A series of unfortunate events

The last few days before Christmas are always a little fraught. All the last-minute shopping, the crowds, the parties, the preparations …

But the elves had a few extra surprises in store for me.

The curve balls started flying on Friday. I was heading out the door when Bilbo started skittering around, all hunched and traumatised. I did a recce and discovered an alarming wound on his rump.

We’d organised coffee with the youngest’s year 6 teacher and her cute new bubba. The cafe just happened to be next door to the vet, so I tucked Bilbo under my arm and took him along.

The veterinary staff were lovely and rushed him straight into an examination room, where we discovered he’d ruptured an anal gland … you read that right, folks … resulting in an injury that made him look like he had two butt holes instead of one …

Without warning, the vet expressed his other anal gland all over the examination table. I thought the youngest was going to lose her lunch.

Bilbo climbed up my chest and tried to perch on my shoulder like a parrot afterwards. He’s also tried to spend every spare minute since then pressed against my leg, but failed because he’s wearing a cone of shame, so he just keeps clunking into me instead.

Not fun. But quite lovely to meet a cute baby afterwards. We decided not to provide too many details about the anal gland incident to everyone while they were eating their brownies.

Then I ducked up to the local pub to have a quick drink with a former primary school mum who’s moved to Queensland. She’d organised a gathering of some of the old clan and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone and give them Christmas hugs.

I was pretty knackered from my Newcastle double-date the previous night … and its subsequent midnight bedtime … so I headed home for a decent sleep … only to be awakened at 4.30am by lots of opening and shutting of doors and moaning …

It turned out the eldest had woken with severe chest and stomach pains. Eeeek!

I bundled them into the car and headed to the emergency department of my local hospital. Soon after we arrived in the waiting room, the pain reached a crescendo so severe that the eldest started vomitting.

It’s at such moments I look around frantically for a more adulty person than me to help, because I feel completely out of my depth. The medical staff barely batted an eyelid about a 15-year-old loudly puking and moaning. I figure it’s just a normal Saturday morning for them.

Eventually, they wheelchaired the eldest into the pediatric emergency unit because the pain was making it difficult to walk.

Every test under the sun followed while the doctor on duty tried to work out what was wrong.

Around 45 minutes later, I realised I’d left the car outside in a 15-minute drop-off zone in my panic.

I dashed out to move it and fretted about the protocol for contacting the eldest’s dad. Would he want to be woken at 6.30am? I decided I would (except my phone is on silent until 7am).

I took a deep breath and dialled. He answered sleepily and I burst into tears from the stress, while hastily assuring him that I wasn’t crying because the eldest’s prognosis was dire.

He turned up about 30 minutes later, just as the eldest’s pain suddenly disappeared. So he wandered off to get me a cup of coffee and a toastie, only to discover – post purchase – that hot drinks aren’t allowed in pediatric emergency. I hate to see a strong flat white go to waste, so I joined him in the waiting room to gulp it down and have a chitter chat.

All the tests progressively came back negative and we eventually left the hospital around 11am, none the wiser about what had caused the incident.

Geez I was exhausted. I wobbled home to the youngest, who’d woken around 7am to discover the house empty and only found my message about 30 minutes later.

(Her phone carked it about two weeks ago and she’s hoping Santa will bring her a new one.)

I took her out to yum cha with my sister, nephew and brother in law as compensation and then we headed to the local mall to do some Chrissie shopping, where she announced her throat suddenly felt so sore she was having trouble swallowing.


Flipping bloody heck.

I waved my mobile phone down her throat and sent a pic to DD, who reckoned it was probably viral and not worth going to the medical centre about.

But the poor luvvy has swollen glands for Christmas.

She was fairly nonchalant about it, saying she’s “always sick”, which is sadly not far from the truth with her allergies. I’ve her booked in to see a specialist next month and should probably get an ENT referral as well.

And that, my friends, was my very stressful weekend. It’s hard to believe that I was swimming with turtles a week ago …

Now I’m heading down the coast for Christmas Eve with my ex and his family. Fingers crossed the traffic isn’t too insane.

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone, it’s been ages.

Have the most wonderful Christmas – I’ll touch base again in a few days.


Song of the day: John Lennon “And so this is Christmas”





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