You don’t expect to feel lucky when you’re mopping streams of blood and mucus from your daughter’s nose as she lies woebegone in bed.
But I did.
The youngest was horrified that I was cleaning her up. She asked how I could stand it. She said she’d be retching if she was doing it to her child.
I smiled. Partially because she doesn’t understand – yet – what it feels like to love your child … or to have become immune to cleaning up their excretions … and partially because it didn’t bother me at all.
(It would have been a different story if it was puke, I’m a sympathy vomitter … but blood and mucus were totes fine.)
I just felt incredibly grateful and happy to be there to help.
Yesterday was a very looooooong day.
As we were driving to the hospital at 8am, the youngest spotted her father in the distance, loping along the back streets.
“What’s he doing here?” she asked.
Her father had been instructed not to arrive until she was in surgery, so as not to stress her out unduly. But he’d dropped his car off nearby for a service – and was worried about her – so he’d decided to skulk around early.
She felt bad about excluding him and texted to say he was allowed to come to the hospital early.
She soon regretted it and became deeply annoyed by sitting between us while we talked too much – and too loudly – to each other.
At one point she went all Beyonce and snarked: “Would you like to swap seats with me so you don’t have to talk over me????”
(Can you believe the Beyoncé woman got death threats over the transgression? WHAT is the world coming to?)
It wasn’t until 12pm that the youngest was finally wheeled down to surgery and because she’s only 13, she was allowed to have one parent accompany her.
She chose me, but I wasn’t crowing about it. I think it’s really hard for the dads to be second to the mums in times of comfort. I know it’s not always the case, but often it is.
So I walked beside her trolley in a hospital gown with my hair and shoes in paper nets. Very fetching! As we waited outside the operating theatre, the nurse asked if the youngest wanted me to go in with her before she went to sleep and she said – very firmly – yes.
It was at that moment I felt like a “proper” mum. I beat myself up about my failings constantly, but if your teenager wants you there when they’re scared, I figure you must have made the right mark as a parent.
Then we walked in and she climbed onto the operating table and the nurse told me to kiss her on the forehead. It was a bit confronting, to be honest. I walked away down the corridor feeling a little light headed from the intensity of it all.
Then I wandered up the street to have lunch with my ex while we waited.
And I felt bloody lucky to have negotiated our way through our separation so well.
There are so many parents who can’t be there for their kids together because one or both of them is so bitter and angry. And I think that’s really sad.
As we walked back to the hospital, the surgeon called to say everything had gone well, but the youngest had the largest infected adenoids he’d ever seen in a child her age. They were completely blocking her airways.
No wonder she almost asphyxiated getting the moulds done for her braces. Poor poppet.
He’d also fixed her deviated septum and cut back her turbines or whatever it is they’re called.
My ex and I both felt quite chastened that we’d let her suffer so long.
Again, only one of us was allowed to go and see her in recovery and it was me.
I can’t say she was pleased to see me. She looked awful. Tears were streaming down her reddened face. I thought they were the result of her misery, but it was actually an allergic reaction to the tape the nurse had put over her eyelids. Her lips were all puffy and itchy too, again from the tape.
And then the long wait began until we could take her home.
She was woozy and bloody and understandably out of sorts.
Finally at 5pm, the canula was removed and my ex drove his car up to the entrance of the hospital so the porter could wheelchair her out.
She fancied a Go Bucket from KFC, so I hared off – after snapping a pic of the sunset on the roof of the carpark (above) – to get one for her while my ex drove her to my place.
She cautiously gobbled down the Go Bucket – her first meal in almost 24 hours – then lay back on the pillows to catch up on Snapchat.
After she sneezed at one point – OUCH – she asked for the heavy-duty painkillers, I draped her bed and pillow with towels, switched the light off and hoped the latest gauze/pad/mask thing on her face would keep the blood at bay for the night.
It didn’t – she rang me at 2am to change it and give her new meds.
I’m working from home the next few days while she recovers.
For the first time in my life I don’t feel like this meme …
I feel like an adulty adult.
It’s kinda weird!
Song of the day: Stevie Wonder “Isn’t she lovely?”