He is where he needs to be

Oscar spiked a temperature yesterday which was kind of weird. Then he wandered lonely as a cloud around the house crying and wailing which was kind of really annoying. I pointed out to my other 99 children that here was a case study on how NOT to garner maternal love, care and affection.

Then he slept for 15 hours which made the alarm bells clang and me berate myself for having such a cold dead heart. Didn’t stop me from harassing him to actually get up, have a shower and ‘you’ll feel so much better’ him.

He kept saying, ‘no hospital’ which I kept putting into the category of “annoying melodramatic manchild behaviour”. Also, file under: Cold Dead Heart.

And then he pointed to his foot and said, ‘ow.’

Remember the last time he pointed to his foot and said ‘ow’? Yeah. That.

So here we are, back at Mona Vale Hospital which I did nickname the Hospital of Hotness after seeing two spunky emergency registrars (hello Mr AmeriCanadian and Mr Scotland) and a rather easy-on-the-eye radiologist. Small mercies, looking for the positive wherever you kind find it and all that.

Cellulitis in the same leg, the same spot, the same same same.

You tell yourself this is where he needs to be.

You think of Eden in Niger and Nat Bass in Ethiopia and thank all the powers that be that the worst you endure are stupid people in Emergency Department waiting rooms with minor ailments that simply require ice, some panadol and a good lie down.

But it doesn’t help.

You know the antibiotics will kick in, that yes, you’ll be in hospital for probably-somewhere-around-at-least- five-days but really, it’s so small fry compared to the Mighty Tiff and Brave Ivy and what so many others contend with each and every day.

But the reality is trying to work out who’ll look after your other kids and ‘oh my God all those clothes I’ve dumped in the little boys room that still need to be sorted’ and ‘how the hell am I going to do my first shift at the kindergarten tomorrow’ and ‘holy crap there’s nothing in the house for the kids school lunches’ and all the rest.

You tell yourself this is where he needs to be.

The cannula goes in with barely a wail – a lot of wimpering and wriggling but no thrashing and wails to rival the hounds at the gates of hell.

The ortho registrar comes around – another ridiculously good looking medical professional. A bit short and I’m not happy with his shoes but having someone easy on the eye say to you, ‘this is very concerning,’ is a little bit helpful.

There’s talk of surgery to remove the hardware in his foot from the 2010 surgeries. (Read about that adventure here, here, here, here, here and me having sex dreams on the floor of Oscar’s ward here, here and here.

There is plaster applied to the leg to immobilise it. The phrase “disintegration of the joint” is mentioned.

You tell yourself this is where he needs to be. And yet all you want to do is run. Grab him and run. It’ll be fine. We’ll deal with it. But you know this is where he needs to be.

You really need chocolate. And suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to cry. This catches me unaware and now, as I type this, I’m sobbing. In the crappy “Parents Dining Area”. I don’t sob in hospital. I save it up for when we get home and yell at everyone instead. It normally comes out in me mopping floors which you know, means that at least happens once a year.

But it’s too much. This kid. This manchild who drives me wild with all the questions and the contradictions of wanting to be a teenager but playing the disability card when he can’t be arsed to pull his own doona up over him when he gets into bed, of following me around like a shadow, of loitering at the boys’ house next door like a lost puppy, all of it. It’s too much. It’s so unfair.

I want to scream FUCK YOU God but I don’t even believe in him anymore so that’s pretty useless. It’s one thing for me as a parent to be dealt the card of a kid with a dodgy chromosome, but to make the child pay for it with needles and pain and doctors and surgeries and a body and brain that just don’t want to work together is just cruel.

But we will be fine. We will get through this. We will rise up from the fall down.

He is where he needs to be.


Most people just go and watch fireworks

The end of 2011 had us celebrating my MIL’s 70th at yum cha. It was particularly special as 2011 saw her face-off the big C. It scared the baby cheeses out of all of us so we can only imagine how she felt. She dealt with the news, the lumpectomy, the chemo, the radiography and everything that goes with all of that with such strength and honesty it was, quite frankly, inspirational.

But you know how us allconsuming types can’t stand anyone else being in the limelight so the night before had me and and Oscar saying hi to everyone at Mona Vale Hospital’s Emergency department, if by hello you mean Oscar violently spewing half digested SAOs, vegemite and butter into one of those spew bags with the annoyingly narrow openings.

Here’s a tip – want to bypass the full emergency waiting room? Violently vomit just as the triage nurse walks by. Gets you seen to toot sweet.

His headache, high temperature, occasional chuck and weird pain in his left groin left the doc baffled and off we went home because ‘sometimes you just have to let these things manifest to see what’s really going on’. Like ebola and stuff.

The next morning (MIL’s b’day) I had a hairdressing appointment at 9 and got Oscar into our GP at 9. So Chef was on Oscar duty (priorities people). By then ‘it’ had manifested into a red patch on his ankle which ‘could be cellulitis’ so blood tests were needed. Anyone experienced blood tests with a 13-year-old intellectually-disabled teenager who thinks a band-aid means your digit/limb is either about to fall off or death is imminent? Good times!

With Oscar dosed up on pain meds we all ventured to yum cha at Manly which involved me, on arrival, saying ‘does anyone else smell wee?’ It doesn’t get much classier than taking me out in public.

On trying to raise this delicate matter with the staff they all nodded immediately with a ‘ahh yes, the smell’. WHAT THE HELL – the restaurant KNOWS that corner smells like piss (right next to Manly Wharf Bar, need I say more? Probably.) but will sit the big group of skippys there in the hope we won’t notice it’s like sitting in a urinal for dumplings?

What followed was a whole fiasco to open the bi-fold doors which then created the effect of us all sitting in a wind tunnel (visual: yum cha dumpling wrappers flying off into the faces of those on the far side of the table as those on the other side picked one up off the lazy susan) and much mirth at this carnival of ludicrazy.

This is why I’m not allowed out.

Anyway the day progressed up to Chef’s parents place and in doing so Oscar’s ankle started it’s own celebration of going from a red patch to a swollen red patch to an ankle the size of three and the redness moving up his leg. All while waiting for the blood results but let’s be honest, none of us wanted to miss out on the rocky road I’d made, birthday cake or the Boxing Day Test Match.

Our GP – aka The Legend – rang at 4 saying he only had preliminary results but he was ‘deeply concerned’ and thought hospital was still on the cards for IV antibiotics. At 8 that night he sent me a text saying full results were in and hospital was now the only option.


This story’s getting quite long isn’t it.


Long story (already mostly told) now vastly abbreviated (because I’m getting bored) we were in hospital for five days with Oscar on IV antibiotics.

Five days of Chef’s 10 days off.

Four days later I was moving the guinea pig cage and did my back. By ‘did my back’ I mean completely incapacitated and in too much pain to even writhe .

But having been raised by my mother I felt bad for making a fuss and being of no use to anyone and even though the myriad drugs I was throwing into my mouth (which I kept updating Chef on for fear I fell into a Heath Ledgeresque coma and thus required emergency medical attention)  were doing NOTHING, still the thought going to the hospital for back pain that was so extreme I had to stand over the toilet and do man-wees because sitting was not-an-option just seemed silly and melodramatic.

Two days later we were trying to get me out to the car to go to the physio when it became – ironically for all – painfully obvious the physio would be able to do nothing and I really needed to go to hospital.

I have no idea what mum did when she raced into the emergency department but it saw two staff and a wheelchair come out to greet me (five star service! Arrange champagne and a turn down service stat!) AND straight in to a bed.

I tell you, this family is the valedictorian of bypassing waiting in emergency departments.

Two panadeine forte, an injection of an anti-inflammatory, a beautiful nurse called Felicity and a hot Canadian doctor later I could get up and sit.on.the.toilet for a wee.

It’s now a week later and I’m still lying in bed with a heat pack on my back and while I was down to just taking neurofen and panadol a night from hell with Grover had me taking some panadeine forte this morning as it was seizing right back up.

And that, people, is how you ring in a new year.