Tuesday 20 July 2010

Not the best week in the world

Why is it that things always go pear at precisely the worst possible time? It sometimes feels as if there’s someone up there thinking, way hay, she’s going to be on her own for a week so what can we throw at her?

Adrian was off to the US to check out the breweries of Vermont – by bus. Well it had seemed like a good idea at the time.
‘Hey, you’ll have a lovely peaceful week without me,’ he said at the breakfast table, clearly expecting a flurry of denial.
‘Good point,’ said James. Poor Adrian headed off with his rucksack, looking forlorn.

That evening James gave me a funny look (as in a very funny look).
‘James, stop pulling faces. You’ll get stuck.’
‘I can’t shut my eye,’ he said gurning like a gargoyle.
‘Oh for heaven’s sake.’ I packed him off to bed.

But the next morning he really did look decidedly uneven.

‘Um, I think we’ll just drop by the surgery,’ I said, trying not to sound alarmed.  If he hadn't been eleven, I'd have sworn it was Bell's palsy.
‘I think it's Bell’s palsy,’ said the GP.
‘But he’s only eleven.’
She agreed it was rare and had a chat with the hospital who said we’d better go in ‘to be on the safe side’.

Now that would be fine except, ahem, who was going to look after the soul puppy? My usual stalwarts were all away and of course, Adrian was by now going entirely the wrong way on the interstate out of Boston, so we took him with us.
‘Hey look, it’s gone foggy, isn’t that great? The pup will be fine in the car.’

We barrelled along in thick fog, praying there were no kamikaze sheep around.
‘Mum, he’s been sick,’ said James.
‘Okay, that’s okay,’ I said through gritted teeth. ‘I brought towels and baby wipes. Let’s get him sorted.’
We pulled in, wiped, sluiced and veered out back into the fog.
A mile down the road. ‘He’s been sick again.’

At that precise moment the mobile rang. Could we get to the hospital ASAP for a CT scan? Umm, yes, no problem. Providing, of course, the puppy stopped throwing up and we didn’t plunge headlong into a ditch.

‘Look on the bright side, Mum,’ said James, as the pup hurled up for the fourth time. ‘He wasn’t quite as sick as last time. He’s probably running out of stuff to sick up.’
‘Exactly! It could be much worse. Just think - he could have diarrhoea.’

We spent the next two days at the hospital, making mercy dashes to the car, praying it stayed overcast and gloomy.  The tests showed nothing nasty. It was, said the consultant with a rueful shrug, ‘just a virus probably.’
Would it get better?
‘In 80 percent of cases, yes.’

We didn’t talk about the other 20 percent. The temptation to descend into gloom tugged at me but two days at a children’s assessment centre puts everything into perspective. Watching children being wheeled to surgery or seeing parents hunched over babies lying still and stuffed full of tubes, really does make you grateful for small mercies.
‘Hey Mum, it could be worse,’ said James with a lop-sided smile.
‘Yes, my darling,’ I said hugging him tight. ‘It really could.’
'And the puppy has stopped throwing up too.'
We looked at one another.  'Uh oh.  Return journey coming up.'

But the pup was all spewed out.  So basically we’ve spent the last week curled up on the sofa – me, James, the Soul Puppy and even (on occasions) Asbo Jack. We’ve watched movies and eaten tortilla chips by the bucketload and generally slobbed. Work has had to go hang.

Poor Adrian has been in a frenzy, as you’d imagine – 3000 miles away and without a phone that worked (I did try to warn him). But yesterday he returned (laden with maple syrup, jelly beans and dodgy T-shirts) and James seems a little better. I meanwhile am totally shattered. 


rachel said...

An impressively calm account of a terrifying event. You must have gone through agonies in your head as you got James to hospital. Amazing how we cope - but doesn't it hit us later!

Fingers crossed that whatever James has been afflicted with will clear up quickly, and that looking back, the worst that happened was puppy sick.....

PippaD said...

Hugs! But as I always say the best stories always have a mention of sick and poop. :)

Lara said...

Goodness, it must have been scarey, you sound like you stayed very calm though

I hope your next week is peaceful to make up for it and that James recovers soon

Exmoorjane said...

Thank you!
Rachel: Yep, I was worried but very relieved when all the tests came clear.
Mummy: sick and poop - yeah, great!
GG: oh yes, I'm dreaming of a peaceful week... :)

Anonymous said...

I had a crap week too involving hospitals so totally sympathise, but it's true spending in hospitals really does make you think.
Hope things get better for you x

Bluestocking Mum said...

Crikey blimey m'dear - what a time you have had.

Dear James - there's nothing worse for the nerves than children being poorly - it's such a worry. I do hope he makes good progress and send him lots of love and best wishes.

And to you...you take good care of yourself.

Big hugs and deep breathing.

Exmoorjane said...

Sheena: oh no...hoping all okay with you, hon. xxx

BM: thanks my lovely...xxx

fairyhedgehog said...

I so feel for you.

Hospital visits with unknown and worrying conditions are the pits, and when it's your child it's double pits and you have to be brave and calm as well.

And I've never had to cope with that all on my own, let alone having a vomiting dog with me. Oh dear. Hugs.

Alison Cross said...

Hoping that your little darling recovers in double-quick time...

...and that your car upholstry is easily rinsed out :-)

Speaking as someone whose son sicked up down the seatbelt (into the seatbelt box), it can be a total bugger to get rid of. I opted to just live with the smell until I could, erm, hoover the bits out when it dried.

Sending you much love and hugs!

Posie said...

Oh Jane, what a horrendous week you've had, and captured so well in the blog. Puppy spewing, child needing hospital and partner on the other side of the globe, really felt for you. Glad all is turning out okay. Our family have just returned to Vermont, Happy Farmer's cousins live there...so we too have maple syrup, enjoy!x

Anonymous said...

Hi, I read your blog all the time but haven't left a message before. Just wanted to say, if it turns out to be Bell's Palsy, my daughter had the same at 11 and she made a full recovery, very quickly (within weeks). I haven't left my contact details here, but if you want to get in touch just leave a response here and I'll email you. What a nightmare week you had... x

Frances said...

Jane, it's good to know that your family is all back together again.

Hoping that James will be fine, and that you might actually find out really, truly what it was that got you all on route to that hospital.

Puppies do tend to get sick in cars. All the same, good that you all had that soul pupply on board to offer soulful support.

Have lots of pancakes to soak up that syrup. xo

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh, Jane... what a time. Can only imagine the panic going on internally. I hope that you have had a peaceful time since then, and that poor old James will return to full health ASAP. Thank god for baby wipes, eh. Bet the companies who make the buggers had no idea how useful they would be with vomit. Had to scoop some out of a shoe once... I blessed Johnson's wipes heartily at the time. Shoe never quite the same after that so threw it away. And it's partner. Shame.Lots of love. May this week bring only GOOD things!! xxxx

Exmoorjane said...

Oh you lovely people. Good news is that there seems to be a little bit of movement coming back to his mouth today..

Fairy: yup, the vomiting puppy (about four times its body weight in vomit) was not needed!

Ali: I am immune to the smell but James can't stand it! Our car was a wreck anyhow so no point in cleaning!

Rosie: Maple syrup is the BEST. Pancakes and syrup for breakfast this morning - yum.

Anonymous: thank you SO much for breaking radio silence to post that - really reassuring. Bless you.

Frances: not sure the puppy gave much support! But he is a joy (when he's not chewing my desk or ankles!)

LBW: aww, thank you. Yup, I could do with a good week. I reckon it's about time. :) (wish I had shares in baby wipes!)

Mrs Worthington said...

Hospitals make you put things all in perspective. My sister had Bells Palsy, I'm sure she was pregnant at the time. It is the most strangest of illnesses. Even though it was enforced chilling out and watching moveis it probably has done you good though even if you have been worried sick underneath. Hope all is OK

Erica said...

Oh god what a week! :( I thought you'd been a bit AWOL

English Mum said...

I can't believe I missed all this. You must have been frantic. Hope poor James is on the mend xx

Exmoorjane said...

Mrs W: confess the movie watching has been good for us....bit of bonding time...

Erica: yup, AWOL and pulling hair out!

EM: and, indeed, pretty frantic - though doing a great calm impersonation! I was proud of myself. :)

Expat mum said...

OMG, as they say over here. You're right though, the pup could've had the runs and there are much worse things at any children's hospital. Hope things get better all the same.

Rob-bear said...

So much yucky news! Horrid week indeed.

The good news — you all survived!

(Next time, leave the puppy with Jack.)

Simon Dawson said...

Living on Exmoor too, i know all about mad dashes to doctors/vets, etc, and you're right, they do always happen at THE WORST MOMENTS (usually for me about 2 in the morning when I've forgotten to put any fuel in the car).

Hope everyone's okay soon.

Sally Townsend said...

Absolutely nothing worse than your child being taken ill and having to cope alone, puts all the minor niggles into perspective. Love to you all. xx

and1moremeans5 said...

i hope he gets better soon, my friend had bells and she used acupuncture to improve hers and it worked, so that is always an option if it doesn't go xxxxxxxxx

Chris Stovell said...

Berlimey! You've been going through the wringer. I do hope James is coming out the other side - you must have been going round the bend, poor love. So horrid when something happens to the kids.

Read your previous post nodding - having made massive effort for conference (not that anyone would notice) now back to scruffs-an-grey-roots-r-us. Totally fed up with being an unofficial hotel, desperate to down-size but no one wants to buy, and much in need of a pampering session or something to recharge batteries.

Sorry, meant to commiserate rather than moan. Hope life gets easier there soon. Cx

Irene said...

I hope everything is better now and that James is back to his old self and the puppy too. I hope you get enough rest and caught up with everything. What a scare, but you certainly kept your cool.

Oh, I'm usually a lurker. Just thought I'd say something now.

Fennie said...

So glad all is well at the end. But it must have been a scary time.

Brown Dog said...

Oh god, Jane - these things always seem to happen at the worst possible time, but do hope he's all right now. Sounds as though you coped admirably and got all your priorities right (I'd probably have been jabbing away at my laptop spouting all sorts of nonsense while fervently pretending everything was just fine and dandy). Hope Adrian is now safely home, Boy is on the mend and all will be well with puppy.

60 going on 16 said...

Just got back from my hols and read your post. Ooh er, missus, what a rotten time you've had. Do hope James is recovering well (and you). Trust there will be no more emergency hospital runs but if you ever need to park the pup, don't forget that Barkington Towers is just down the road (can collect!)

Humdrum Mum said...

What a week, please keep us posted on James (and the dog) - like someone else commented, bet the enforced vegging did you good. -HMx

Ivy said...

OMG Jane what a horrid thing to happen! I wondered about your remarks on Facebook about being on the sofa with James and jelly babies (or whatever it was) but I thought you just had a cold! Hope the soul-puppy isn't traumatised and James will be better soon . Big hug. I know what you mean about those scary scenes in child assessment centres.Good James stayed so calm.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

What a week! Hope James is improving all the time. Sounds like you kept your head with remarkable cool too! it must be so good to have Adrian back and things on the mend. You deserve a holiday now!

kerry @ miss power writes... said...

So sorry to hear about this Jane - must have been a horrible experience for you.

Glad to hear he's on the mend and that the illness hasnt dampened his spirits too much


Unknown said...

Hope all is well now. I've had Bell's Palsy myself and know how freaky it can be. I fully recovered, though, and hope your little one does as well!

Stephanie said...

Hating to stick my 'long-distance nose' in your business, and I am not sure if Lyme disease has reached the UK shores or not. However I have heard that Bell's Palsey can be a symptom of Lyme's disease. We live on Long Island, south of Connecticut home to the origin of this disease apparently and the deer ticks here are full of it. My husband, me and our daughter have all had it with my husband just having been diagnosed about a month ago.

I just thought I'd mention it. A simple course of antibiotics is what is done for it. And I am not totally sure that the info I have on the relationship between Bell's palsey and Lyme's is correct but I just thought I'd mention it!

God's Best
Stephanie Lish

Exmoorjane said...

Thank you all so much for your kind wishes. James is MUCH better - his face is pretty much back to normal but he is still quite tired.
Stephanie - yes, we do have a lot of deer and ticks around here and the hospital tested for Lyme's...but so kind of you to comment and thank you for pointing it out - not everyone is aware of this disease at all. And you're absolutely right - it can be a cause of Bell's....

spudballoo said...

Oh goodness, what a week....you sound amazingly calm and together. But then that's what us Mums have to be (insider we're screaming and wishing someone else could come along and rescue us). Hope he's continued to improve! x

Exmoorjane said...

Just read this again after all this time and, y'know, Stephanie was right. Turned it it WAS caused by Lyme Disease, even though we didn't know he'd been bitten and there was never any sign of a tick or rash. He ended up having mega course of antibiotics...