Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What was the point of that then?

After yesterday's debacle, I was sorta expecting an improvement in today's activites.  Well, things didn't go quite as badly as Monday, but one majorly stoopid thing did.

We're up at CHOW at least once a month, and sometimes more than once a week.  Well, even though I officially hate the drive up there after my speeding ticket yesterday (AND that bastard cop was waiting in exactly the same spot today in the other direction, catching us 'criminals' while we ferry our little darlings to and from the hospital), I had to do it again today for a Gastric Emptying Study.  (It's not a proper noun, but I feel it adds gravitas, don't you?)

The point of a GES is to observe how the stomach and digestive tract responds to food, and how long it takes said food to move through a child's system until there is no trace of it left in the stomach.  Usually this takes about 90 minutes.  So, we arrived at 11am as instructed, after skipping Owen's breakfast to ensure his stomach was empty.  Most children would be extremely put out about skipping a meal, but Owen quite frankly couldn't have cared less - in fact, his mood was better than usual because he hadn't spent several hours blowing chunks.  Anyway, we started the test after a fairly lengthy discussion as to how much food to put in to O's stomach, at what rate, and what they'd be looking for during the study.  They wanted to put in as much as he normally gets in an hour over five minutes, but I had to point out that if you put in that much in anything less than one hour, Owen WILL throw up.  So the technician suggested half.  I suggested a quarter.  We settled on one third.

She pushed one third of his food (about 60ml) in to his g-tube over seven minutes, during which time we discussed how the test would conclude.  Either Owen wouldn't reflux at all and would lie perfectly still for 90 minutes while the scan followed some radioactive material through his stomach, or he would throw up everything she'd just pushed in and the test would be over.

Natually, my son did just that.  About twenty seconds after she'd clamped his g-tube closed, he spurted a fountain of formula all over his chest, and the test was over.

So, I wasted two 40 minute drives and a half hour in a radiology lab for the technician to tell me that Owen had failed the test.  I'll say!  She couldn't even get the equipment up and running before that child threw up!  Failure is always an option in our household.

I did TELL her he'd throw up.  She really should have listened.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh. My. Good. God.

First off, I couldn't weigh myself this morning because before I could, the toilet overflowed.

Mike gets up earlier than me (at 5am, which is plainly ridiculous), and this morning he took the opportunity a dark, quiet house offered him and spent some time on the toilet doing whatever it is men do in there for sooooo long.  After he left (5.30am: still ridiculous), I slept for another hour or so, then got up at 7am to start my day.  I went in to the bathroom, lifted the lid of the toilet, and noticed that Mike either hadn't flushed when he'd finished, or our toilet was clogged.  So, because it was 7am and I'm not at my most coherent at that time of the morning, I decided to give it another flush to *ahem* help things along.

Oh.  My.  Good.  God.

The toilet literally vomited out its entire contents on to the bathroom floor, including everything Mike had deposited there earlier.  I think I screamed, or whimpered, or did something fairly sissy-ish, and then grabbed some old towels and literally threw them on the floor, thinking this would somehow help.  It did not.  To use the term "chunky water" is not something I do light-heartedly, but I feel it's appropriate in this instance.  It was brown, yellow and had dark chunks of godawfulness floating in it.  I then jumped over the towels on to a dry patch and chucked down the pan some de-clogging gel we have in the cupboard, shut the door and scarpered.  This, my dear friends, is MIKE'S FAULT, and I am fully prepared to sacrifice some towels and bathmats if it means I don't have to *literally* clean up my husband's shit.

I did tell him about it though.  I didn't let him discover it for himself at a later time.  That would have just been cruel.

So, after this incident at 7am, I realised I was running late.  Owen had to up, changed and eating by 8am, and I had to have the house clean, myself dressed and him done with refluxing by 10am because the Occupational Therapist was coming over for an assessment.  I think Owen knew how stressed I already was, because halfway through his feed he took supreme pleasure in doing one of the largest dumps he's ever done, and it exploded out of his nappy on to his back, legs, highchair, blankets and, once I got him on to the floor to change him, the carpet, his hands and some of me.

Oh.  My.  Good.  God.

I got him cleaned up, met with the OT, fed Owen again and made it to CHOW with about ten minutes to spare.  Met with his Craniofacial doctor (the one we don't like) and his fabulously glam new nurse (whom we do), and left CHOW feeling much more upbeat.  So upbeat, in fact, I turned up the stereo and put my foot down on the motorway.  The speed limit went down to 55mph at one point due to road works, so I natually slowed down a little bit, then when it changed back to 65mph, I sped up to 73mph.  This is the speed I normally do on the motorway, and as I'm constantly being overtaken my other vehicles doing in excess of 80mph, I think nothing of it.  Today, this was not the case.

Oh.  My.  Good.  God.

Not ONLY did I get my first ever speeding ticket, but because I sped up to 73mph coming out of a 55mph work zone, my fine was doubled..  DOUBLED!!  I have gone from having a clean, perfect driving record to points on my licence and a $236 fine.  I was gobsmacked.  Well behaved in front of the police officer, but gobsmacked.  And I'm too ashamed to tell Mike.  I may have seen his shit, but telling him I have a speeding ticket is cheek-burning embarrasing because I'm always crowing my superior driving skills at him.

After all this nonsense I decided to call my sister in the UK to find out about her weekend under some Icelandic volcanic ash, and whether or not she made it to her friend's wedding out in Ireland, but our sodding phones kept disconnecting and I only got as far as Owen's blowout.  This is too bad, because I really, really, REALLY need to vent.

They say things come in threes, but my day has already had so much crap in it (literally!), that I'm just expecting more of the same later on.  What a disasterous Monday.


Monday, April 5, 2010

My Feminist High Horse

Weight: ??

Who gives a toss?  It was Easter weekend!  Nom nom nom nom...

On to some more interesting stuff.  There was a very interesting article on The F Word last week called Fertile Feminism, all about being both a mother and a feminist.  It raises issues such as finding yourself excluded from demonstrations because they are un-child-friendly, or ending up being a stay-at-home parent (read: Mother) because someone's career had to give, and your's was the lesser-paid of the two.  Hmm.  I think I've felt that somewhere before...

Once again, let me say: I KNOW I am extremely fortunate to be able to stay at home with my son every day and watch him grow up.  I acknowledge that there must be millions of parents who want to have exactly what I have.  HOWEVER... the reality of raising him myself 80% of the time is something quite different to the rose-tinted image working parents have of staying at home. My life is basically all about nappies, sleep, appointments and the dreaded, ugly, frustrating feeds.  Yes, Owen makes me laugh, and yes, I love to watch him learn something new (currently it's bouncing in his exer-saucer... he's had it for the last six months and only just figured out the thing can mooooove), but at some point, every single flipping day for the last ten months, I have had a meltdown.  Usually it's crying, but it might also be some mild violence (doors are good for slamming and cushions just deserve to be thumped), or even me just putting my screaming baby in his cot and walking into another room for ten minutes to get a grip.  In short: staying at home for me every day has never been a choice; it's never felt like a choice; and I resent the "choice" my partner gets to make in my place.

Because I was made redundant when I was six months pregnant (once again: WHO DOES THAT?) and I wanted to pursue a different career anyway, it seemed logical that it should be my responsibility to take care of our child when he arrived.  Well, ten months down the line and nothing has changed.  Okay, my third book is being published at the end of the year, and I've been able to make a limited means doing something I enjoy, but essentially my career was over before it even began.  I've been trying to figure out how to get a part-time job in retail, but as Mike would have to look after Owen while I'm out, the only real hours I have free are evenings/nights and weekends, which mean I'd either get no sleep or have no free time with Mike.  Or both.  So once again, I am unable to bring in any sort of meaningful contribution to the household finances and I cannot tell you how much I HATE THAT.

I wish Owen were healthier for so many, many reasons.  I mourn the loss of the Owen I didn't get to know: the one who developed normally and is already starting to toddle around.  My Owen, my beautiful, sweet, stubborn Owen, has so many struggles and set-backs and yet he has the kindest, nicest temperament of any baby I currently know.  He only cries when he's very tired or if he's refluxing, and the rest of the time he's all smiles and cuddles and wriggly-bottoms.  I just wish that this lovely little boy were around all the time, because I know that in forty minutes I have to feed him again, and out will come the confused, in-pain baby I have to force to eat.  It's torture for both of us.  I wish he were healthier so he could enjoy his food and spend more time learning how to crawl, or stand, or play with blocks like other babies.  I also wish he were healthier so he didn't have to have his fourth surgery two days after his first birthday, and his fifth a month after that.  I wish he didn't have to adhere to such a tight schedule and he could just tell me when he was hungry, and again when he was full.  And I also wish he were healthier so I could let him play at a daycare centre once in a while and I could work.

I try so hard not to wish for things I cannot have, because it doesn't help me and it certainly doesn't help Owen, but...

I still do.