and hurt some kids, pretty badly, while at school one day.

After bobbing about in a puddle of my own tears for a while, my husband and I decided: enough is enough. And with the help of a doctors line, we took him out of school for a couple of weeks. We refused all offers of homework and instead spent our time knocking seven bells out of a punch-bag, talking, reading together, providing massages, and doing little projects to build up his self-confidence again, which at that point, was at an all time low.

Many cuddles and tears later, Aden returned to school, a much calmer boy. But truthfully? I was exhausted. Outwardly, I tried to portray a strong, capable exterior, but inwardly I felt like a jelly that not only wobbled, but had started to melt too.

It’s hard work being a mum. And having four children, of course, means four times the work. Four times the washing. Four times the cleaning. Four times the cooking. Four times the taxiing. On the other hand it also means four times the present giving. Four times the concert watching. Four times the laughter. Four times the love.

I’m not opposed to a bit of hard work, besides that, I’m lucky enough to have four helpers ;-).

But the problem for me is: when things go wrong. And 2009 was a year when a lot of things went wrong.

So, after some discussion, hubby and I decided we’d celebrate the demise of 2009, and welcome heartily the entrance of 2010.

That’s right. We threw a BIG party.

What I wanted from that party, I can now see, to be unrealistic. I hoped a positive start to the year might influence how the year would pan out. I felt a determination for things to improve.

But naturally, life always throws its difficulties at you and the overhang from 2009 naturally dragged into 2010. Then of course, 2010 threw up its own issues which we’re still jostling through.

Still wobbly and now somewhat further internally melted from the issues of 2010, I am presently looking back on this year and this is what I see:

It’s the year of the friend.

It started with that wonderful party and it’s continued throughout the year. The kindness and generosity of our friends has overwhelmed me. Guests provided sparklers and fireworks, bubbly and beer, fun and games. They barbecued sausages, put together salads, cooked Spätzle, prepared tiramisu, created cocktails and generally kept us entertained. The star of the show, undoubtedly this beautiful stuffed salmon:

Star of the show

In a word: delicious!!

Throughout the year, I have turned more and more to my friends, who have supported me through thick and thin, been there to celebrate and commiserate, offered advice and just listened. I have drawn much strength from these relationships this year. I have listened to their opinions. I have enjoyed their presence in my life.

As a good friend once said to me: “Friends are the family you choose for yourself.”

Look away now if you don’t like soppiness ;-), because I would like to say special thanks to (in no particular order):

Gabi: for crying with me and always being there even when she had problems of her own

Dani: for always caring and thinking of me

Frank: for making me laugh and being a sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent soul

Lili: for hours of listening, empathizing, then making me see the fun in life (and special thanks for that weekend of babysitting – I will be eternally grateful)

Andrea: for being so kind and just generally lovely

Holger: for breakfasts and beer and carefully thought out emails and baking cakes 🙂

Sabs: for endless hours putting the world to rights on the phone

Alex: for just being the funniest person I ever met and at the same time sensitive

Karin: for being thoughtful and for listening

Jake and John: for getting married and bringing me back for a glimpse of Scotland

Connie and Naseem: for putting up Akasha and I and being so generous with your homes and time. I really enjoyed my stay with both of you!

Eleanor: for being the person who pushed me over the edge into doing this blog

slpmartin: for giving me confidence with his comments on my blog

Caitlin: for being adorable on her three-week stay (I’m still up for the whole adoption thing…)

And three special, special, special thanks:

Faye: my forever friend

Reinhold: my soul mate

And Joni: for maturing into a wonderful 15-year-old, that a mum can only be proud of. As well as being my daughter you are also my friend xx

 

It’s been a while…


So, it’s been a while. No, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth. Just been a bit busy. Which is probably, in actual fact, the best time to write. Something to actually tell you. But it didn’t work out. Was just too tied up. The truth is, life is always hectic here. There are four children. What else is to be expected? But the last few weeks have been extra special. Firstly, we had three visitors over from Scotland. My parents and the daughter of my very best friend. An adorable girl, who I’d have happily adopted. However, I had to permit her return to her own mother eventually. Although, I did manage to hold onto her for an extra week with the aid of the Volcanic Ash Crisis. A nod and a wink to you Eyjafjallajökull.

On top of that we had a good go at record-breaking. On the second week of, and essentially what should have been the final week of their stay, we went to the doctors a total of five times, plus twice to the hospital.

The second visit to the hospital really took its toll. We were there for over nine hours. Mainly in the waiting room. Our actual time being attended to amounted to around forty minutes. We were finally allowed to leave, and on our return journey home, I swore to my hubby that this time, this is it.

The following week I didn’t go to the doctor at all.

I am a rebel.

The hospital even called to see why I hadn’t made a follow-up appointment. I wanted to say I’d rather rip off my own head, but politely I informed them that all is well, and what on earth is the point when all is well? Honestly, are they touting for business now?

Mind you, they probably have our children on some kind of at risk register by now. I informed our GP on one of our more recent visits, that my son had been up during the night again. This time making himself something to eat. This worries me in case he starts to cook. He has made fried eggs unattended before. A shock to me. Being awoken in the morning by a smiling face, armed with cooked breakfast. Luckily we hadn’t all been crisped in our beds. When you have a son who hasn’t control over his impulses, it’s scary to know he’s up in the middle of the night ‘doing things’.

Before we went into the surgery, I informed Aden, that I had to talk to the doctor about his issues. I expressed that I had no intention of badmouthing him. On the contrary, I would only be honest and that no-one is annoyed with him. Just concerned for his and everyone else’s safety. He needs his medication again. He needs help. We need help. It’s the only way forward. I told him that the best thing to do is to stay quiet. No need to feel defensive. No one is attacking him.

I explained the worry of the situation to the doctor.  I cannot, of course, be expected to watch him 24 hours a day. Then Aden blurted out, that, the only reason he arose in the middle of the night was because he didn’t have any dinner. Gobsmacked I just sat there. Staring. Failing to tell the doctor that he’d had a three-course-lunch at the Sushi lounge. Of adult proportions. Comprising of chicken skewers with salad and hot rice (in a delicious sauce),  followed by sushi. And that he couldn’t eat much of the three types of ice cream dessert, with fresh fruit, biscuits and cream. That Kashi and I had been lumbered.

Then, that very day, after an afternoon out, he’d  demolished a whole pizza for his ‘dinner’.

Mouth open I sat there. Un-defending. I think a slight utterance of “Aden” may have gasped out of my mouth.

No doubt written in permanent marker somewhere next to my name lies the inscription: “This woman does not feed her child”.

The whole situation, of course, is not helped by the fact that he’s the skinniest boy in Germany and I nowadays look like I actually swallowed a child.

So, I managed to stay away from the docs until… today. Ten whole days. Definitely a  record. At least in our family. We’ve had no electrocutions. No rashes, strange or otherwise. No projectile vomit. No halved fingers.  No scratched cornea – through pencil sharpening or fingernails. No splinters under fingernails requiring  surgical removal. No drinking of undelicious liquids. No dares that caused issues to health and no unusual viruses. We have been free.

Until now.

This time I’m here. Yes, it’s me. I’ve been feeling a little unwell since last week. And not from the heady excitement of my possible leisure activities. I think I have been bitten. At least that’s what I thought. Then I thought I’d had a reaction to the bite, so I thinned my skin a little with some steroid cream. But it’s got worse. Lots of little blisters. All trying to swallow themselves up in one another to become one considerable beast. I would have gone to the chemist. But unfortunately, the positioning is rather delicate and I didn’t really intend to reveal myself in the middle of his shop.

The receptionist has dignified me with a female doctor. Few and far between in our practice. So I’ve accepted my appointment and I’m waiting for her.

…..

She called in another male doctor. So he also got a good look.

“Shingles…”

Again. And in my battle to seek other gainful activities, I have not only lost, but I am also informed: I am too late for the tablets!

Continue reading It’s been a while…

Waiting time


I’m in the hospital waiting room writing this blog, which is where I seem to spend half of my life these days. In fact, I would argue that I spend more of my life in the company of doctors than I do with my own husband. No, actually, that’s not true. Because, in all honesty, most of my time is spent in waiting rooms. With complete strangers.

So here we are once again sitting and waiting. Waiting and sitting. It has been known for this situation to occur six times in one week. As a constant, I find myself waiting minimally once a week, either at the hospital or at the doctors.

It’s not that we’re a really sick family or something. We’ve had our problems, don’t get me wrong. And I certainly wouldn’t describe us as the fittest family in the world. Additionally, there are a lot of us. But at times I have to say, I feel ridiculous. And sometimes I’m just plain annoyed. But my general feeling is one of despair. I mean, it’s not how you want your life to be, is it? Just sitting there. Waiting. In a room full of strangers. No one communicating with one another. The odd courteous “Good morning” is of course uttered and the odd pleasant “Goodbye”. But essentially we all sit there in silence, thinking our own thoughts. Which in my case is generally, “Get me the bloody hell out of here!”.

Today, in an attempt to spend quality time with my family, I’ve brought my husband along. Well, actually, he also has an appointment. At the dentist. Every time I think of the dentist, (after my initial panic attack and then realisation I’m not the one with the appointment), I calmly remember Lori, and her brief encounter with a desire to be a dentist. It had always been a burning question in me (every time I had to go to the dentist, actually). What kind of person decides to be a dentist? For sure some kind of sadist! At this point, I should actually say that our dentist is really nice, especially when I don’t have to see her. Then my own little daughter comes to me and tells me of her new career choice. Wide eyed: I could finally ask the desired question. Why? She answered without a moment’s hesitation: “Well, I wouldn’t have to study as much as another type of doctor and I could pull peoples teeth out!” I’m a little intimidated by my daughter.

My husband, whose consultation was an hour after Aden’s, has subsequently been through his whole appointment. Including a forty minute round trip, as well as being drilled, and is now back with us for our ‘date’. We are of course still waiting. We have, seen two doctors actually, and are now waiting to see the professor. Should we be nervous? Flattered? Intrigued? I’m none of these. We met him last week and I thought he was an idiot.

At this point I should probably divulge that Aden had an infection, with a very high temperature, some weeks ago. Following that, he apparently started to bleed underneath the skin. One evening he came into the lounge and after no actual injury, had several strange bruises and swellings around his feet and lower legs. The follow-up then being a strange ‘rash’. However, due to the fact that these swellings and bleeds took a new form on a daily basis, he ended up in hospital for a week. They were testing him for a million different causes including TB and heart malfunctions. Since his stay in hospital, he’s attended outpatients at least once a week. He had visited the GP at times as frequently as every second day. Then, we met ‘the professor’ who exclaimed, “Eczema”…The junior doctor looked baffled. She was left, though, with no choice, due to his high standing, but to write-up eczema as a diagnosis. She informed me repeatedly, that on my return to the children’s ward, I should tell the pediatrician to call her. I did so. Our pediatrician phoned and expressed her annoyance at the diagnosis. I too was annoyed, as even I, with my minimal medical knowledge knew that that’s not eczema.

This time, however it’s different. The idiot is overruled.

We’ve been moved now. To a ‘waiting corridor’. Strange new experience for me. All the doctors squeeze between us and the stairs directly in front of us. At one point a doctor stops to talk to another patient causing a traffic jam. Continuing her conversation, a second doctor almost becomes a contortionist, forcing herself through, the tiny gap. I am curious. Why are we sitting here?

We’re taken by a nurse into a small cubicle. Aden has to put disposable slippers on. We wait for a little while and then the nurse returns and tells us we are not to talk. She says everyone can hear us. I have no idea why that’s a problem and feel a little agitated. We wait as quietly as possible.

We’re taken into a room. There’s a seat at the front and rows curved around in a semi-circle. Like an amphitheater. Aden is to take centre stage. Our doctor comes forward and I’m given a seat in the first row. There must be at least fifteen white-coated doctors in the room. I’m baffled. Our doctor describes Aden’s previous symptoms and diagnosis’ (omitting the eczema). We’re asked questions. All the doctors circle Aden, pressing a piece of glass randomly against his skin. He looks quite nervous. We’re removed as they discuss his case.

We have a short wait in the main waiting area. Then things start to happen. Apparently, the most inquisitive doctor was the ‘big cheese’. Her influence initiates photos to be taken, more blood tests and the junior doctor finally gaining permission to have a sample operated out of his foot. The request which had been denied last week due to the ill-conceived eczema diagnosis.

Busy, but pleased, the junior doctor contacts the children’s ward. Authority now given to her requests of steroids and further antibiotics. We’re shipped over to the ward on the other side of town.

We wait in a new waiting room. In the meantime my husband has relinquished his date and headed off to the other children, picking up and dropping off. He returns now and we see our pediatrician, who has news for us. Her professor has decided against the expertise of the panel, and, without seeing Aden has alloted a prescription of exactly nothing. No medicine. No more appointments. Just like that.

Gobsmacked. We leave the ward. Six hours after our initial entrance at the dermatology department. Above average time for us. But not a record.

I inform Reini: I am not taking the children to any hospitals anymore. Furthermore, I am going to learn to be a doctor online. He responds evenly, that that won’t be the case in the next few days, when something happens to one of the kids. That I’ll cart them off to the hospital. Quick as a flash. I reluctantly agree…

After all, as I recently informed my mother, (who constantly tells me that you worry about your kids even when they’re adults): A child is for life and not just for Christmas…