Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yesterday - lost and found


It was a roller coaster of a day. I’d hoped it would be a day of true rest, after earlier this week finally (after three weeks of feeling rock bottom) being diagnosed with pneumonia…after. This week I’ve been in and out of doctors’ appointments (dye being injected for CT scans – left shivering in those stupid paper smocks, body being pounded by physio-therapists etc., blood tests etc – poked and prodded from every angle). The plan was the kids were going to day-care and the day stretched empty and beckoning. I could sleep. Watch TV. Bliss.

But I woke to find my 5 year-old daughter covered head to toe in red spots. I called her day-care centre – did they know of any such thing going around? No, but she and her brother certainly wouldn’t be able to attend without a certificate from the doctor confirming she wasn’t contagious. I check the books — so much to choose from: Fifth disease, Hand-foot-mouth disease, Meningitis? Rubella and chicken pox should be out – she’s been immunised (but then, my husband was the first person to get rubella post vaccination in the US and uncover a faulty vaccination batch…)? Either way, all signs point to another Dr’s appointment.

So there I am, alone (husband overseas), pneumonia and my two beautiful, rambunctious kids, and no rest in sight. Daunted, like Mum’s all around the world, I just have to get up and get on with it… I did well for a while, breakfast, kitchen clean, all dressed, me showered and dressed.

All up until 10:15 as I was leaving for one more appointment – I said to the kids, take a toy each, because we won’t be able to play with the toys at the doctors. I mean, what if she’s got something horrific and infects the other kids? So I think they’re getting their toys while I go to the bathroom.

My daughter calls out – come here, you’ve got to see this Mum… out I come and my 2.5 yr old son has lovingly covered himself, and our red leather chair head to toe in hand cream (oh, and the carpet). He works fast, I couldn’t have been gone more than 4 mins. ‘I’ve got cream mummy!’ It doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough to tip me over the edge. I burst into tears as I clean it up. Big, embarrassing heaving sobs. I kind of know I’m being pathetic, feeling super sorry for myself and should get it together. But the truth is— I do feel a bit sorry for myself!

We finally get into the car – 15 mins late for the appointment. Daughter says -- Mum, I left my book and toys in the house. ‘It’s too late now!’ I snap – ‘we’re running late and there’s no time to go back’.

So off we go, first to my physio appointment. And here’s me – super Mum (NOT!), ‘You kids, sit on the floor in the corner. Play with your bubble wrap. And here’s a mandarin each’. Poor little mites. Sitting on the floor, playing with their bubble wrap! It was too pathetic for words.

Yesterday – part 2. Rescued!

I survive the appointment. I lie there and get pounded (part of the treatment for pneumonia is to be hit repeatedly on the back to break the gunk up – I’m familiar with it, Mum used to lie me over the ironing board to do the same when I was younger battling recurrent bronchitis). I praise the mites (who are beautiful really, and so well behaved, peeling their mandarins onto their bubble wrap!). We get to the doctors for my daughter, (a random virus, keep her at home, but nothing to be too stressed about), home, lunch, son in bed. I’m coping, I’m coping!

Oh. Oh. That was too much. Suddenly overwhelmed, just can’t get enough air, and have to lie down. I can’t do it. I just can’t. Daughter wants to chat. I can’t talk. I lie very, very still. Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Finally, I can breathe. I call my husband in Singapore, tell him what’s happened. Ask him to call my Aunt and Uncle. At least now we know, the house is not full of something weird and contagious.

First time I’ve ever asked them for help, but they come and are great. I sleep. Sleep Sleep.

Yesterday – part 3. The rescue continues.

My cousin, with her three lovely children arrive – and delightful chaos ensues, as she manages to feed 5 children (and me – with dessert!), and bathe a few more. My Mum arrives, having driven 4 hours to get here too.

I lay here in my room listening to the buzz of activity and thinking how different it felt from this morning – when I felt so alone, desperate and isolated. This is how life is supposed to be. Integrated, connected.

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