Thursday, 20 November 2008

I am quite pathetic

So, I felt like yesterday afternoon I was teetering on the threshold of being just sick of work rather than actual sick. You know, when you've broken the automatic 'wake up, go to work' reflex and suddenly the prospect of going back there seems outlandishly stupid. Why? I can just sit here in this nest, can't I? I'm not doing anyone any harm just lying here, and occasionally making a cup of tea, am I? My bed was starting to look like Tracey Emin's. But with more socks (I have been trying to sort them out. I feel like the Sisyphus of socks. The CFO had to move about 8000 off his pillow to get to bed, because I became consumed with existential despair halfway through the task) and less sex stuff. And a laptop, because I am a sick junkie.

So this morning, I felt like I could swallow properly, which was progress, so without letting myself think about it at all, I got up and showered and put my clothes on, wrestled the spawn into theirs, took them to school. Back in the routine. You can see I've had cognitive behavioural therapy can't you? But then I got on the tram of death with the CFO, and about halfway I said "I think I might have to go back. I don't feel great. I can't see..."

Clunk. Darkness. Then the strange roaring noise and the confused images and the strange sensations (I remember something to do with a small box that was irritating me - maybe that would have been the tram?) and then a babble of voices but still darkness and then "Bébé? Ca va bébé? "

Bleugh. Wipe dribble off face. Sight gradually returning. I'm on the floor of the tram. It doesn't smell great. Fainting in the tram. Not recommended. Though, I have to say, we had a very merciful driver; he only went on another 4 stops before he stopped. I've seen tram drivers either dump the fainters on the pavement and go on, or just wedge them upright and keep going. I think in some corner of my mind I remembered this, because I could not be persuaded to try and sit up.

So then the cursing commuters climbed over me and out and some lovely ambulance men came and pricked my finger and took my blood pressure and strapped me on to one of those trolley things and put me in their ambulance and drove off with the flashing lights. I was sufficiently recovered to be quite excited by this. Flashing lights! Pin pon pin pon (that's nee naw nee naw in French). Cool. The CFO also enjoyed the ride now that I was no longer scaring him by pretending to be blind.

It gets quite boring after this. I am fine. Just, you know, normal sick. It is probably a "grippe intestinale" said the eight year old doctor. But the CFO and I had fun learning all about avian flu from the posters in the hospital (you are allowed to detect avian flu in both French and Dutch, but you can only "Protect yourself" in Dutch. Veeerrry interesting. Also the CFO's chicken sandwich in England on Tuesday puts us in the high risk category but we decided to keep this to ourselves) and playing the famous expat game "in England".

"In England, you wouldn't be in an actual room with a door. A door! Did you see, that doctor KNOCKED before she came in"

"Ha! A curtain, more like. No, no, I'd be propped on a chair in Casualty. And they wouldn't see me til tomorrow, in the hope that we'd get sick of the chair and just, you know, leave. Or get chased away by the winos."

"That's if they actually took you to hospital at all"

"Yeah, they'd probably have sat me in the back of the ambulance and given me a Mars Bar"

"No way, they'd have sent me to buy the Mars Bar"

"Actually, there wouldn't be an ambulance at all. There might be a London Underground first aider if I was REALLY lucky. Or, just, someone who did a course at school."

"Yeah, with a cup of water. No, a half drunk can of Red Bull"

"Noone would have actually noticed I'd fainted anyway because I'd have been kept upright by the crush"

"True. Probably someone would be tutting about you dribbling on their shoulder but not actually saying anything"

So then I paid my €4,90 (!) and went home and slept 'til school hometime. Hooray for Belgium. I was horribly tempted to leave them in the Soviet after-school club to dig salt mines for the directeur's retirement fund and sew jute sacks and do mass calisthenics in front of a smiling photograph of le Roi Albert. Even though they are both poorlyish. This should be a no brainer for a mother, shouldn't it? I should drag myself down there for my cherubs even after a double amputation. I am selfish. I compromised with my conscience and allowed myself an extra half hour of gentle moaning, but bought them both a Kinder Egg. That did the trick.

Next problem - corralling them. I really can't bear to be jumped on, I'll vomit (yeah, selfish, bad mother). I'm hesitating between PAYING them not to jump on me, and BMF's suggestion to "cover myself in knives like a hedgehog". Playhouse Disney is just deferring the problem. Any other suggestions before I lock myself in the loo and call social services?


Pochyemu said...

We had a verrryyyy similar conversation in A&E on Monday, except mine was along the lines of 'In America that nurse would care that I won't be able to breathe in a minute! In America, they wouldn't be in the corner laughing and talking!', punctuated by me sobbing.

I'm glad you are ok. What the fuck is happening this week? This has surely been one of the worst weeks in the world ever (ok, in our respective 'worlds'). All this illness and hospital...

I put pictures on my first post just to make you happy, SO BE HAPPY.

Persephone said...

Geez, your last comment in your last post scared the stuffing out of me! (As you might imagine, I'm a little more paronoid about ambulances and falling down than I used to be...) So, no hitting your head?
I can't think of any solutions (legal, that is) for keeping your young sons off your person until your innards remain inside other than tons and tons of kiddie television while you rest. I used to spread bath sheets on the bed, turn on the TV, and sink into a stupor, occasionally stirring to wad up a towel, fling it to the floor and position another.
My word verification is borillan which is what I'd use to launder the towels once I'd recovered.

justme said...

Oh POOR you.......thank goodness the CFO was there.
As to the need for quiet rest, haven't you got any x rated DVDs that they are not normally allowed to watch that you could bribe them with to stay away? Alternatively, just BE sick on one of them. That should do it!
Word verification is venizint....sounds like it should mean vomit in some language or other.
'Go away or I shall venizint on you.' Might work!

expateek said...

Oh, that's awful, the fainting business! I say, do the homeschooling thing, take the children out of school and you three can lie in bed and watch Shawn the Sheep over and over until you fall asleep.

Let the CFO find his own chicory for supper. I'm sure by now he's rigged up some kind of pulley system for opening the fridge. (Pulleys are amazing, really. You can pull about 40x your own weight if you create a compound pulley. About time he learned to pitch in, eh?)

omg... and my WF is bedessmo... how queer is that? bed?


But you really need to get some rest, sweets. Surrender. Your body's telling you something!

expateek said...

and why I thought the initials for "word verification" would be "WF" is ... not entirely clear.

gad. learn to read, expateek!

parisgirl said...

Sorry to hear you're not feeling great. What with the boobs and the fainting are you absolutely sure you're not, you know, how can I put it, um, er...?
(I cannot believe I've just asked such a personal question on a public forum!)

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Your doctor is obviously the uncle of my beardless example. They evidently start med school concurrently with junior school these days.

Poor you. Trams do not sound comfy. Isn't is peculiar when the world disappears down a roaring tunnel? And exiquisitely embarrassing?

Pin Pon Pin Pon?! Fabulous! Remind me what the french for Moo, Baa, Miaow and Oink are?

Jaywalker said...

I LOVE the pictures. Thanks Pochyemu. More!

Persephone - I like the towel mountain option, it's inspired. Plenty kiddy tv. Yes indeed.

Justme - yes, good idea the xrated dvds. I've cracked out "Jetix" the channel of violent Japanese animated nonsense.. No venizinting yet.

Expateek - ah, how did you know the CFO loves pulleys? He did fine for dinner. I have had a can of coke. We're all fine(ish). Did you like your gmail "persistent group chat"? I thought it sounded like this comments box.

PG - "in trouble" might the appropriate phrase here. But, god I hope not! Hey, I started it with talking about my chest issues.

(cat is same)
Groin groin (hee!)
Ducks go coin coin.

Oh, yes, it's ridiculous, the collapsing. I love general anasthetic (presumably because of the delicious morphine derivative pain meds), but fainting is just foul.

Jaywalker said...

OMFG gmail thinks what I REALLY need is "purée dorée à l'oeuf" (golden mash with egg). Er, NO?

Kate said...

awwww. poor, poor jaywalker. I am sending you some turkey soup from my freezer. Or would that give you avian flu.

word verification today: bancemi which i like to imagine is an actor - Steve Bancemi who people sometimes mix up with Steve Bucemi but Bancemi is less known for his roles as "customer" and "janitor" and "3rd waiter" than his counterpart.

katyboo1 said...

How bizarre. It just ate my comment.


Poor, poor you. Although I am very impressed that you had the energy and dedication to illness to faint on a tram.

I once fainted in Somerfield's cat food aisle and my brother had to give me a fireman's lift. It was most embarrassing.

I am v. impressed you got an ambulance, specially a pin pon pin pon ambulance. They are obviously superior to our crappy ones.

Try covering yourself in a suit of densely layered marshmallows, thus allowing the children to buffet gently away from you, and also providing noise deadening qualities. Try not to stand near a radiator.

Jaywalker said...

Kate - dammit, I'll take the risk! Steve Bancemi, also know as the voiceover man on feminine protection adverts. Bitter, twisted.

Katyboo - Your comment was delicious, nom nom nom just the thing for an invalid. I think they just liked playing with the pin pon pin pon thing. We certainly appreciated.

Red Shoes said...

Oh sweetheart, I can't believe it! That's exactly what happened to me last week, stomach virus, fainting and all. Only it wasn't on a tram, it was in front of a dozen people from church that I was helping to interview a new pastor. Oh, the woe! The going black, the sliding downward, the goosebumps and sudden sweat. All so horrid. Completely embarrassing.

I went home afterward and slept for 20 hours. It took 3 days to feel right again. Even though I felt ok on days 2 and 3, the weakness and intolerance of food remained. I wish I could speed your recovery for you. It will go away soon, I swear. Poor girl! It's just not fair, is it?

Katyboo's marshmallow suit idea sounds good, unless the smell of sugary mallowness will nauseate you. It's a risk, but one maybe worth taking. Marshmallow suit! How lovely.

P said...

The best part of this whole story is that you had a GENUINE REASON to not be at work! You fainted! In the line of duty! You are a martyr! Whenever I stay home, it's because I needed a mental health day an I tell them I have an inflamed uterus or something. No one asks. But you! You fainted! On your way to work!

What if you decorate your body with snot rags - perhaps that will put the boys off. It works for Fauxhawk.

Mr Farty said...

My WV is Harli - probly not a good idea to go riding one of those until you feel a whole lot better.


There, there, get well soon.

expateek said...

Yes! I'm feeling completely and utterly exposed by that "persistent group chat" ... i've been turning that over and over ever since... probably tomorrow I will expound.... mm yes. (unless it requires too much soul-baring. )

And I'm worried that WV has totally figured me out! Or gmail. Or ???? Paranoia abounds, as Polychemu has noted.

Otherwise, glad I've gotten wise to the CFO's love of pulleys. Somehow i feel a strange connection to him... as if I could read his little tortoise-type mind. I imagine his scrabbly little claws scritching across my forearm... and I am touched. Scritch scratch. Oh, the human-reptilian connection!

i'm impressed, really. Here i've had a wellesley education, and i connect with... a (probably well-educated i hope?) tortoise. No wonder the european union is so far ahead of us rubes who originate from north america...

So much more open-minded.

At least we all voted for Obama, yah?

Potty Mummy said...

You know, I believe you're so ill, that the virus has transferred to your blog - it took ages to load. Now that's an impressive bug...

Fat Controller said...

In this country, ambulances say "Baboo, baboo" or "babuh, babuh" depending on your phonetic interpretation. Sounds a bit more substantial than the tinny-sounding "pin pon" but then we do have the highest rate of taxation in Europe,if not the world, so we deserve the best in ambulance sirens.

Our hens say "Bok bok bok" by the way.

I had a word verification the other day: 'nonfist'. I can't even begin to assign a meaning to that.

Juci said...

Tell the boys to 'scuiteer'. At least that's what my WV suggests.
This illness sounds horrible and I hope you'll get well soon, but I must admit that the sentence that stood out from this post for me was the one about the socks covering the CFO's pillow, and him having to move them, and you not being able to muster up the necessary force of will to sort them. This was so chillingly, uncannily familiar - accurate to the last detail actually - that I started to wonder whether you were maybe living my life in a parallel universe or something. Man, do I hate those socks. There's so many of them, and they're all almost the same but not quite and my eyesight is crap, and have I mentioned that there's lots of them? I just pile them up on the guest bed and scavenge the pile every morning until I'm down to the last, unloved ones. And then it starts all over again.

Léonie said...

Oh, no! Fainting on a tram sounds bloody awful. Although I can well imagine that the pin pon pin pon made up for it slightly.

In England you would have been eyed loathingly by a rotund triage nurse who would have told you to come back when you'd been stabbed. Speaking of which, BMF's hedgehog suit suggestion is an excellent idea.

My other suggestion is dig a hole and sit in it (complete with Internet connection, of course).

ptooie said...

Ovast me hearty, try to feel better. (This thing comes up with the most fascinating words!!!)
Good luck keeping the children away. When one of us is sick, the other parent tries hard to keep the girls distracted but you know they have to check on us... by tapping repeatedly on the face. Hiding under a blanket sometimes works for me, once they get done 'finding' me they move on.
'pin pon pin pon' eh? Neat. My ambulance trip did not involve the siren. I guess since i delivered the baby while still in the house, they did not feel so very rushed to get to the hospital.

Kitschen Pink said...

Eeugh! The floor of public transport? yeuch! Go to bed, lock the door (or barricade it with furniture), and if necessary they can survive on kinder eggs and fizzy pop for...ooh.... at least 3 weeks surely - I mean it's whole milk chocolate! Only really one conundrum - why didn't the CFO manage to blag a day off work with you?!

Completely Alienne said...

As an alternative to a marshmallow suit you could try bubblewrap. I had to make one recently as Lenin's best friend wanted one for her 16th birthday (? grammar schools have gone down hill since my day). I made it like all in one pyjamas with velcro on the front to do it up. Apparently it caused a sensation at school with the rest of the class queueing up for a chance to try it on and fall over. (repeat, grammar schools are not etc etc). I still have tons of the stuff left in my shed. On second thoughts, it might be better just to wrap the two of them in bubble wrap - they would be so busy bursting each others' bubbles they would leave you alone for hours.

WV is binde, which seems quite appropriate

Pearl said...

What to do with them while you're sick. Hmmmm.
Well, it's too late for that whole adoption thing, isn't it? You're screwed. You're sick and you're screwed. Embrace it. Do you have a DVD player? Put a movie in, cover yourself with blankets and whatnot and refuse to move until you have to take them to school again.
Yeah. :-)

Jaywalker said...

Red Shoes - I know! I thought of you. I feel much better already though, so marshmallow suit is looking like a sound plan.

P - Yes! I feel like I should get some kind of medal. This is SO unlike me. I am more of the inflamed uterus/mental health day as a rule.

Mr F - thank you, I promise no harlis.

Expateek - scritch scratch indeed. You would be so disappointed if you actually met him, but the vision is a beautiful one.

PM - blog is ailing too. It's the charnel house round here, I tell you. I have a child that sounds like a tractor with me today. It is decidedly NOT fun.

FC - I like bok bok. Any other good animal noises?

Juci - oh, the socks. They are all black but none of them is quite the same. Horrific. We should just burn them.

Léonie - I always like it when you call NHS Direct and they ask you if you're conscious then totally lose interest.

Ptooie - You had the baby at home non-intentionally? Ye gods! Boys do not accept CFO as an appropriate substitute for The Soft Touch previously known as Maman. Sadly.

KP - Self-employed. Blagging a day off loses all its appeal!

CA - I'm just awed you made a bubblewrap suit. I want one! How amazing. There's a business idea in there, I'm sure of it.

Pearl - I am screwed. You are right. And now another one of them is too conspicuously sick to be discreetly taken to school so I have to watch Pokemon all day. What a week.

Léonie said...

My Jaywalker-related Christmas list:

1. That pony from the chemists
2. A bubble wrap suit

(WV is nonon which I fear is the inevitable response to the above list.)

Welsh Girl said...

Fainting is hideously horrible wherever it happens, but a tram is not a good choice! Go for an expensive shop next time where they will give you free things to make you get better and go away!
My WV is Stola - sounds like some kind of german christmas cake; you should have some in your bed of illness!

Jaywalker said...

Léonie, for you I went to the chemists today (also for drugs for Lashes), but the theft will be tricky. A bubble wrap suit might be more feasible.

Welsh girl - would it be like the legend about if your waters break in M&S you get showered with gifts?

Fat Controller said...

Rice krispies say 'Pif paf puf'instead of Snap, crackle and pop. I understand they say 'cric crac croc' in French. Is this right? How about in Flemish?

Word verification ic 'catie'. This is getting silly.

lisa in san diego said...

your story totally beats my "projectile-vomiting-in-the-lobby-of-my-office-building-at-high-noon" story. damn. glad cfo was there (not in my office building, i mean -- in your general vicinity).

my VW is "phosess", which is not interesting at all. much like my google terms.

Jaywalker said...

FC - I will investigate cereal noises.

Lisa - projectile vomiting sounds good too, though! I want to hear about that now. Please don't get a WV inferiority complex.

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William Lawson said...

As a Canadian who has lived in Mexico I also play this game (slight variation) when I return home. "In Mexico..." Always fun and enlightening as well as endearing to my fellow Canucks. Great blog!