Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Royal Wedding Mercy Dash

I was really looking forward to the Royal Wedding. Not as an event or even as the multimedia spectacular that it was. No, my interest in it was as a theme for kids activities - a way to keep eldest son's fertile imagination fed. Unfortunately for me, I was beaten to the punch by his nursery, which had royal puppet shows, crown making and the like, and my wife, who got on with the bunting making first.

Maybe I overestimated the ability of the events of yesterday to hold his attention anyway. Come the day, he was as wriggly and bored by the whole affair as I suspect any other three year was. I can't blame him really. You've seen one Philip Treacy fascinator, you've seen them all. Which was a bit annoying for my wife in particular as she wanted to see the wedding through without a whiny, running commentary - HackneyBoy, not me. "Where is the carriage with the window? Will the Queen be on the balcony? Why is this so long? Turn it off. Play with me. No one is looking after me!"

When he started complaining about sore legs, it seemed at first just another attempt to steal Wills' and Kate's day by the Attention Fynder General. However after a while, my wife became concerned so I took him to the local walk in centre at Colchester Hospital. I have to admit, I thought he was laying it on a bit thick and that I'd be send home with the usual Calpol and fluids advice.

The doctor will see you

As it was the congregation of symptoms he had made them refer us straight to the Paediatric Assessment Unit. This proved to be quite a long drawn out affair and it quickly become apparent to me that we would possibly be there for the night or the wee, small hours at least. He had to had an X-ray and blood tests, and although all of the people we saw stressed that there was only a small chance that he might have the worst case scenario, they wanted to be absolutely sure he was okay. 

It was quite sobering - and I hadn't even been drinking. With health matters, my default assumption is that there's nothing to worry about. Which is fine when it's me - I usually get better from most things with minimum intervention, which is my favoured, doctor-phobic male way of dealing with health stuff. Hey, it hasn't failed me yet - I'm still here.

With kids it is different, and my wife is much better than I am at spotting when there's something to worry about. She's more likely to call the doctor and make the appointment, or reach for the meds than I am. Last night taught me that I have to be a bit more alert about these things, and more prepared to get them checked out.

As it happens, J is fine, although he was kept in overnight for observation. I'm glad I was there with him. In a strange way, it was a bonding experience. We're close anyway, but I'm glad it was me who had to distract him while he was getting stuck with a needle for blood samples, and having his knee X-rayed, and just being there with him in a strange place. Those are the kinds of things that dads are for after all. My wife gave me some good advice before we went. "Make it an adventure for him," which was genius. As uncomfortable as some of it was for him, it's amazing how quickly fear and pain get overridden by the desire to go on and explore a strange building in the middle of the night. Boys love it. Hell, I loved it!

As usual, when dealing with the NHS, the experience left me grateful that we have access to such a great institution. It's not perfect - what is - but imagine what it must be like in countries like the States where every health decision is conflicted by the ability, or non-ability to pay. Would I have had a check up for something that I was sure was nothing? What if I was on minimum wage?

Here, we were seen by paediatricians, bone doctors (what are they called?), haematologists and X-ray professionals, as well as being looked after by caring staff who are really good with kids - they brought us books and toys and had a great manner with children. They even found a bed for me.

The next time I moan about hospital parking fees... well, I won't!

(Although £10 was a bit steep.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not squeamish

Flexible friend
This morning while watering a house plant we found this little fella asleep in the mulch. Well, he was asleep until I drenched him in ice cold water. Can caterpillars suffer from shock?
This one seems to have faired okay and was equally unbothered to be handed to J who delighted in the beastie crawling over his hand and up his sleeve.
I don't know if I'd have been as cool as him at his age. I was a bit of a feartie when it came to creepy crawlies - still am if truth be told. J on the other hand thought his little friend was great fun and was thoughtful enough to keep him at arm's length from baby brother, who he correctly surmised would probably squish him.
After this great adventure we took Mr Caterpillar out into the garden where, after dropping him on the slabs a few times we managed to release him on to a tulip. I don't know if caterpillars are fond of tulips. Unfortunately for him we had no apples, plums, pears, strawberries or oranges to hand. Let alone slices of chocolate cake, Swiss cheese, cherry pie, watermelon etc.
Given the looks he was attracting from the local birds, I'm dubious of his chances of making butterfly.
Still, it will have made for a great tale at nursery this morning.
Just a nice green leaf for me please

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Long time, no blog...

I hate those entries that start something like "Sorry it's been so long since I last blogged, the house burned/I've had a breakdown/the dog ate my laptop..." like some penitent pleading for forgiveness from the great digital god. I'm under no illusions that people are waiting for my words of wisdom, but I do feel bad at not having been very diligent with my entries.

It has been really busy recently what with work and the incessant demands of our two boys, plus there are so many things around the new house that I feel I should do. I wish my head was bluetoothed up some times and I could simply transfer my thoughts straight to page without hammering away on the keyboard. I expect this will arrive at some point in the next five years, although by then we will simply bypass Blogger and Wordpress for the new B2B blogging tool - that's brain to brain blogging. No sooner have you had a thought, than it will drop into the inbox of your subscribed brains. It should do wonders for road traffic accidents.

The other thing I hate on catch up blogs is when people try and recount everything that has happened in the last month, year, decade since their last entry. This quickly becomes tiresome for all concerned, so the tendency is to resort to a list, especially if you are a man. Actually, I quite like lists, and as blog entries they probably have quite a lot going for them. Let's give it a try:

- baby brother has started to walk
- had first birthday party for baby brother
- local cat has taken up residence in our front garden
- assembled a Homebase barbecue and had first BBQ of the Spring
- went to the seaside (Frinton)
- thoughtless neighbour has scratched the bumper of the car
- mate visited from so we enjoyed a night out in Colchester (mate is now convinced that The Only Way is Essex is factual)
- work is piling up
- visited Guernsey and Ireland with work
- off to Amsterdam in a few weeks with work
- wife and I enjoyed our third or fourth night out of the past year
- kids nipping my head
- still only have four TV channels
- mustn't grumble...

What a fascinating insight into my life. I must do this more often.