(NB: I wrote this yesterday morning…)
We’re still here. It’s been 9 days. We have hit saturation point. Tommy screams if the nurses so much as approach him with a sticky anaesthetic patch, he sucks his thumb from morning to night and barely talks to anyone. He just wants the telly on which shuts him off even more. His major fear is having another blood test but to be allowed to go home the doctors need to check that the infection marker has gone back down, which means, yes, another blood test. His antibiotics are administered via a drip into a little sonde inserted in the back of his hand. The sonde stays there all day, they just hook him up when it’s time for the antibiotics, but he screams each time and says it really hurts. He yells his head off and everyone else in the room just wants to run. The nurses get stressed, I get stressed, Tommy is definitely very stressed. So they might have to put a new sonde in which means sticking yet another needle in. He is grumpy and ungrateful and I understand why he’s in such a foul mood but it doesn’t make it any easier for me. My eyes sting from the air-conditioning, my skin feels dry, I am absolutely exhausted from 19 months of non-sleeping baby and now the broken nights here. I have the eyes of a 75 year old. The summer is half gone and so far it has been utter shite. Give me rain but healthy kids anyday.
Yesterday when Tommy fell asleep after lunch I drove off to the neighbouring town, Vals-les-Bains, known for its thermal cures and healing water. Not that I can afford to go and bathe in their magical waters. Instead I went to the swimming pool, recommended by one of the nurses for its beautiful setting and 50m of length. It was just what I needed.
I swam up and down up and down up and down and when I got bored I got out and read my book* and when I got too hot I went back to swimming up and down up and down up and down. Mindless swimming, perfect. I did that for a couple of hours and then drove back to the hospital feeling slightly cheerier.
Sitting with Tommy in his bed playing cards I realised the backs of my legs were all prickly. Strange. And my back also felt odd. My bottom too. Ah. A fine case of sunburn. I wonder at what age my brain will actually register the fact that water doesn’t protect skin from the sun’s rays. I make this mistake pretty much every year. So now I have a sharply defined white triangle on my bottom and even the tangled strings of my bikini drawn on my back. And it’s not very comfortable sitting down. Which isn’t great when you’re in a hospital all day with your little boy. The doctor will be round soon, I think it’s the one I don’t like, the one who talks to me like I’m a piece of of balsa wood. Extremely condescending and highly superior. Well, I feel like a fight today so he’s welcome to come and visit us. It will relieve the boredom of being here and I can lash all my sunburnt fury at him. I just hope they’ll let Tommy go home tomorrow.
(I just read this back and realised that for the parents of children who are hospitalised for much more serious ailments and much longer stretches of time, this may well seem quite trivial. And they are right, it is quite trivial – Tommy has nothing seriously wrong with him, he’ll be fine in a week or two, and one spoiled summer is nothing compared to a life of illness. I’m just feeling selfishly pissed off and over-tired, and having a blog means I can write it all down and feel marginally better.)
* “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett – ’tis FAB.