Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gratefulness Vs Discharge guilt

I've been having a rough time of late.

There. I said it.

Um, there was supposed to be a massive weight lifted off my shoulders when I admitted it, wasn't there? Yet here I am, struggling to stand upright under the pressure. The pressure of what, I'm not entirely sure. Motherhood? Life? My white, middle class privilege?

I can pinpoint exactly where it all started. It was in Princess Margaret Hospital with Bobbin and Tricky.

Hospital is never a nice place to be, particularly a childrens' hospital. While it makes the kids better, it seems to simultaneously suck the life out of the parents and school them in how to count your blessings.

We were there for two weeks, which in the scheme of things is such a short time. For an otherwise healthy kid, though, two weeks is forever to be requiring oxygen. Every day they'd come and check her and say "maybe tomorrow", and every day we moved further past our 'estimated date of discharge' written on Bobbin's name board.

It was only on the eleventh day that they decided to refer us to the respiratory team after I'd begged for days to let us go home with an oxygen tank, just so we could get out there. The respiratory doctor came in and took charge, she made a plan of action to start antibiotics for atypical pneumonia, a blood test to confirm, and had a back up plan of a chest CT and bronchioscope if the meds didn't start working (there was a thought that Bobbin had perhaps aspirated some food in to her lungs).


The improvement was noticeable that afternoon and within 24 hours she was able to come off oxygen for the first time in twelve days and we could go home after two weeks. The original medical team came in and APOLOGIZED for not referring us sooner. I couldn't believe it. But it's my child, so of course she was atypical. She even had an atypical presentation of atypical (mycoplasma) pneumonia. No wonder the med team missed it.

So off we went home, and that should have been that. Apart from a residual cough, everything was fine for Bobbin.

But it didn't stop there for me. I can't stop thinking of the other families; the other kids.

Like the gorgeous boy who made Bobbin light up every time he whizzed in to the room on his bright red wheelchair (which was a lot!), who had been in for six months. He was so fun. They played monster trucks together and when Tricky visited, the boys would go off to the play room together for a while. It was a bit confusing for him when Tricky was admitted, but he just saw it as an opportunity to spend more time with fellow car aficionados. Ejected from a car that was crashed by his drunken dad, he has years of rehab in front of him.

Or the sweet girl who was having hundreds of seizures a day thanks to a degenerative disorder. She had lovely get well soon cards from her class at school, flowers, balloons, you name it, to brighten her corner of the ward and make relearning to walk, talk and eat more bearable.

Or the eleven week old boy who was in the cot next to Bobbin with blunt force trauma to the head; two skull fractures; a massive bleed to the brain. The Child Protection Unit coming and going; the wee babe going for all sorts of tests; the parents contacting their lawyer; turning over furniture looking for listening devices.

You can hear absolutely everything going on in the next cot a metre away, those curtains aren't known for their sound deadening properties, after all. The parents talked loudly on the phone to make sure we all heard them, but at one point they whispered to each other. I could still hear them. He was telling her what to say when questioned, that the bleed was caused by his most recent vaccination, that the (new) skull fractures occurred during his birth.

We stayed in a room with them for three days before we were moved for our safety. Part of me wanted to stay in there, writing down everything they said so someone could stand up for this little guy, and another part of me wanted to run as far away as I could, hands over ears, la la la I'm not listening, this doesn't really happen to innocent babes.

But it does. It did. And though this whole experience has made me hold my munchkins tighter, love on them even more, and be eternally grateful for them and their health, it has also crushed a little part of my soul, too. And I'm having a lot of trouble moving past it. I'm hoping that by writing it down; getting it out of my head, that I'll be able to.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The hot lap that was meant to be

This is a S2 post as I got invited to an event.
There was no obligation to blog the event or the prize.
For full details please see my disclosure policy

It seems forever ago now, what with the whole me being hospitalized and then BOTH my kids being hospitalized, but I recently got the opportunity to go to a Meet the V8 Drivers event at Volvo Cannington.

Map Guy and I are big V8 fans. He more so than me; he can tell you all the drivers' names and stats, and which bits of the engine does what, but my knowledge is not quite as robust. I love fast cars that make a lot of noise and can tell you where the steering wheel is. I pick a team based on the colour or car number.

We were so excited to attend, and a little nervous if I'm honest - I was the only parent blogger there, the others were fashion bloggers and they were all looking fabulous and fancy, while I'm there in my Coles jeans. MG assured me I wasn't under dressed

On the invite it mentioned that a V8 hotlap around Barbagallo Raceway would be drawn as a prize on the night, so first thing we did was put our entries in. I drew a little Volvo symbol on mine just in case whoever drew it saw it and went "OH LOOK, EXTRA EFFORT! Ima choose this one" (they didn't). I told my friend I was going to win it because it's the #33yearofme.

The Volvo drivers, Scott McLaughlin and David Wall, were there so MG waltzed up and schmoozed them.  They seemed happy to talk to someone who knew cars and the Barbagallo track. MG was in heaven. I discovered that Scott McLaughlin drove car 33 and told him it was my favourite number so he was now "my driver". Which I'm sure did not freak him out at all.

Toward the end of the night (after I'd been told I'd get a loan of a Volvo soon - OMG! It's this week!) they interviewed the guys - they said Perth drivers suck at merging and they were not wrong - and then it was on to the draw. Third prize, second prize, and now, the first prize. The emcee swished her hand around and randomly pulled out an entry... IT HAD A VOLVO LOGO DRAWN ON IT!


I got talking again to the drivers and mentioned that I'd done a hot lap before and felt really sick from the smell of petrol and the G forces. Quick as a flash, David pipes up "Well, lucky your favourite number is 33, because you can ride with Scott!". Scott did really well to hide his distress. Ha!

"I'll try not to vomit in your car" I said. He smiled. Poor guy.

On the day, I felt like crap. I was having so much trouble breathing and I'd go on to end up in hospital the next day, but there was no way I was missing this. I went with my Dad and watched as the other people took their laps.

I got chatting to the woman next to me and managed to make a bit of ass of myself:

"Such an awesome prize. I had a feeling I'd win this, how cool that we all get to go in a real race car!
"I didn't win mine. I paid $100,000"

Cue awkward moment.

"Oh, do you sponsor the team?"
"No, I bought a high end Volvo."

Then it was my go.

I suited up. Being on pit lane, this close to the cars and feeling that rumble, I was really grateful that the suits were dark just in case I crapped my pants.

The "oh shit" smile began around here
I turned myself in to a pretzel to get in to car 33 with Scott. A real V8 Supercar with a real racing driver. Duuuuuude.

"You're not going to spew in my car, are you?" he said.

Smiling so big in a helmet gave me chipmunk cheeks
I couldn't believe he remembered me. We figured out a signal to stop if I was going to be sick, but told him the faster the better. Some people were doing single laps and some were doing double, based on how well they were handling it. As we were rounding the last corner he asked if I was good to go again and we roared down the straight at over 300km/h. I was shoved so far back in to the seat that I could feel my face flatten out. It was AMAZING!!!!

Thumbs up for not spewing!
I smiled the whole time. A weird mouth open, holy shit I can't move my body but this is awesome smile. I also did a thumbs up sign most of the way around for some reason - I'd done it early on to say I was OK and I think I was paralyzed in awe and just couldn't move.

It was so much fun and Scott was so lovely. The whole thing was recorded and I had no idea... good thing I didn't chunder all over the place!

Car 33 in the #33yearofme. It was meant to be.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Letter to Tricky - five years old

Hey Trickster,

Happy birthday, buddy. 

Five years old, hey? Five seems like such a big boy number. It's a WHOLE hand!!! 

You continue to be a pretty awesome kid. You love scooting around the skate park, riding your bike to school (without trainer wheels, I might add!), climbing up the outside of playgrounds, jumping on the trampoline, gardening in the veggie patch, playing drums, building LEGO monuments, getting dirty, anything crafty, reading books, writing, and playing cars.

We can now wash your hair without tears! The whole water phobia appears to be a thing of the past now! You can now have showers and let the water slightly splash your face - this is a huge achievement, dude! You've been swimming a few times now, and your confidence is building so much. The first time you went swimming I was so proud I cried... and took three million photos. 

You are still my sweet, sensitive guy; you need me next to you to fall asleep and you wake up to come in to our bed twice a night. Sometimes I get cranky about it, but then I realize that you won't want me around for much longer, so I tend to snuggle in to you, kiss your cheeks and let you stay for a while before scooting you out and sending you back. I'm a sucker, I know. 

The other day you said I was your best good friend, at the top of your friends list. Not gonna lie, it was lovely to hear. Especially since sometimes I think you'd prefer to live with your Perth grandparents - because they give you treats and let you play iPad. I was surprised that Bobbin wasn't up the top, you and she play together really well about half the time. The other half of the time you're telling her to leave you alone and not move your cars.

You love to teach her. You have taught her to count (somewhat) and you are so encouraging whenever she tries things. When you say "Good job, sweetheart" my heart melts. Actually, you're quick to praise everyone when they try. It's always "Well done, Mum", and "Great try, Dad". So sweet.

School is still brilliantly exciting to you, which I love. You have made some lovely little friends that don't mind that you still take a little bit to warm up, and your teachers are helping you gain confidence.Your teacher says you have the neatest handwriting in class and you like to be the only one to draw a particular picture - so if the others are all doing rabbits for the letter R, you'll do rocket and the like. Because you're a nerd. We love nerds in this family, so power to you, Tricks. 

I'm looking forward to another brilliant year, kiddo. It could be even better if you could try listening when I talk at least some of the time... just an idea. 

Love your guts.

Mama xxx


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