Him: (Says cheerily) “Hello. What can I do for you?”
Me: “Hi. Well, I’ve got this lump that I’d like you to take a look at” (show’s him the lump)
Him: (Looks at lump. Frowns. Gives it a bit of a prod and a squeeze) “Hmmm….I’m not sure what it is”
Me: “Oh” (slumps in chair and looks a bit disgruntled at the ‘not sure’ remark)
Him: “How long have you had it?”
Me: (looks a tad sheepish) “Well, I’ve had it for quite a while and just ignored it, hoping it’d go away…but it’s got bigger and more painful recently”
Him: (undoubtedly mentally rolling his eyes in his head at the ignoring lumps comment and thinking ‘idiot’) “Well, erm…it’s probably a cyst or maybe a ganglion”
Me: “Probably or definitely?” (Raises right eyebrow and gives him one of ‘those looks’ that says “I’m not leaving here with a ‘probably’, Mister!”)
Him: (taps on keyboard, scratches head, then has a Eureka moment) “Yes, see, it’s a ganglion (prints off a medical sheet and hands it to me) “I’ll make a referral to have it surgically removed, if you like?”.
Me: (flinches at the word ‘surgically’) “Erm”
So then he talks to me about options and risks and whatnot and I politely decline any invasive medical intervention for now – thoughts flash through my mind about how I’d look after Hannah or, worse case scenario, who else would/could if I was out of action for any length of time. We then discuss the alternative ‘traditional cure’ of hitting it hard with the family Bible…but then both agreed that wouldn’t be prudent…for my lump…or our Bible!
So I said my adieus, clutching my sheet of ganglion paper, promising weakly to come back if there were any changes, oozing or bleeding (great!) and then my lump and I skipped out of the door of the trainee GP’s room. I’ll tell you what, that young man was FAR too good looking to be a doctor…and, consequently, I won’t be discussing MY peri-menopause with HIM any time soon, that’s for sure!
A couple of days later you find me in bed, looking ‘pale and uninteresting’ (an old term of endearment my mums GP friend often used to describe my pallor), intermittently sweating like a pig (do pigs really sweat that much?) and shivering and feeling very, very sorry for myself.
“I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the doctors. I’ve picked this up sat in that waiting room” I feebly barked at Hannah’s daddy as he plonked a cup of tea on my bedside table. Which telepathically REALLY meant was “I blame YOU for this. If you hadn’t pestered me to get that lump checked out, I wouldn’t have been crammed into that sitting area, inhaling other people’s germs…IT’S. ALL. YOUR. FAULT. Thanks a bunch!”
But I didn’t say that.
Because, clearly, it wasn’t his fault at all. He was entirely right to pester me. I am a fool. I am a self-confessed (former, now) lump ignorer *flails self for being a complete idiot*.
So, for 3 days, I was a useless, limp lump of viral infection….with an extra lump. In fact, I’m still simmering with bugs *sigh* My immune system had had enough of me running around spinning plates, thinking I was Superwoman and decided to stop me in my tracks. Which it did, rather successfully. Banished to my bed for fear of contaminating the whole of Broccoli HQ…but most importantly, for fear of giving Hannah ‘the lurgy’, Hannah’s daddy held the fort as best he could. And whilst Hannah enjoyed the attention of someone else, I huddled under the duvet in my fevered state, ‘paracetamol-led’ up to the eyeballs, intermittently and with disinterest flicking through the TV channels and the web.
I was bored out of my skull and feeling impatient; I had things to do and a child to look after, I couldn’t be wasting time, festering in bed! This was rubbish.
Oh, hang on, a re-run of The Real Housewives is on. I’ll have a look at that. Several minutes later I was tempted (if I’d had the energy!) to forcefully chuck my hot water bottle, jar of vicks vaporub and half a bottle of Lucozade at the screen.
“I do everything for everyone else. It’s time I did something for myself” she said, following the offer of a trip to Vegas with her friends. This is after watching her playing tennis (almost semi–naked *tuts*), going out with friends, lunching, shopping (for fun, FUN!!!…not for toilet paper or washing up liquid!), seemingly just schlepping around without a care in the world. This woman’s’ done more for ‘herself’ in one episode than I’ve done for ‘myself’ since Hannah was born. Grrr!.
Oh and THEN she’s in Hawaii. Just for a little break…BREAK!!!…because she ‘needs it’…Awh, bless. “It’s SO hard” she says, whilst cavorting in the sea in her teensy bikini. “I have so many responsibilities” she says – as if it’s all just so torturous. This is after the camera has panned to her two nannies. TWO! And her house manager. A MANAGER TO MANAGE HER HOUSES. HOUSES! PLURAL!
And then we see one of the other mommies, buying thousands of dollars’ worth of jewellery for her daughter’s birthday present. Lovely!…except the child is four years old. FOUR! Now, if I’d have bought Hannah any jewellery (even plastic stuff) at that age (or her current age), it’d have been snapped immediately and then swallowed. FACT!
Dear God above. I know a few people who’d kill for this kind of lifestyle, but I truly am SO thankful that I don’t live that kind of life (see footnote)…or have those attitudes*shudders* – although, probably like most Special Parents, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a cleaner, an occasional baby sitter/some respite or having the opportunity of flying a physician in on a personal jet…rather than sitting in a grotty waiting room…OR having to change my child’s nappy on the floor of a fetid public toilet.
What another world we live in, eh?
If you’re new to us “Hello!” *waves enthusiastically*. The star of this blog is Hannah, my daughter, who has a rare genetic syndrome which pretty much affects most aspects of her life. We don’t have ‘help’ or, let’s be honest here, any substantial support system outside of the support we pay for. So, basically, Hannah’s reliant on me and/or her daddy for everything. Which is a little bit (OK, a LOT) scary sometimes.
I won’t harp on about statistics, however, even though I write some pretty daft posts, I like to throw some serious stuff in, now and again, you know, just to help get the message across that our life IS actually pretty tough sometimes. There’s lots of findings out there that suggest caring for a disabled child, young person or adult can have a significant impact on carers’ emotional and physical wellbeing. In 2012, 8 National charities surveyed nearly 3,400 carers. The findings were staggering. 83% of carers said caring had a negative effect on their physical health and 87% on their emotional health. 39% put off medical treatment because of their caring responsibilities. (Internet Source: In sickness and in health, Carers UK) I can pretty much relate as, I suspect, can many other Special Parents.
So, what happens if/when parent carers become unwell – either physically or emotionally? Well, it’s probably up to the other parent carer to pick up the pieces – like Hannah’s daddy did. Or, perhaps, other family members – like grandparents. Employment may be affected…ergo, loss of earnings or, if long term, possible loss of jobs and then subsequently a very limited income and the spiral into debt…and it’s a well-known fact that it’s FAR more expensive to care for a disabled child. There’s no emergency number or appropriate service that’ll provide the support Special Families really require in an emergency. Sure, some Local Authorities or charities may be able to provide a little bit of help, but, clearly, it’s not enough. Not by any means. The proof is undoubtedly in the statistics!
Our life, like many others, is a great big spinning plates affair (see picture) – far more so than an average parent…and it’s challenging sometimes too. Occasionally, people will (very kindly) point out to me that I ‘must look after myself’. Which I try to do. However, my rapid riposte (albeit tongue in cheek) at the suggestion of them having Hannah for a couple of weeks whilst I have a rest, has them recoil like a freshly salted slug.
The support just isn’t there. Anywhere. *gets violins out*
So what’s the point of this post (i.e. my ramblings)? Erm…let me think…
Well, aside from having a grump in my (still) mildly infected state, I suppose it’s a message for my lovely Special parents NOT to ignore lumps or any other illness. Our kids need us. We need to get checked out every now and again. Look after ourselves *groans* – yeah, I know. If you’re lucky enough to have a support system, occasional duvet days are OK…and sometimes rather necessary. We need to recharge. Constantly spinning those numerous plates is tricky and sometimes, just sometimes, WE need to come first; to pace ourselves (maybe a little better than I’ve done recently)
…and maybe give a big thumbs up to Hannah’s daddy for looking after Hannah…even though he did put her knickers on a bit ‘skew-whiff’ (bless). Oh, and I don’t recommend throwing a hot water bottle at the TV. Water and electrics don’t mix! Just sayin’.
So, again, that’s all for now my lovelies.
Apologies for the ramblings. I blame my virus!
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time
Footnote thing: No, if I had that wealth, you’d find me in a field, in Cornwall (Derek, DEREK, she’s going to go on about Cornwall again….get the sherry out of the top cupboard – it’s going to be another long one!), in my flip flops, running around after my alpacas or tending to my organic garden or ensuring my Special families were enjoying their holiday of a lifetime with me. Now THAT, for me, would be a perfect, perfect life.
(Btw, Derek, no need to get the sherry out…I won’t go on about Cornwall…for now *wink*)
This post is dedicated to all the slugs I salted (in the past). Really, really, sorry guys. Really!