It really has been a big week, in fact it has been a huge couple of weeks, for so many reasons. The eclectic nature of my work has sent me up and down the country, from Scotland to Bristol. The busyness of my household has left me absent from my sanity of the gym. Plus the medical inclination of my family has meant hospital appointments, MRI’s, and today – surgery.
But yesterday, yesterday was a glorious day filled with academic achievement. My eldest pair, who like all of their generation have had a clumsy approach to school life in recent years, filled me up to almost bursting with pride yesterday with their GCSE results. Not many would describe me as an on the ball parent. The speed of which I consume life is dizzying and often means I am neglectful as a mum. I didn’t hover over them as they revised, apart from the occasional night when I would demand it to be done, and they would both look at me, astonished, working out why I was trying to join in so late in the game. I don’t recall ever asking them to do their homework. They are simply grafters, filled with a driven desire to succeed.
(Although, despite outstanding academic achievements – neither can collect the items that are theirs on the stairs as they walk by….)
Yesterday, I blinked back tears most of the day, fighting the nasal flare that happens before water collects on my cheeks – but I drank in every second of happiness, of watching my kids, celebrate what they had done, – despite the challenge of Covid, the anxiety of Anorexia and having a mum often absent by work.
Today has started early, living in the north, with a medical team in the south meant I was back on my old friend, the M1, at sunrise. The older pair, forced again into adult roles of keeping the house and looking after the dogs.
We arrived, just after 9am, to Oxford, descending into hospital with suitcases ready for a holiday that isn’t coming. The wheelchair piled high with belongings, resembling a shopping spree in the middle aisle of Aldi. We arrived on the ward with all barr an inflatable dingy, and laid out on our respective sun-loungers – hers has buttons to make it fold, mine doubles as an uncomfortable couch in the day.
Our new aids glare at me from the side of the hospital bed where I type, crutches and wheels – transport from tomorrow.
I know how this goes, and I’m glad that I still feel emotional when I go through the processes of what today will look like. Because to become hardened to this would be sadder than out of date milk when you go to make a brew.
It starts with boredom, which quickly turns to hunger once the starvation rules kick in. For me, my temper is already like a tinder box, the slightest thing can spark me. As I write the next bedmate is eating an apple and every bite causes me to strike the keyboard harder.
Then it begins, at speed. The gown is put on, the cold cream applied, cellophane wraps my little ones hands, to numb the pain of the needle waiting to go in. The anesthetists come, and I sign forms which if read in full would scare the shit out of anyone for the minority what ifs.
Then we go.
Her in bed, me on foot.
To a room filled with hustle, medics, play assistants, nurses, kind eyes watching us over their masks.
Then to sleep, an artificial sleep, which as her eyes flutter shut threatens to squeeze my heart so tight it could stop beating.
I’ve seen it far too many times before.
It had got easier, but my menopausal manner means I am sure today, the hiccup of sobs won’t be far behind the moment the door quietly shushes behind me as I go one way and my child the other.
Then after an eternity of hours, she will be back, sleepy, groggy, all thoughts of food drained from her mind, and a new pain replacing the old.
Because we have been here before, and we know how it goes.
Then tomorrow will be better, and the next day the same.
Then so on and so on, because we are one of the lucky ones.
Give us three months and the limp will be a legacy memory, and the netball back in hand and real life resumed.
As I said, its been a big old week!