Humiliating hospital horrors

Back to school after the Easter holidays and back into the routine of making sure Elliot has the correct changes of clothes in all the correct places – at school, after school clubs, sports clubs and friends houses. I feel as though I need some kind of spreadsheet to keep track of it all. In fact if anyone can invent an app that knows exactly where any item of clothing is at any given time and whether it is clean, dirty (or slightly stained but wearable), I would pay a lot of money for it. While you’re at it, if you could also create an add-on robot that does the laundry whilst running a nice warm bath and pouring a glass of red wine, that would be grand.

Although all the washing and organising is a pain in the arse, the reason I worry is that I’ll accidentally forget to replace the dirty clothes in the school locker with clean ones. When Elliot was younger he didn’t mind changing into whatever spare clothes school or nursery had to offer. But now he’s a bit older, although thankfully he hasn’t yet got into fashion and isn’t demanding to look like a Beckham, he doesn’t want to wear things from the school lost property box. He’d rather sit in wet pants and trousers than wear someone else’s clothes. He also doesn’t want to draw attention to himself by having to ask for spare clothes, so if I did forget to take spares, he would spend the day unhappy and distracted, sitting in urine soaked trousers and wanting the ground to swallow him up.

We have an assessment with a child psychologist at the hospital this week, which we’re hoping will help us and Elliot understand how we can work together to make things easier. At the moment he thinks he’ll never get better. And its very difficult for us not to think that as well, and although we try not to show him our frustration, he must pick up on it.

I feel as though I probably need my own personal parking space at the hospital the amount of times I seem to be there lately. I had an appointment for myself yesterday – I had a malignant melanoma removed last year and I have regular check ups now. It seems they’re now quite familiar with me as the first thing to consultant said when I arrived was ‘Oh I know you, take your clothes off and lie on your back’. Bit forward I thought. The experience descended further into Carry on Doctor territory when he was examining the lymph nodes in my groin (this was never going to be a non-humiliating experience) and the bed moved suddenly, almost resulting in him face first in my lap.

Luckily there was a nice chaperone with us who seemed to understand the awkwardness of the situation, and decided to distract me by showing me her moles (on her skin, not her collection of small rodents). So we spent quite a surreal five minutes comparing the various dot-to-dot patterns we are fortunate enough to be decorated with.

The whole experience was fairly embarrassing and uncomfortable, but as an adult I guess I just deal with it. But it does give me some understanding of what it must be like for Elliot who has been going through these types of experiences at the hospital for the past five or six years, with various doctors wanting to look at his private parts and ask him questions about the thing that he wants to talk about least in the whole world. I’m going to give him an extra big cuddle this evening. I might even buy him a little present on my way home.

And one for his little sister Rose otherwise she’ll kick off big time.

I know what you ate last summer

Another day, another olfactory* assault. Walking into Elliot’s room this morning was like being slapped in the face with a wet turd. He’d tried again to clean himself up, and he himself actually looks and smells quite clean, but the carpet in particular had come off quite badly.

Interestingly, in cleaning the carpet of crap, I noticed that you can tell what Elliot ate yesterday by how it has come out the other end. He had lunch at a friend’s house yesterday so I said to him that I can tell by looking into his eyes that he had sandwiches with seeded bread for lunch. It freaked him out a bit, until he realised that I’d actually been rifling through his poo.

I can’t believe the quantities that are coming out of him. He’s only small but he’s producing enough poo to keep Kew Gardens in manure for months. I guess this means the extra laxatives are properly clearing him out, so his bowel should gradually return to its normal size. This in turn, we are told, will reduce the pressure on his bladder, meaning he shouldn’t have so many wee accidents.

For now, the wee accidents are still in full swing. When he returned from his friend’s house yesterday he was soaking wet. His lovely friend either hadn’t noticed (young boys are probably used to all kinds of weird smells) or had noticed but didn’t make a thing of it. So Elliot had had a nice time, but I know he wouldn’t have been able to fully relax once he’d wet himself. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself by going off and getting changed so he’d carried on playing, hoping the wet would just go away. I completely understand why he does this. Imagine being in a meeting at work and accidentally wetting or soiling yourself. Would you get up, leaving a wet seat, walk across the room with wet trousers, draw attention to yourself by picking up your bag of clean clothes, and head off to the toilet? No you’d sit in your seat, hoping the room will swallow you up, and wait until every last person has left the room before shuffling off, dying of embarrassment.

In other news, our doctor’s surgery have changed their telephone holding music. It used to be a Greensleeves-esque plinky plonky nothingness. Which I guess was chosen to make you feel calm and relaxed as you wait, 17th in the queue, for your call to be answered by a surly receptionist telling you all the appointments have gone today, please try again tomorrow. But now the holding music sounds like thrash metal. Punctuated by a man saying in a sinister growly voice that ‘the surgery know you are waiting’. I like it. It has a certain honesty to it. They know you are waiting, they know you’re probably getting a bit cross, but they’re not going to promise they’re ever going to answer.

*I like the word olfactory, it makes me feel intelligent. If only I hadn’t learnt it from watching Nina and the Neurons on CBeebies.