Between the two of them, my kids have been avid collectors of ailments, conditions and diseases over the course of their lives.
Fortunately there’s been nothing too serious – though at the time of affliction it never seems that way.
For me - someone who used to feel woozy at the sight of blood - it has been a baptism of fire. I certainly feel as though I have earned my medical stripes.
These are just some of the issues we’ve dealt with over the past 8 years.
Hand, foot and mouth disease – check.
Roseola Infantum – check.
Conjuctivitis – check.
Urinary tract infection – check.
A hernia – check.
Blocked tear duct – check.
Gastroenteritis – check.
Toddler’s Diarrhoea – check.
Corn kernel poked up nose – check.
Small seed shoved into ear – check.
Head lice – check (a real eye opener for someone who’d never encountered them before).
Salmonella poisoning – double check (and wasn’t that a fun-filled 48 hours for the nappy changer?).
Then there was the 3 day gastro bug which landed one daughter in hospital and almost forced a night-time helicopter evacuation from an island in the Whitsundays.
There was also the trip to emergency after a toddler son managed to retract his foreskin so far, it started to constrict blood flow.
Even things they’d supposedly been immunized against, my kids have managed to contract - such as the Chicken Pox. My son had a bountiful case when he was in Prep – and will have scars on his face, scalp, belly and legs as permanent reminders.
And of course there have been countless colds, ear infections, sore throats, headaches, vomiting bugs, insect bites, splinters, tics, phobias, mouth ulcers, muscle pains, dermatitis, rashes, fevers, bruises and grazes.
There have been the `false alarms’ too – the aching leg for which I demanded an x-ray and which turned out to be nothing more than a pulled muscle and an exceptional case of dramatics by the Sassy Princess.
And I can’t recall how many chocolate squares of Combantrin the family has consumed just to play it safe after a young Junior SNAG complained of an itchy bottom.
Our collection of phone numbers for specialists (everyone from speech therapists to urologists) is growing too.
Yes – I have regular, healthy children… though I must say, these past couple of weeks have been particularly trying.
Both have spent the past 12 days contributing excessively to the family repertoire of illness and ailments.
For a start, we now we can add broken bones to the list.
The Sassy Princess has broken not one, but two bones in her left forearm.
If anyone was going to do it, we knew it would be her. We just didn’t predict the mundane way in which she’d do it.
I expected it to be falling from a tree, tumbling from monkey bars or crashing while doing wheelies on her bike… anything BUT tripping over a block on the classroom floor.
Although apparently she was walking backwards at the time.
And, as per usual, her timing was impeccable. Mum was at work 60 kilometres to the north... Dad was at work 60 kilometres to the south. Thank goodness for nannas.
Sassy P is a tough nut though, not one to complain and quite excited about the prospect of a plaster cast. Even after a 9 hour stint in emergency, the nurses commented on her bravery.
If only that had been the end of our woes.
Having spent such a long stint in emergency breathing in the germs of others, Sassy P then ended up with a 24 hour bout of gastro.
Around the same time we discovered my son had contracted Fifth Disease… better known as Slapped Cheek Syndrome – Heard of it? No, neither had I – but I’m almost an expert now.
I’d noticed he’d been a bit lethargic and feverish – nothing severe – I thought he had a cold. It was when he awoke with bright red cheeks and a red, itchy rash that alarm bells rang.
A blood test confirmed he was on the tail end of Fifth Disease – a supposedly mild childhood virus which provides lifetime immunity and doesn’t usually affect adults. He was on the mend and no longer infectious.
Good news... except...
The next day my lower back decided to give in after fatigued and highly-strung muscles started having spasms thanks to anxiety over children’s health dramas (and alright, a little bit too much enthusiasm in Body Combat class).
Not helpful when the 5 year old with the broken wing needed extra help getting into and out of the bath, putting on shoes and carrying her backpack.
And exceedingly unhelpful when the same week is chock-full of school events, work, long-ago arranged appointments, hours waiting in the fracture clinic, must-attend birthday parties and fundraising events and charity missions which could not be put off.
No time for rest.
Then, the Sassy Princess emerged with red cheeks and a slight fever (Fifth disease strikes again) the same day her white plaster cast was upgraded to a pink one.
All in time for the school Awards Night ceremony at which she is performing. With a ruddy complexion and pink arm, at least there’ll be no confusion spotting her on stage.
Neither ailment has slowed her down a bit though.
Wish I had her stamina.
You see, as I sit here and write, I too am covered in a red rash which I am desperately trying not to tear at with my fingernails.
The `mild’ virus that Fifth Disease is in children - actually causes extreme arthritic joint pain in adults. A few days ago, I could barely move my wrists or bend at the knees. This morning I felt like I was walking on needles.
And, it can last weeks.
Childhood illness – fun for the whole family.
Things could be plenty worse however.
At least my bad back is on improving.
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