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.

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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.

Will things ever get better?

Feeling a bit down about it all this week. We’ve had a call back from Comedy Colin and he is going to make a referral to a child psychologist which is great but it just feels as though Elliot will never get better. We’ve been pushing for him to see a psychologist for over two years and was told by one particularly unhelpful nurse, in front of Elliot, that the waiting list is so long he’d only get onto it if he was suicidal.

So far this week I’ve washed the sofa cushions and covers four times, washed his bedding every day, cleaned up poo from the carpet twice, and had him in tears twice because he’s so fed up with it all.

It feels worse when we’re out, today we went to the park and went in a rowing boat on the boating lake. Elliot went to the toilet before we got in the boat but still did a huge wee while we were on the water. When we got out of the boat I was torn about what to do. There was a big wet patch on the seat but I didn’t want to draw attention to it because he’d have been mortified. But I thought I should say something to the man running the boats so he could help me clean it before the next people got in the boat. I was just about to ask him if he had a cloth I could borrow when I caught Elliot’s eye – the look he was giving me was imploring me not to tell anyone. So I didn’t. We got out and left the seat with wee on it for the next person possibly to sit in. I felt awful but I think I’d have felt worse if Elliot had had to suffer the acute embarrassment of everyone seeing what he’d done.

It’s so difficult. Sometimes it feels as though we’re getting closer to things improving, but then other times it feels as though he’ll never get better.

The week in numbers

Thought I’d use Bridget Jones style stats to summarise this past week.

Days since Comedy Colin said he’d call: 9 (it’s likely they’ve found out he’s not a real doctor and he’s been sent back to secure accommodation)

Phone calls to Colin: 4

Messages returned: 0 (probably difficult to use phone whilst wearing straightjacket)

Poos in toilet: 6 (v good)

Poos in pants: 5 (not so good)

Poos in bed: 2 (why?? for warmth??)

Poos on carpet: 1 (improving)

Wees on sofa: 1 (too engrossed in 60 Minute Makeover)

Loads of washing: 16

Times having to abandon basket mid-shop to run to toilet: 3 (good exercise and potentially saves money)

A fairly normal week but for some reason I’ve found it particularly draining. So much so that by Friday I couldn’t even muster up the energy to read Rose a bedtime story and just left her to read the lyrics to Uptown Funk to her teddies.

Coated in a light sheen of shite

So this morning went like this…

If you’ve ever been in contact with small babies, you may be familiar with what is often referred to as a ‘poonami’. Or sometimes ‘poomaggedon’. Basically when a beautiful, small, sweet smelling creature manages to emit a massive pungent turd, seemingly twice the size of itself, and normally spreading all over its body, hair and surrounding furnishings.

I’ll just leave you to picture that on a nine month old baby. Now imagine that scaled up to a nine year old child.

Who has consumed seventeen pints of lager and a vindaloo. Plus several days of very high strength laxatives.

And who has ‘helpfully’ tried to clear it up for you.

Imagine you also have just been woken up, after quite a poor night’s sleep due to having a cough and sore throat, by your other child, who has decided today is going to be another one of her ‘angry’ days. She has already shouted at you and thrown a shoe at you. This is because she has dropped a Playmobil figure down the stairs and you had the cheek to sleep through it and hadn’t telepathically realised she wanted you to prevent this happening.

So accompanied by the background soundtrack of intensifying shrieking and wailing, you deal with the nine year old, who is coated in a light sheen of shite, and surrounded by enough poo-covered debris to be a contender for the Turner Prize. On bed, on floor, on wall, in Lego, and now, somehow, in your own hair.

You bundle everything, including the child and yourself, into the shower and hose everything down. All while screaming like a fishwife at child number two (and simultaneously being ashamed of yourself for doing so), who is refusing to get dressed and is blaming you for the fact that it isn’t Friday.

Onwards and upwards…

Comedy Colin

So, I was right about the colorectal nurse – he did indeed wear comedy socks. He also made jokes about his head being on upside down. I wasn’t endeared to him. Neither was Elliot, who spent the entire appointment trying to disappear inside his chair.

He did seem genuinely keen to help Elliot, but at the same time also seemed to have no clue what was going on. It was almost as though he rocked up to the hospital one day wearing a nurses uniform as a joke, and as nobody asked him to leave he thought he’d give it a go. The hospital is so woefully under resourced they’re probably grateful for anyone who is willing to help. Even Colin Hunt from the Fast Show.

He brought up Elliot’s latest x-ray on the computer and asked me what I thought. I thought the insides of my son were very interesting, but not being medically trained I couldn’t really advise him. So he said he’d ring the consultant to ask him to have a look. I bit my tongue and managed not to ask why we couldn’t have seen the bloody consultant in the first place. The consultant was busy, and was going to call back, so we spent an uncomfortable twenty minutes with Comedy Colin trying to make Elliot laugh, through a bizarre series of activities including tickling, lying on the floor, and asking if Elliot would like to wobble his tummy.

At this point we realised the consultant probably wouldn’t call back, so we escaped with the promise that Colin would call us first thing on Monday with the consultant’s verdict.

It is now Wednesday and we’re still waiting for the call….

Shoplifters of the world unite

Elliot and I went into town earlier to buy some sports clothes because he’s started to recently play cricket. This is a massive achievement in itself because he’s not had the confidence to join any clubs outside school until recently.

So we needed to buy four pairs of identical jogging bottoms so that if he has an accident he can get changed and hopefully nobody will notice.

Managed to also almost accidentally shoplift while we were there. Picked up some shin pads and then Elliot urgently needed the toilet but there weren’t any in the shop. Because we’d just popped into town I’d not thought we’d be long and I’d foolishly forgotten to bring any spare clothes. So we had approximately 60 seconds to find a toilet.

I remembered there were some in the shopping centre just outside the sports shop so we ran out towards them.

Then we ran back in because I realised I was still holding the shin pads.

I put them in a sale display just by the door, Elliot went to the toilet, we returned to the shop, picked up the shin pads and carried on looking around. He then urgently needed another wee.

So we ran out again, remembering to drop the shin pads this time, went to the toilet, walked back in and picked up the shin pads. Again.

There were security guards watching us this time but thankfully no more toilet dashes were required. Although if they watch us back on CCTV we probably look decided dodgy.

But better than the last time I forgot to take spare clothes out with us and were a long way from any toilets. Elliot was desperate for a poo and I didn’t even have any bags or wipes or anything with me. In a panic I told him to do it at the side of the road. Felt relieved that we’d managed to avoid him doing it in his pants and having to try to walk home with it creeping down his legs. The relief lasted all of ten seconds until I realised there was no way of picking up the poo and you can’t just leave a poo in the gutter. It’s bad enough when dog owners do it, and I’m assuming a human turd is even more frowned upon.

So we went straight home and I picked up a plastic bag and drove back to the Site of the Shite. Stopped the car, got out, rescued the poo, and quickly drove home. If there was any CCTV around there they’ll definitely think I’m a complete lunatic with some kind of weird poo fetish.