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Monday, 27 July 2009

It's nearly four o'clock and I've done f*** all!

This week I've booked The Girl into some nice kiddy kennels down the road where she can do all the stuff I'm too lazy/nasty/useless to do like potato prints and sloppy painting. 'Are you a bit nervous?' I said this morning as I hared around wiping, mopping and faffing. 'No' said The Girl. 'I just wish you'd hurry up.' (She's five). After I'd dropped her off with the kind of nice, sunny, cheerful carer I wish I could be occasionally, I had to go and get a set of keys cut, phone someone to redo our will (I'm leaving some money to Moorfields Eye Hospital after they saved my sight. Husband didn't look too pleased. 'How much?!' he asked. 'They saved my sight!' I snarled. 'And if I left it to you - you'd give them a cheque for £5.99.' A frosty silence ensued. Then I asked if he wanted to leave anything particular if he dies first. 'No' he replied sanctimoniously, 'I'm leaving everything to you.') Then after picking up the key, I rushed back home because Husband had gone on one of his Laundry Sprees where he checks that it's pissing with rain outside, then puts everything into the washing machine, before realising there is NOWHERE to hang it, except over every chair and radiator in the house, so the place looks like a doss house, knickers festooning every surface. Then I booked a train ticket. Then I poked around the fridge looking for lunch to jump out and shout: 'Here I am!' while feeling vaguely guilty about not doing something else.

The something else is that a producer has offered to option a script I wrote a while ago. I have to do some more work on it while he will try to flog it to a television company. As well as that I'm adapting a children's book for radio 4 at some point. So in the space of a few weeks there's suddenly shedloads of work, and yes, I'm very pleased but also a bit . . .I don't know. Is this what Lily Allen called The Fear? So - of course I'll get on with it. But while I'm running back and forth to meetings and taking notes, domestic life piles up and up and up. And that's with a very domesticated Husband. So that when I find myself at home with The Girl painting away in kennels and The Boy (well to be honest, I've no idea where he is) and I'm on my own and there's work to be done . . somehow I find myself doing domestic stuff instead. Right. Cup of tea then I'll really get down to it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Ip Dip Doo

Ok. There is no delicate way of putting this. Last night after dinner – my stomach started gurgling unpleasantly, like a distant drain, in the way that makes you know absolutely that farting would not be a good idea. Having just recovered from weeks of a nasty eye infection, I felt more irritated than anything. Went to bed feeling faintly nauseous but okayish. Poor Husband had been secretly worrying about having a grumpy one eyed wife so I didn’t want to bother him too much. Woke this morning, creaked out of bed lumpily, stood up, and felt a deep growling warning in the pit of my stomach. You know how people say there is nothing more undignified than giving birth? Probably true but knowing with utter clarity you are 1.3 seconds away from pooing yourself runs a very close second.

Anyway, I was sitting on the loo feeling like I’d swallowed a Semtex laxative. And in trotted The Girl. All parents of small children will understand that feeling of wanting just a few seconds to yourself in the morning before being assaulted by a stream of chirping consciousness. Many has been the morning I’ve crept to the bathroom, begging silently for The Girl to stay asleep. (The Boy being nearly fifteen could sleep through a nuclear explosion). It never happens. She’s at her most perky at 7am. Hello mummy I had a dream and my friend Molly said that I couldn’t play with her and I want a banana for breakfast and my teacher said I have to remember . . . . I sometimes feel mild irritation that she won’t even let me go to the loo in the morning without insisting on accompanying me. She normally sits on the side of the bath with her increasingly smelly soft toy Tigger, chirping away.

This morning was no different, despite my affliction. She sat there on the side of the bath holding Tigger. Only this time there was a more rancid aroma in the air than her favourite soft toy. I’m going to hold my nose mummy she announced in a matter of fact tone because it smells of poo. And she did. But she carried on chattering away while I sorted myself out. It occurred to me that even though I must have looked a right sight, and didn’t smell too clever either – she still wanted to sit with me, chatter to me, be with me. It was slightly humbling. And gave me a little glow. Which rapidly disappeared when feeling much better I took her to school and she tugged her teacher on the sleeve and announced piercingly loudly, Mummy just pooed herself.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pain is good . . .yeah yeah

Like about 2 billion other women I sat fuming at Denis Walsh’s notion that pain in childbirth is a good thing and helps (oh God here we go again) the ‘bonding experience.’ More guilt mongering cock. I have every respect for natural childbirth – having had an epidural that didn’t fucking work and thus having it forced on me. Did I feel more bonded? Nope. Just stunned relief she was out. I remember the Nigerian midwife yanking out the Girl in a flood of lubricating jelly and gunge while I sat, sweat dripping onto the bed. She asked me if I wanted to hold the baby and I shook my head vigorously. Because I wanted just a few seconds to catch my breath and get my body back. Husband held her while I sat crumpled, head spinning.

Here’s the thing. I knew I wasn’t in danger. I’d already had a baby so I also sort of knew what to expect. I did my breathing. Husband reminded me to breathe in fact (and was rewarded by a spurt of language a Docker would have blushed at). And I tried to think of the word ‘sensation’ instead of ‘pain’. And you know what? If someone had offered me a bullet at one point I would have taken it. Good on you if you want to have a drug free birth. But if you’re a man do not make moral pronouncements on a pain you will never experience. Not unless you’ve inserted a golfing umbrella up your arse, opened it and pushed it out again.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Eye Eye

Haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks. Not because I’ve been on holiday although it felt like stepping out of the world (which to my annoyance carried on perfectly well without my participation – a lesson to us all). I developed a corneal ulcer and came within a whisker of losing the sight in one eye. Cue going back in time music and wobbly seventies screen effects . . . .

Monday night Husband and I had some friends over for dinner and I was rejoicing too much in the fact that my cherry cheesecake a) tasted nice and b) didn’t collapse into a mangled heap when removed from the tin, to notice that my right eye felt mildly uncomfortable. I took out my contacts, put on my specs and thought no more of it. Next day the eye felt more scratchy and sore. Now all of you lens wearers will know that it’s possible to scratch the cornea, and develop an infection in the scratch, although if you wear disposables, this is less likely. So I thought I’d scratched it and imagined it would just get better by itself. Alas, just like my mother I have an element of ‘don’t make a fuss’ when it comes to my health which I accept is deeply stupid. (If her leg was severed, my mum would hop to hospital with the other leg under her arm). I'm not quite so bad but there's a half way house between imagining every cough is lung cancer and the other extreme where you're scraping gangrene off your leg and soldiering on.

Wednesday I couldn’t sleep – a fork was jabbing my eye. Thursday, Husband took me to A&E who dripped a wonderful liquid I thought of as ‘eye heroin’ into my eye which removed the pain temporarily and packed me off to Moorfields Eye Hospital. It was a hot day and travelling on the tube, even with a companion was terrifying. I kept thinking I’d missed the step. I stumbled up the suddenly blurred escalators. People brushed past sweatily. Husband held my hand but I still felt jostled. My world was getting narrower and darker.

Moorfields diagnosed a Staphylococcus aureus, with fluffy edges which made it sound like some sort of Cbeebies infection. Specialists pried my eye open, and various experts kept nipping in to marvel at the fluffiness of the infection that was eating into my cornea. Most of the time they snapped from medical curiosity to genuine sympathy. Once a doctor mentioned prognosis and blindness in the same sentence. I burst into tears, picked up a tissue to wipe my eyes, and she literally knocked it out of my hand. 'You were going to wipe the good eye' she said. 'You don't want the infection to spread.' I managed to feel shock, horror and gratefulness in about three seconds. My eye seemed to be permanently rammed open. I began to feel like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. They gave me antibiotics and told me to come back the next day. I felt they weren’t telling me something. Husband and I went home. He took over everything. I couldn’t read, couldn’t watch tv and had a pounding headache. There was no worrying about deadlines – they were an impossibility. I cancelled everything and lay down in a darkened room with damp cotton wool over my eye. I wasn’t allowed to take any eye heroin with me (it reduced the effectiveness of the antibiotics) but one kind corneal specialist looked the other way while I slipped some into my bag. It was impossible to sleep without it.

Over the next week, I went back to Moorfields every day while they monitored my eye. I got to know the stifling heat of the waiting rooms and the rabbit warren corridors. I heard people complaining about being kept waiting for more than an hour. ‘I don’t mind but I’ve got things to do’ huffed one woman. ‘Like what?’ said her husband. ‘I was going up Sidcup for the bingo’ she whinged. I sat and listened to the hum of the few working fans and felt thankful that Moorfields and the NHS existed and all I had to pay for were the drugs that would (probably) make my eye better.

On the fourth day the corneal specialist told me that they were worried the infection might perforate the cornea and lead to permanent blindness. Being myopic anyway, I’d always made feeble jokes about ‘being blind’ but this was the real deal. If the drugs didn’t work . . .If I’d come in to the hospital one day later I would have lost the sight of my right eye. But they had caught it in time. My eye was responding.

Now after a week and a half, my right eye is still blurred but the infection is shrinking and I’m feeling much better. I’m not out of the woods yet but almost. And I’m more grateful to the skill and kindness of the staff at Moorfields than I can express.