#443 Beautiful things at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Baby girl was only little when we learnt of her hip dysplasia. Her left leg socket wasn’t fitting snugly around her thigh bone, creating the possibility of the bone slipping out, and not forming properly, and in turn hampering her future prospects of walking normally.

Or something to that effect. It’s not that an uncommon thing, as I soon learnt, though at the time I was absolutely distraught. My baby girl had to wear a leg brace from the early age of 8 weeks, for nearly 5 months, with the upside being that she was able to spend the second half of that time wearing it only at night, allowing her the possibility of movement during the day.

This of course pushed back her rolling/crawling/walking milestones. I was still impressed however when she took her first steps at 16 months – that was her willpower to move about and cover as much ground as she could. My trooper girl.

All is good now. She stopped with the brace when x-rays showed the socket wrapping around the bone, securing it more tightly, and follow up x-rays over the years showed further positive progress in that area.

Which is why we were at the Royal Children’s Hospital today. These doctors have a predisposition for cautiousness and check-ups.

I was so pleased to see the halls, walls and rooms in a new light this time when we walked in, about 2 years after our last appointment. The lift interiors had brightly-coloured drawings covering from top to bottom, and on the ground floor there was a windy climbing pipe contraption, with a huge mechanical butterfly upon the top with its wings slowly opening and closing every so often.

In the orthopaedic section there was a craft table set up for the kids, where they could colour in, paste scraps of material on paper, and create some special artwork to take home. Volunteers oversaw this area, helping out the kids where needed, and nearby there was a playmat with building blocks and cars to push around.

Soon, there was a “choo choo” sound, and whether coincidence or not, an odd-looking clown then wandered by to entertain/make fun of the kids. He blew up bubble-type balloons, called children “Nanna” and “Adidas” (“because that’s what’s on your top”), but most importantly, he made them laugh and smile.

He made them forget they were in a hospital. All of these things made the children forget, if only for a bit.

And isn’t that a precious thing… while we wait for a world where children never fall sick, in the meantime let’s make the world a little happier, a little more fun, a little brighter for the ones who do need to visit a doctor for whatever reason…

… and I’m so happy to see an institution like the RCH, doing just that. It makes me proud to be a human.

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And, baby girl is doing well 🙂

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#321 Freedom from hospital

I walked in and out of hospital a lot today.

Re-park the car. Get some coffee. Get some food. Make a phone call. Re-park the car.

Repeat repeat repeat.

And in that time, I saw, A LOT. People getting wheeled in on beds, masks over their faces. Wheelchair-bound patients, angry looks on their faces. Elderly people sitting side by side, hunched over in their solitary hospital room. The sound of pain. The look of helplessness. Tiredness. Despondent eyes. Clinical walls and grey grey grey, EVERYWHERE.

My lips did turn upwards too, though. I remembered with weird fondness, as I looked up to the familiar flight of stairs, how over 3 and a half years ago I was in the midst of such pain, only to be met by the most amazing, beautiful and curious eyes in the world, in the immediate aftermath.

I saw babies. I saw mother’s and father’s carrying their own. I looked at little children, the adult hands they were holding, and a part of me was happy.

Despite my thoughts, I was still happy to be able to move in and out of the hospital as I pleased, to not be bound by ill health or medical necessity to require a stay, no matter how short or long, there. And it was twice as nice when I walked out late afternoon, with both Mum, AND Dad beside me.

He was discharged today. An unexpected happiness that we are so happy about.

I know there is a tremendous amount of positivity and amazing acts performed by the medical staff in hospitals all over the world, but seriously, I’m just glad that I was able to leave the premises today. With both my parents.

#198 People to look after me

I am sickly, so this will be short.

But put simply, I am grateful I have people to look after me when I’m unwell. I’ve caught some kind of virus, via/Hubbie/baby girl, with them catching it via God knows who, and this virus which has waited until the sweet end of its reign to make its mark on me, leaves you feeling like, well… absolute shit.

I am cramping in my abdomen and lower back. Nausea surrounds me constantly, and dry-wretching leads to nothing. I am so weak, from lack of sleep due to aches and pains, and also the fact that I have barely eaten anything because I cannot stomach it.

However, today I had my Hubbie tending to me. My MIL had baby girl for the first part (worst part) of the day as we headed to the doctors to discuss, What The Hell? (Apparently there’s a bug going around, Melburnians beware).

Baby girl paraded me with kisses when she woke from her nap and has made sure to envelope me with affection as much as humanly possible.

So, I feel like shit, but I also have love.

People that give a damn.

And that’s pretty un-shit worthy if you ask me.

#151 Home Doctor

It’s hard enough working on a Sunday, albeit an icy cold FREEZING one, without having the difficulty of then finishing work and receiving a phone call from Hubbie saying baby girl won’t stop crying.

5 minutes later, another phone call: she still won’t stop crying.

What do you do? You still have to drive all the way home. I couldn’t teleport myself, though the invention of one would be greatly appreciated by many, not just me.

At home, not even my hugs and kisses could settle her. I could tell she was upset, and as she pointed to her runny nose and right ear, I was concerned she had some kind of infection.

We called the Nurse-on-call who suggested we either try to get her to take some pain relief (good luck to us, baby girl hates it) or see a doctor within 12 hours. So we did both.

After organising an at-home doctor visit, we unfortunately, had to force the syrup down her throat. Not a 5-star parent moment. It was all tough love, tears and tantrums, but despite the horror of it all, once it was down, she actually gave us high fives for having endured it. That girl still loved us, I was chuffed.

When the doc came over the pain relief had already kicked in. She was dancing, beating her drum, singing out loud, playing with her toys. I felt bad, explaining to the bearded man that she had actually been very bad up until recently.

Luckily he believed us. He checked her out, said she had no ear infection, and just that her cold was making her ear passage inflamed or expanded or something like that, which is where the pain was coming from. Pain relief would help.

He had been checking her out slowly as she hid behind me on the couch. Even I was looking up at him as this tall figure loomed above us: he was huge, quite intimidating for a doctor. As Hubbie said later, even HE was scared of him. He had checked her chest and back, got her temperature, and felt her tummy. She had started to loosen up. He had then proceeded to shine a light in both ears and even got her to do “ahh!” so he could look inside her mouth. She had been scared, but now she was a star pupil.

And then the clincher. After he told us what he thought, his simple diagnosis of cold-causing-ear-ache, he got her hand and took out a pen. Baby girl watched in careful fascination as he drew this:

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It was a little gesture, and yet it meant the world to her. After doing one hand she looked at it in awe and then pointed to her other hand. He was to draw a flower on that one too 🙂 It was at this point I told baby girl that this man was a doctor, and that he had helped her (I had deliberately put off this info until she was settled). She high fived him and waved as he walked out of our house happily.

Appearances can be so deceiving. This man seemed a little scary to all of us, and yet he dealt with baby girl’s fears beautifully and even gained her trust, I think even her trust in ALL doctors. That’s a pretty big thing. She would have loved him even more if she had heard him tell us that we could give her any food she wanted, even junk food, to keep her energy up.

So to you home doc, cheers. You made our baby girl a little better tonight.

 

#142 A different candle

I’ve been posting a lot about my parents lately. It’s like some part of my subconscious knew.

The day started off with easy-going, relaxed vibes. I was making chicken soup, with plans to go to the local shopping centre with baby girl and put in a stack of $2 coins while she had the time of her life on those damn shopping centre rides.

But then Mum called. And hours later I was sitting with her and my sister at the docs.

Mum needs to have an operation. Everything is ok. WILL be ok. But in a space of a few hours, I feel like everything has changed. HAS changed.

Mum needs to take it easy. She needs to do less – both now, and after the op while she’s in recovery. Because of that, she and my Dad won’t be babysitting baby girl. There’ll be no more massive pots of food waiting for us. There won’t be last minute dashes to each other’s home while she helps me out. No, none of that.

Now big sis and I will be doing the running.

I am grateful that she is being treated for something that both can be treated, and that isn’t really serious, when you compare it to other things that ops are performed for.

But I also can’t help but think of how this affects me. She and Dad share the baby sitting duties with my MIL. If she can’t babysit, I can’t work. If I can’t work, we don’t have as much money coming in… and if we don’t have as much money coming in, how do we pay off a loan for our future house in our sea change destination?

Do I bid at the auction tomorrow?

Do we move at all?

Do we put this whole sea change of ours off indefinitely?

The questions and the indecision were making me go insane. I had to do something to break the negativity when I got home. After a further 40 minute convo with big sis on the phone, I lit this:

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There was something metaphoric about this candle shining in the dark. I was spellbound. It usually stands behind the TV, pushed far behind it from the days where baby girl’s curious hands would get into too many things. It still remains there, forgotten, pushed out of sight. Tonight I brought it forward.

And then I had my soup. I don’t know what tomorrow, the next 2 months, and the next who-knows-what will bring, but I think I’m grateful… for the change of that candle.

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#102 10 minutes of Sauna time

Today we ended up at the resort pool. My sister, being the awesome sister that she is – not just for the fact that she is, quite simply, the best in the world, but also this fact made more so by the supporting evidence of her forthcoming words – said to me “why don’t you go into the sauna for a bit, I’ll have fun with baby girl in the pool. I want you to really relax.”

Ahem.

“I want you to really relax.”

I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me. I mean, yes Hubbie has, when I’ve been in a state of anxiety, or panic, or anger, emotions spilling out of me in a crazy unbridled manner. The doctor has told me that, only for an uncomfortable situation to follow which made me definitely NOT relax. I reckon my parents have said it too, when I’ve been upset by something. And most definitely in a yoga class, or when I’ve been lucky enough to have a massage, I’ve been told to ease up.

But for someone to care so much about me relaxing, that they would have to babysit baby girl for me while I snuck away?

(Like I said, best sister ever).

I went into the sauna, and sat so I could still see everything just in case I was needed. Baby girl was in the water – she couldn’t care less if I was there or not, as long as her Aunty was there to spin her around and sing and splash with her.

First I sat down on the lower bench, observing the wooden planks all around me. Then I decided I wanted a greater view, and went up on the upper bench, now watching the pool outside from a fly-on-the-wall’s perspective. My sister mentioned something to Hubbie who had wandered by, and he poked his head in to say “your sister says to lie down, it’s better.”

Well fuck me then. I will lie down. I won’t argue either.

As I lay there on the warm wood, breathing in the heat, water dripping from my swimwear, watching the world outside the sauna from a diagonal perspective, I felt my head getting heavy. It was bearable, but there was definite pressure building. At the same time I could feel my body sinking…

my eyes dazing off…

my breath slowing…

and my thoughts drifting…

Isn’t it always the sauna where some maniac will lock the doors on the unsuspecting person inside, cranking the heat up?

No, that’s the steam room, I assured myself.

Yet it was enough to stir me from my impending slumber. Damn over-dramatic writer’s head.

However those 10 minutes or so, I was super-grateful for. They were enough. I really did relax in that short a time, and even though I could’ve easily fallen asleep in there, I didn’t want to take advantage of my sisters generosity.

She had given me a long piece of string… I didn’t want to grab the rope it came from as well, along with the wheel it was wrapped around. I was happy. And I come to the conclusion that not only do I want a pool in our next house, but a sauna is completely necessary too. Just with no outdoor locking mechanisms.

#86 My chick doctor

I went to my ‘chick’ doctor today, to get some things clarified, and also hoping for some peace of mind.

Women, you know what I mean. For those of you who have a male GP, most of you will feel it necessary to also have a female doctor, for you know, female things.

Hence the chick doctor.

I was a little unsure/worried about some stuff. So when I asked my chick doctor today, and she said with a blasé expression on her face “I’m really not excited by that,” I can’t tell you how happy I was.

I was grateful for her confidence and assuredness in the situation. But I was also made so much more grateful for the nothingness of it all, when hours later I discovered a former work colleague had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a year ago.

In fact, I was pretty fucking devastated.

I don’t like this cancer shit. It’s really scary. Because of the prevalence of it, striking every Tom, Dick and Nancy, I feel like life is one big mine-field, and you just don’t know if the next place you step will be the cancer bomb – it may get your foot, your head, your skin… hey if you step on a nasty one it will fuck you up all over. Some may get out of the minefield alright, if they haven’t stepped on a bad one. Others will not be so lucky.

I had these troubling thoughts going through my mind as I went to my chick doctor today. I don’t know, but since having some heavy stuff happen a few years back, I feel more fearful. I’m still that glass half-full gal, but I’m realistic. I’ve changed. I’m still hopeful, but I’m scared too.

To hear my chick doctor say she wasn’t excited, was music to my ears. I’m grateful to her, not just for today, but for being a great doctor.

I hope she’s right.

As for my friend, she’s doing ok. She’s amazing. I hate to reference gratefulness in the wake of someone else’s pain, but it’s times like this when you can’t help but be thankful for your chick doctor’s lack of excitement.