I try my best to keep my posts positive and chipper – but life’s been a piggin’ struggle this week. Yeah – it’s been Half Term and the youngest of my 3 children have chosen to raise the volume around the place to a level which even the hardiest of rock gods (Debbie Harry – I SO need to feel Atomic right now) wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable with, argued like cat and dog and have generally taken every opportunity to try to kill each other. This I assure you is entirely normal around here. However, whilst acting as judge, referee and general counsel, I have also simultaneously been nursing my eldest son through a high temperature and stinking cold … resorting on Wednesday to Chloraseptic, Paracetamol, gastro feeding and Wotsit Therapy.
The latter is my one and only saving grace when my gorgeous boy refuses point blank to eat and drink! Refusal to even let me brush his teeth without brute force (a chore that whilst other children run to the hills Archie normally relishes. I’m sure my ridiculously silly ‘off the cuff’ tooth brushing repertoire – all out of key but incredibly lively helps!)! Anyway, I literally try anything and EVERYTHING to try to get him to drink. It’s an anxious time because after a day without fluids my little boy’s health always deteriorates rapidly. As a child with profound special needs, who isn’t fit and active and running around like a mainstream child, his immunity is compromised and every little snivel can escalate to something unthinkable. We have been there too, too many times. Archie is a supercat on payback, So – I invented Wotsit Therapy some time ago … After a couple of frantic weeks in hospital with my poorly soldier at deaths door and several high ranking medical professionals and nursing staff scratching their heads and causing chaos with nasogastric tubing (anyone who has had to endure a liquid diet this way will know the discomfort and invasion this entails)! So, despite having a gastrostomy fitted (limiting the time we now have to rush him to hospital for medical intervention) I invented ‘Wotsit Therapy’ as a way to get my boy eating and drinking orally, ensuring his calorie intake and good health. As a rule – Archie loves his food and has a voracious appetite. He get’s pleasure from an oral diet – albeit he MUST (due to intestinal problems, oesophageal damage and severe developmental delay) follow pretty much a liquid diet. Wotsits, together with Skips and Quavers are our only exceptions to the rule! These crisps are wonderfully safe for young children and Archie and his peers with special needs and specific dietary requirements – as they melt! Moreover ‘Wotsits’ are quite salty and cloying … so after just half a dozen of these wonderfully orangey little lifesavers – he is thirsty and, however much pain and however grim he feels, they encourage him to drink independently! Hence ‘Wotsit Therapy’ was born. It’s a time-consuming and arduous task. It’s dangerous too – as I have to prise open his teeth to get the first few in. Anyone who has any experience of those breeds of dogs that lock their jaws will empathise with the difficulty of prising open the locked jaws of a strong 12 year old boy who absolutely and resolutely refuses and doesn’t understand that you are persisting for his own good!
So, fortunately after a day of Wotsit Therapy and a week of gastro feeding – my little man is smiling again and life, in between the ruttles and, for him at least, is beginning to get back on track.
However, after a week of nursing my main man I now have the dreaded lurgy!! The sheer amount of undesirable gunk floating around my head right now is enough to make a grown woman cry … regularly. At every opportunity. Why I didn’t have my tonsils removed in my infancy is beyond me (though I’m sure my folks had good reason?) grrrr. I’m a skank. I’ve snivelled and shook and sweated for the last few days. I haven’t left the house for the past 2 days and this morning it was a massive effort, but I had a much needed shower, ending with me sat in the tray with my head in my hands weeping my heart out. It’s times like this that I REALLY MISS my Mum! Fortunately, I have heeded her ‘get better quick regime’ (she never did ill very well) … which has been cupfuls of hot Heinz soup (Chicken Soup – whilst I honestly preferred the previous recipe – still hits the spot when I’m under the weather), Haagen Daz for my raging tonsils … and distraction therapy! Horsforth Walk of Art will be thrilled with my creativity this past few days … amounting in a further 29 rabbits in addition to those already handed over for the forthcoming ‘If you see a rabbit grab it!’ initiative.
I’m very proud of myself and my creative distraction therapy definitely helps. Knitting is surprisingly therapeutic … even moreso when the more mature and helpful members of the family bring me hot drinks, chocolate, whisky, cuddles and drugs. All of which were hugely appreciated. Thank you.
I have however, dragged myself out of the confines of the double shower cubicle, dried off (not very vigorously), got my ‘slops’ on and towel around my head crawled to the comfortable confines of the sofa to take up my ‘Arch Duties!’ I’ve smeared some Vaseline under my nose to rid myself of the angry red ‘tash and gargled with Cordosyl, in an attempt to try to look and sound a little less like an evil dictator. I’ve sent two small, noisy children off swimming with Daddy and decided to type through the tears! See, my life isn’t all moonlight and roses – I am as ‘human’ if perhaps not quite as ‘normal’ as the next guy!
So, I’m still alive – nursing my torturously sore throat and pounding head, (with the helps of the strongest combination of over the counter drugs I could find to hand) and am entertaining my handsome eldest son – who sounds a lot like he’s long since been partaking in 60-a-day, and watching 4 Music. I’ve turned up the TV as loud as I can bear … to drown out the sound of Archie’s most favourite and much loved Something Special Mr Tumble talking soft toy…
.. which is so loved and chewed and battered he’s sounding pretty jaded. Someone else around here who needs his batteries charging! Ahhhh you really can’t beat the likes of Beyonce, Whitney, Madonna, Take That, Kylie, Lulu, Amy Winehouse, Rita Ora, Mark Ronson, Outkast, Cher, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera, Little Mix, Rixton (ironic timing – now there’s a pairing) et al to lighten the mood … Yeah … Music Therapy is right up there with all the other therapies of choice and ‘despite everything’ I think we can safely say Pharrell that we are ‘Happy’ now or at least happier! I’m even starting to remember the good bits of our Half Term break … hastily forgotten in the horror of the last couple of days spent with the proverbial cross on the front door!
Yes, despite the downtime, this week hasn’t all been tears and torture … we have managed a little fresh air and laughter too! We managed a trip around Golden Acre Park in the sunshine with my Dad and his dog, Buster, and a very enjoyable afternoon tea
… and an equally enjoyable day at Kirkstall Abbey with them later in the week too. Scarlett particularly enjoyed the ‘Owl Hunt’ – such a fun and simple activity for the little people, I even mustered up a rather enjoyable picnic and the rain held off for the few hours were were there, and Archie wrapped up against the elements managed a smile too – result.
Jem and I spent an afternoon at VTR North sound studio earlier in the week with the lovely and very patient Spencer Bain – who exercised the greatest of restraint and technical ability in eeking a 30 second radio advert out of my rather excitable young man! Watch this space (or should I say ‘listen out’ for this in the coming weeks).
Before the worst of the lurgy got a grip, I also managed a hugely enjoyable girlie evening with my gorgeous, smiley friend Rachel of Rachel McAlley Marketing fame http://www.rachelmcalley.co.uk/ at The Light, Leeds, commencing with a little much needed ‘me time’ ‘breathing space’ at Cafe Rouge with a champagne cocktail and a good book – whilst Rachel battled with the A58 traffic from her day job in Halifax to reach me!
We then had the pleasure of relaxing over a glass of fizz or two at Allerton’s 1st Anniversary Party http://allertonsonline.com/blogs/news/26629316-our-anniversary-event-is-tonight where we indulged ourselves in all things beautiful and heaven scented.
I had my eye make up dramatically mastered by one of the talented in-house make up artistes and both Rachel and I treated ourselves to some rather fabulous Be Proud false eyelashes expertly applied by Alison of Alan Howard … Mine were ‘Greatest’ and I believe Rachel’s were ‘Victorious’ … but I’m sure you’ll agree, whatever they were called, they didn’t fail to enhance our natural beauty. I couldn’t take my eyes off Lady Rach!!
After a lovely pamper – we missed out on the cake – much to my chagrin, but instead delighted in healthy nibbles and cocktails at Brown’s, just down the escalator, teamed with a much needed good old-fashioned girlie gossip – which was just what the doctor ordered!
You can’t beat an evening with a good pal to put you back on the ‘straight and narrow.’
So, other than; keeping my 3 kids alive, keeping an eye on my Dad, keeping Archie’s health in check and keeping my chin up … and keeping on with the ‘rabbit making’ I’ve not really achieved much this week … other than a quick entry to the Bridport Writing Competition – oh and my first article for the relatively new locally renowned publication ‘Suburban’ Magazine. Hell – all in all I think I can safely say I’ve held my own this week to be honest!
I guess you’re still with me Mum, because I’m sure I wouldn’t have achieved half as much without your inbuilt ‘Never give up, never give in’ genes and dogged determination!
Right … time to warm up some more soup … all that thought and concentration has taken it’s toll …. bleurghhhh! One way or another
(eat ya heart out Blondie – my rock chick of choice!) … I know I’ll be through all this ‘yukkiness’ by next week! I can’t bloody wait!