December 11, 2014 by Dadinator
Yesterday started normally. Actually no it didn’t, it sucked. I called in sick to work because my throat was killing me, my head hurt and I was losing my voice. Teaching teenagers is hard enough with my full vocal capacity, so I was home sick. Looking after kids. Well not really, I was parked on the couch trying to make my head function through the murk of congestion (snot) and a vague sense that I was floating above my own body.
Our daughter has been teething. Eye teeth. The worst teeth. We’ve been through it before with The Lad though, so we knew what to expect. It lasts a few days then settles down again. Alongside teething, you also get a spate of “bonuses”. Noses run, coughs crop up, temperatures are slightly raised and nappy rash gets a little more severe. It’s like they have a buy one get 4 free deal on things that cause irritation and pain. Lucky babies.
But we were veterans, this was baby number two so we were muscling through this bout of unrest and using a lot of ibuprofen in the process. We were confident that we were managing it, controlling it and had it all under control.
Then we changed her nappy. There was a yellow-red stain at the back of the nappy, towards the top. And then we saw it, a large red lump at the top of her – I have no other way to say it – butt crack. It was inflamed, bright red and weeping a red-yellow puss. Poor girl. No wonder she didn’t want to sit in her high chair. No wonder she was grumpy. No wonder she was grizzly.
If only her parents took proper care of her and paid proper attention to her health and well-being. Someone should call the department on those dead-beats. Neglectful morons.
And all that bravado, all the confidence all that faith in our own parenting ability in the earlier paragraphs wasn’t there any more. We were clueless, blind, grasping for ground and trying to understand what was happening.
Yep we’d done it, we’d let our child get ill and not noticed. The worst part about it was that we had to load her into the car seat to get to the doctors, putting pressure right on the infected puss-filled spot. I stayed home with The Lad while The Mamanator and The Lass went to go get it investigated.
The pair of us didn’t do much. We read some books, cuddled on the couch, watched some YouTube videos about robots (he loved them) and then I flicked on ABC4Kids so I could lie on the couch and try to rest/sleep. It didn’t really work. I blame Cloud Babies which is a show I detest. So I switched the TV over to the Cricket, got yelled at, and went back to Cloud Babies. Story of my life.
Soon I got a call from The Mamanator. The Lass had developed an abscess, which required attention. The doc recommended an ultrasound to see how bad it was and a course of antibiotics. All this meant a trip to Bendigo. We were lucky she was able to be seen that day, turns out the radiologist’s child had suffered the same thing at an early age and was willing to give up their lunch break to see us.
I offered to come along with The Lad, keep him occupied. It was going to require a trip to Bendigo – 45 minutes from our place by car.
The poor girl spent three-quarters of an hour crying then dropping in and out of sleep while sobbing weakly. We couldn’t take a break though, we were going to be late. It was a tough journey for us all.
We got there though. I dropped off The Lass and The Mamanator and went to a local shopping centre to keep The Lad entertained and pick up some essentials. Highlights of the trip included:
- The Lad using the toilet successfully
- The Lad running down the aisles of Big W and getting away from me so he could sit on the garden furniture display
- The Lad running into the “party shop” because balloons
- The Lad refusing to hold my hand
- The Lad “helping” at the self checkout machine
- The Lad finding a “Peppa Pig” ride
- Me prying The Lad off the Peppa Pig ride after I got a call to say they were done
- Carrying The Lad, a big bag of cat litter and a bag of spare nappies all the way to the car.
It was hard not being there when they were doing the ultrasound. I missed out on the radiologist having to fetch a smaller probe because she was so little. I missed out on the radiologist calling in a surgeon to describe the problem:
“There’s an abscess in her natal cleft… No, her natal cleft… NATAL CLEFT… In her bum. Yeah, that’s right.”
I missed out on my girl stoically putting up with poking and prodding, I missed out on comforting her and holding The Mamanator;s hand through it all. I missed out on having my hand-held. And that made me sad. But there was nothing we could do, there are 2 children now and The Lad is not that great in waiting rooms.
It was time to go home. But first there was food as food is important. For a while we forgot about scans and doctors and things.
But then we got back in the car. And before long there was a husky whimper. Then a yelp. Then a cry. Then a scream.
And then, heart-breakingly, there was a low whelp. A little pathetic yowl, quiet and constant. Every exhale was used to express pain, but the look on her face was of frustrated resignation. She’d given up on help. She’d moved through denial, anger, bargaining and despair.
She had accepted it, she knew we weren’t going to make the pain go away. And as the pair of us adults sighed and tried to hold her hand. We occasionally choked back sobs, and tried – tried so hard – to explain that we couldn’t stop, that we’d be home soon and that we loved her. But she’s 15 months old. The explanations didn’t do any good.
The longest drive home EVER drew to an end, we got home, and we gave the kids love and attention. The Lad, in spite of the noise, was asleep in the car. The Lass soon nodded off herself, leaving The Mamanator and in relative peace and quiet to feel our irrational parental guilt.
That was yesterday. Today – today I’m waiting at home as my little girl goes in for surgery. They’ve found a cyst in the abscess that has to come out. I cuddled her to within an inch of her life before she and The Mamanator left. I’ll get regular updates. It is not a nice feeling…. I’ll keep you posted.