I need to try and get up shortly, make myself look almost human, but hop in for a minute, let’s have a chat *pats duvet in inviting manner and moves over*. Oh sorry *gathers mountain of tissues (ew!)…and sinus spray…and third of a tub of vicks menthol rub/packet of paracetamol. Then throws tepid hot water bottle on floor, just missing empty bottle of lucozade*.
This has been my ‘sanctuary’ for the best part of a week. My bed. My sick bed actually *coughs deeply in rattly, chesty manner*
God, I’ve been poorly!
In fact, it was probably when Hannah was quite tiny – the year I came down with two different strains of flu in less than 3 months – since I’ve felt so rotten.
So bad, in fact, that my body sent me a very clear message that I had to stop. Stop looking after Hannah. Stop moving. Stop…well…everything. Apart from breathing, obvs!
It was on the cards that I’d get it. My mum, who possessed a sharp wit and was rarely crude, would probably have said I’d been “running around like a blue arsed fly” for far too long (do blue arsed fly’s actually run around?) and seemingly life needed to give me a bit of a wake up call. A bit of a kick up the derriere (again) to remind me I’m not invincible.
I just couldn’t keep running around like I had and not suffer the consequences.
Hannah’s expertise for coughing and sneezing RIGHT IN MY FACE the previous week had been exemplary. If there was an Olympic medal for such a skill, then she’d have been awarded Gold, every time!
My child; my generous little harbourer of ALL things germy, had kindly incubated this bug-thing and then passed it onto me, seemingly with quadruple the strength. And whilst she’d bounced back from it within days, this thing well and truly floored me. So much so, that I couldn’t move for fear I’d pass out. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and I certainly couldn’t endure any more re-runs of Escape To The Country from 2009! All I could do was just lie down, head swimming and ache and sweat and shiver and cough…and feel very, very sorry for myself…and guilty that I literally couldn’t do anything.
Normal service had well and truly ceased at Broccoli HQ.
…and Hannah’s daddy had to pick up all the pieces – feeding child, bathing child, dressing child, lifting and carrying child, playing with and placating child, taking her to appointments, liaising with people, collecting child, getting up in the night, cooking, ironing, cleaning, shopping…whilst also bringing in a wage….plus ensuring eyes were firmly in the back of his head so that said small person didn’t hurt herself, kept all her limbs intact and exactly where they should be.
Trust me, that’s no easy feat!
I was pale and weak and looked like I was going to pop my clogs anytime soon and he was so worried he suggested I see the doctor. But that would’ve been entirely worthless:
(a) Because, if I had actually managed to schmooze the receptionists, I still wouldn’t have got an appointment until May 2019, probably.
I’d have had more chance of seeing a Unicorn trot past Broccoli HQ!
(b) If I’d had the strength to get up and out, I’d have been stuck in a clammy and oppressive waiting room for at least an hour, trying not to keel over, infecting everyone and, in turn, breathing in their germs too. Ugh, no thanks!
(c) Given it was viral, I’d have undoubtedly been advised that I’d be better by Spring (great!), to take paracetamol and rest…and return if I got any worse.
Now, this isn’t, by any means, a dig at organisations like our dying NHS, or at our (pretty much) non-existent social ‘care’ (more like ‘don’t care’) system.
But who actually cares for the carers?
Well, if you’re lucky to have a network of friends and family who know your child’s needs, who can come to your rescue, then they’ll probably help out for a while. However, there’s only so much people can or are willing to do.
But if, like us, you’ve no-one, then you’re on your own. Literally.
There’s no organisation out there to contact. No cavalry to pick up the pieces. No-one.
…and that can feel even more isolating as a parent of a child with additional needs…and increasingly scarier for the future.
So we try and carry on as best we can.
…but this time I couldn’t.
Now, I’m no Snowflake…
I’ve carried on through unbelievable pelvic and lower back pain.
Through scans and treatment – chewing blow-your-head-off painkillers like they were going out of fashion, just to get me through the day.
I’ve carried on through two bereavements. Even on the day my mum died, my grief bore no significance/went on the back burner as I had to go and collect Hannah from her holiday play scheme, because she’d vomited. No-one helped. No-one came to my aid.
I’ve carried on through numerous bugs and viruses. Through stitches (we won’t go there. You’re welcome) and overwhelming exhaustion.
I’ve carried on through all manner of stuff. Because I’ve had to. Because a little person, so vulnerable, so dependent, needed me. Needed someone who knew her needs.
I’ve also had to refrain from flicking people between the eyebrows, when I hear them bleating on about just how difficult parenting is. Oh, boo hoo you! Trust me, if you don’t have a child with additional needs, if you have people around to help out/babysit occasionally, then you REALLY have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how hard parenting is.
GET. A. GRIP!
As I age, something will need to give. I can’t completely shield myself from catching things from Hannah (or anyone else) – I can’t walk around wearing goggles and breathing apparatus (although I have given it a thought!).
But what I very clearly do need to do right now as part of my damage limitation strategy is STOP doing so much. My immune system really needs to recover. I need to STOP running around like a headless chicken. STOP trying to accommodate everyone for everything. Be a little bit more selfish. Let others ‘do’. Care less whilst still caring about the more important things in life.
My body told me I needed to stop, so I stopped – I didn’t have much choice. And now I’m feeling slightly livelier, now I need to get back on track and consistently pace myself.
…and/or win the lottery so I can buy some help in.
Oooh, I just saw that Unicorn again!
So, I guess I need to STOP now, my lovelies.
Thanks, as always for dropping by.
Until next time