Tuesday 19 April 2011

Poxy A&E

Those of you who also follow me on Twitter (@suey2y) will know that my little boys have had chicken pox.

A mere blip in pre-teen life you might think, but oh no, this is the Marsh household.

My 6 year old got it so badly, I could hardly bear to look at his crusty, pustulated skin. He actually had a spot on his eyeball! He couldn't eat as his tongue and throat were coated and inflamed and he was totally incapable of getting off the sofa for about 36 hours.

Sure as pox is pox, my 3 year old waited patiently until the middle of the Easter holidays to develop his rash, ensuring our quarantine ruined any chance of getting out for adventures or treats. Within a day, his neck and shoulders erupted into one huge, angry, red mass of pustules, with his eyelids and anus vying for title of "Most Infected"

His temperature climbed higher and higher until he was very unwell indeed.

Of course, most Mum's need superhuman qualities at times like these. I can't actually remember when I slept for more than an hour and I have hired two extra sets of arms for the week to fulfil all the "Muuuuuum, can I have's" and "I need a's" fired at me from both kids in a steady stream of consciousness. As an aside, Dave put his back out at the weekend very badly - he had to crawl to the toilet all day Saturday - so the burden of care has unusually fallen rather more on Mummy than Daddy during this particular crisis.

Yesterday, I actually fell asleep standing up. I was standing in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil and thought "I'll just close my eyes for a second...." The next thing I knew I was stumbling forward into the sugar bowl.

Now, in my life, the planets only align to cause unreasonable pressure. My Mum had booked us tickets months before to see her favourite singer, Russell Watson, in concert in Brighton last night. She desperately needs a break - possibly even more than Hubby and I do. My Dad is very disabled and she spends all day every day caring for him. I won't splurge her life all over my blog, but suffice it to say, she's desperately stressed and it's making her unwell. She needed last night very much indeed.

With that in mind, we set off for the theatre with an air of grim determination to enjoy ourselves. Sure enough, once the magical carnival promenade of Brighton twinkled into view, a combined weight started to lift from our shoulders and for the first time in months, we had fun.

The orchestra was perfection, soothing our troubled souls with peace and joy. Watson's voice was astonishing, soaring and thrilling - the concert hall wonderment reducing us to small children in a well stocked sweetie shop.

Then my phone rang. It was Dave.

3 year old was in an ambulance, but I wasn't to worry (??!?!?!?). He'd stopped responding to Dave and his eyes were rolling, his temperature 41 Degrees. As Dave had no car (I'd taken it to jaunt off on my evil, selfish pleasure mission to the seaside) he'd called an ambulance and they were taking him straight into A&E.

What to do? Ruin my Mum's one night out that year? Snatch the wonderment from her eyes and worry her sick? Prove definitively that we will never enjoy even one carefree night out again, ever? Or take a deep breath, trust Dave (as I do with all my heart) and try to enjoy the rest of the show?

I went for the latter.

Despite a little fidgeting, texting of updates and a wheelbarrow full of guilt, we watched the last hour of the show, then hurried back to Worthing hospital.

Of course, I needn't have worried. When I got there, 3 year old hadn't even seen a doctor (and wouldn't for a further three hours) and was sitting up eating dolly mixtures (crying as each one stung the spots in his mouth and throat, only to convince himself that the next one would be fine.)

I had gone so far beyond spoonless by this stage, Dave kept putting his hands out to steady me, under some strange illusion that I might waft away altogether. Nonetheless, I Mummed and soothed and cuddled and joked with the boys as one hour became two and two became three and three edged into four.

When the doctor did finally come (at 1am to see two totally wiped out boys asleep on the hospital trolley), she sent us home with calpol and ibruprofen and piriton, exactly the course of action we'd followed at home.  Other than some very charitable cups of hospital tea, juice cartons and a bowl of cornfalkes for 6 yr old provided by a lovely and apologetic nurse, the crisis was over.

Today feels like a Sunday. Dave didn't go to work. After 3 days with no sleep at all it would have been foolhardy. We are all in our jarmies eating fried food and taking naps. If the fates could just ignore us for a few months it would make a lovely change. A whole month of nothing, of "boring" of "normal" would go down a treat.


  1. I think you made the right decision. Your husband sounds like someone who can be trusted in a crisis. May I have permission to clone him if I ever work out how to Do Science?

  2. Bleurch, I'm so glad I had chicken pox as a baby, it must be hell. Everything always goes wrong at once, doesn't it? I hope the whole family are recovering alright.

  3. Vanilla Rose - Clone away! Every home should have one :)

  4. Memories of chickenpoxy kids came flooding back, reading your post. Allthough my two kids were only a tenth as spotty as yours. I hope the Gods ignore you and yours for a long time.

    Carole aka Mewsli aka Robomam.

  5. Maybe remind A & E staff that c.p. is infectious. Worked for me

  6. I have often said "You know, I'd like to try normal, just to see what it's like and get a new perspective." Bless you, had the chickenpox thing sorted a while ago when I had more spoons and child was mostly unaware of it, but I admire the iron in your spine, I'm a total mess when it comes to my wee manny. I cry when he gets his booster shots, I'm a complete wuss.

  7. Oh god, I so long for normal, just a few days or, dare I hope, weeks, when nothing happens and I can just BE. That would be bliss.

  8. Yeouch. It's a rule of thumb - a "spoonie" plans something in advance, and something, somewhere, will go wrong....

    Glad it worked out in the end though. Oddly enough I counted my boy's pox scars today. He was fortunate, got them mainly on his torso.

  9. May God give you everything you ask for this Easter Sue. Amen to that.

  10. Dearest Sue, I wish you and yours a totally uneventful two months or more! Well, not totally uneventful but only nice, fun and exhilarating events... Hope all your boys (including the man-sized one) are soon recovered and that you STAY WELL :)