Poorly all over

Day number 3, here in Aubenas hospital in the Ardèche. Léonie is four weeks old today and is lying tummy down across my thighs as I jiggle her back and forth to stop her crying and sooth her to sleep. It is a new technique I have just accidentally invented, having tried breastfeeding, rocking, jigging up and down the corridor, singing, rubbing tummy clockwise, reading the Guardian out loud and playing her Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits, all to no avail (although she was quite interested in the cryptic crossword). This new technique, a side to side wobbling of the entire lower half of my body while sitting legs stretched out on the bed, not only seems to be working but has the additional benefit of exercising my bottom. But I do feel a bit like a seal, slappily making its way up the beach. I probably look like one too.

Léonie’s drip stopped dripping this evening and so they had to re-stab her in the hand to put a new little tube in her vein. The antibiotics are administered that way and she still has two or three days to go. She screamed so much her nose filled up (aside from the mystery infection she also has a cold) so I had to carry out a snot-removal operation with our Super Snot-Sucker, which of course made her roar with fury. Then her tummy started painfully gurgling, grumbling and gargoyling as her intestins struggled to digest my milk. She burped and farted like a rugbyman but it wasn’t enough to relieve her and her crying moved up a few notches on the Richter scale. Add to this the fact that her bottom is red raw, no doubt thanks to the antibiotics messing up her intestinal flora and making everything too acid, and I think I can say my little girl really is in the wars.

They think it’s a urinary tract infection. They’re keeping us in until Thursday at the earliest. But Léonie is starting to cough so I imagine that will deteriorate into full-blown bronchiolitis, followed by measles, mumps, chickenpox, swine flu, gastroenteritis, asthma, Trinidad Bongo disease, peanut allergy, a broken arm and ingrown toenails, which will mean we’ll only just get out of hospital in time for her to do her Master’s degree. On the upside, she could study medecine, as by then she will be an expert.


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