I like to pride myself on being self-sufficient. Long before we moved to Jersey we were used to juggling life, work and children. It’s what we did. We didn’t have family down the road and we didn’t have babysitters on tap. It was down to us to work out who would stay at home with the poorly child. Both equally dreading the discernible tut we would receive when we told our boss we couldn’t come in. Back then we rarely went out as a couple, even now Mr C and I don’t really get any alone time, but that’s fine. We are a team, and most of the time we can sort it out ourselves. That was until last week. I finished that week praying we had help, wishing that we had family just around the corner.
How It Started To Go Wrong
Last Monday I went into hospital for my foot operation. My mum had offered several times over the previous weeks to come over. She was worried that we would struggle with me being off my feet for the week. I told her that I was an adult and that we were perfectly capable of managing between ourselves. Also, it’s fair to say that I have a completely irrational fear of hospitals and having my mum there would have just made me regress into that clinging toddler, crying about not wanting to be operated on.
The timings worked out quite well for the operation. Mr C was able to stay with me until I was taken down to the operating theatre and then he dashed off to do the school run. In the meantime, I laid back as they injected me with all the drugs to put me to sleep, I felt like I had one too many gin and tonics and fell asleep. Not an unpleasant feeling but I was obviously concerned as I still shouted out, “Yaaaay, sleep here I come. I hope I don’t drool”.
There’s A Hole In My Foot
An hour later and I woke up feeling sore, with a hole in my foot, but all was fine. Gary was finally gone. The surgeon very kindly told me how deep they had to go down into my foot. How they had hit a blood vessel and blood had spurted! I managed to refrain from throwing up over him. Then the children piled in and started running around my bed. It felt so surreal that I started to question whether I had actually woken up or was I still under? I soon realised that I had massively underestimated the recovery. I had not quite figured how difficult it would be. However, I had recovered from 2 C-sections, this was just a foot. Surely it couldn’t be that hard?
I spent the first couple of days pinned to the sofa, my head feeling foggy from all the drugs, making work difficult and painfully slow. Work was unbelievably tedious with straightforward jobs taking me twice as long. Netflix and painkillers became my friends. However, I was feeling very adult like, it wasn’t easy but we were coping. Yes, there had been teething problems. There had been the morning where Mr C had smugly announced that he had made a sausage casserole that was now in the slow cooker. It was only after he came back from the afternoon school run that he had realised he hadn’t switched the slow cooker on! Cue much swearing from himself about the stupid slow cooker. He also announced that our small dishwasher is not big enough for the whole family. It seemed that he wasn’t enjoying his dalliance with domestic duties. That sounds like Mr C doesn’t do anything, which isn’t fair as really does help. However, we were struggling because one very important member of the team (aka ME!) was flat out and unable to help. We only work well when we are both able to help.
Out Of Control
Then the wheels continued to fall off rapidly and the car/our life was now threatening to career off the cliff. Youngest was sent home because she felt poorly. Her symptoms were tummy ache and temperature, yet she continued to eat. Again, Mr C had to juggle work and leave to pick Youngest up and bring her home. That afternoon was spent with trying to juggle work, with me not being able to walk on my foot and looking after a poorly Youngest. Then I remembered that there had been a case of chickenpox in the class a couple of weeks earlier. Could this be the start of it? Surely not! We wouldn’t be that unlucky, not this week. We carefully checked Youngest and found 2 spots. However, the two spots could have been anything. We checked an hour later and there were still no other spots. We came to the conclusion that Youngest just had a touch of something.
Argh – Chickenpox!
We were wrong. By the middle of the next morning, Youngest had evolved into a walking dot to dot. There was no denying it, she definitely had chickenpox. I was still pinned to sofa, Mr C was trying to juggle work and the school runs and I was having to hop to Youngest’s every demand. I admitted defeat and cursed myself for not taking my mum up on her offer of help. Why had I said no? I didn’t want to admit that we probably needed help. Now that pride, that refusal to ask for help, had landed me pinned on the sofa next to a chickenpox infected Youngest. It had left me slowly losing my mind as Youngest made me watch everything that she wanted to watch on Netflix. Poor Youngest really suffered and in the end we had to whisk her to the emergency doctors. Her whole right eye was swollen and she couldn’t see out of it. It feels awful not being able to really help and in this modern age, chickenpox feels very much like a Victorian disease. They gave Youngest antibiotics but for a good 24 hours we were really worried and we felt really alone. Again, we found ourselves wishing for family close-by.
I haven’t seen anyone apart from these 4 walls for at least 9 days. There could be a zombie apocalypse happening outside and I would be oblivious. However, ask me anything about Zumbo (Youngest’s favourite cookery programme on Netflix) and I could regale you with encyclopaedic knowledge. What important lesson have I learnt here? Never be afraid to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness, that’s what families are for.
Oh, and did I tell you that Oldest has never had chicken pox? Wish me luck?