We had a number of plans for the weekend. Nothing earth shattering or mind blowing: a little winter cleaning, a little life laundry, etc. Mainly we just wanted to get the Christmas decorations and tree up and to make an occasion of it for the kids.
Instead the weekend ended up with my youngest boy, Tom, wearing a cardboard bedpan on his head at the local hospital because to him it was not a bedpan but a cowboy hat.
How did we get there...?
Well, my wife, Karen, had been feeling rotten all last week and towards the end was too ill and too uncomfortable with stomach pain to go into work. Unfortunately there is a hell of a lot of stomach bugs going round at the moment so our local GP was not unduly concerned. By Friday, however, she'd taken a turn for the worse and the GP requested she attend the surgery before it closed for the weekend.
The last thing Karen wanted to do was get out of bed and go into the snow to be poked about by the doctor but, thank God, that is what we eventually did.
The doc wasn't happy and diagnosed, "hospital".
Now given that Karen was unable to drive because of her condition and I am unable to drive because I have never taken my test we would have been stuck indeed but instead are indebted to our neighbour and to a work friend who between them both have ferried us all around since this whole thing kicked off.
So Friday night we all - me, Karen and the boys - found ourselves stuck in A&E for 5 hours while they prodded, probed, removed blood and X-rayed Karen in their attempts to form a proper diagnosis.
None of these tests went to waste. The final diagnosis was Colitis - inflammation of the colon. And severe dehydration. Severe enough that she has still been on a drip today. Thank God we went to the doctors - I think the outcome could have been far worse if we'd delayed any longer.
So that rather changed the structure of the weekend. I've been a single parent for about 3 days (and counting) and though I am coping (i.e. the boys are wearing clean clothes, eating proper meals and going to school / nursery as usual) I am frazzled to say the least. It hasn't left much room for writing or "me time" and I deeply admire those genuine single parents who manage to balance family responsibilities with responsibilities towards the self.
Karen is recovering well. I have been to see her again today and the doctors are talking of allowing her home either tomorrow or Wednesday but she is officially signed off work until next Monday. I'm off work until Wednesday - my boss has been very understanding.
The boys are fine - the oldest, Ben, has taken refuge in his DS (a coping strategy I am sure) and the youngest, Tom, has occasional sulky moments when he grabs my face, fixes me with a hard Paddington Bear stare and demands, "where's my mummy; not fair, want mummy". I think I have impressed on him that mummy will be home soon. He's been ambivalent about his trips to the hospital - no kid likes them, let's face it - but he did enjoy playing with the bedpan (unused) and that has been the light relief for this interminably long weekend.
I am praying that normal service - on all fronts - will be resumed very shortly.
P.S. To those Bloggers and Tweeters who already knew of these events and offered their support and warm wishes - a heart felt thanks.