Lower than Whale Shit

Shit day. SUCH a shit day.

Harry was inconsolable all night. His tongue ulcers became so bad that he couldn’t breastfeed – he’d latch on, then recoil as if he’d been burnt, and cry furiously with the pain. And they began to seriously smell. The ulcers, not my boobs. Harry normally has breath like a spring flower, but he’s developed the most pungent halitosis I’ve smelt in years. Possibly ever. I couldn’t get any fluids or painkillers down him at all to begin with, so at 1.30am John emerged from the spare room to find a feverish Harry bawling broken-heartedly on the bed, and me bawling broken-heartedly in the bathroom, frantically emptying out the medicine cabinet searching for a single remaining infant paracetamol suppository – which was actually under my nose all the while. John took Harry downstairs to rock in the chair for an hour, but he woke again on the way back upstairs.

By 6.30am I discovered the very end of my tether, and started crying more uncontrollably than my son. John had already left to take cattle to market. I had to do something Right That Minute or go stark mad with worry, so I bundled Harry – now sipping water, thank God – into the car and drove him over to A&E at Warwick.

Doctor was a nice chap, who contented himself with peering carefully at the ulcer-group at the front


taking my word for the fact that the ones further back were far bigger and uglier. Bonjela was apparently the best he could do for topical pain relief, and upon hearing that I couldn’t get oral medicine near Harry without being violently swatted, he gave me a further supply of paracetamol suppositories. I had been hoping for something pokier in the pain-relief department – no pun intended –  although I was never quite sure what. I suppose I was all ready to have Harry admitted and sedated so he – and I – could finally get some proper bloody sleep, whilst knowing perfectly well that was never a realistic option.

Doctor wasn’t sure if the ulcers were a bog-standard viral side-effect turned Bad Bad Bad, or primary infection with herpes simplex. He hummed and ah-ed over (unspecified, and I haven’t had the energy to google yet) possible side effects for a while, but eventually said he’d start Harry on herpes anti-viral therapy, with a view to the GP monitoring the situation in the next couple of days.

He gave me a prescription for the hospital pharmacy, which I vaguely thought, in my flustered state, was located in Outpatients, just next door. Except that the front door was locked, according to Bald Dude, who was just walking away from them, so I then carted 22lb Harry (a non-ambulatory wailing growth) and my changing bag, which despite being a thing of beauty weighs an approximate metric fucking ton, about quarter of a goddammed mile round the long route. I eventually arrived in Outpatients, sweating pints, cursing my aching arms and wondering why the hell I hadn’t gone back to the car for his pushchair. Bald Dude was lounging in an easy chair, not meeting my eye. Then the nice nursey told me that pharmacy hadn’t been in Outpatients for years – it wasn’t on the main site at all, but across the car park and further up the main road. Fuckit. Fuckit fuckit fuckit. 

I hauled Harry back to the car – a short trip, as we were virtually back where we started –  enjoying the relief that the brisk wind brought from his clinging close-range sewer-breath, and looked in the boot. Empty. No pushchair. I had no clear idea who had removed it, but I rang John up and chewed on him anyway. Ended call. Cried a bit more. I knew where Pharmacy was, now my brain was engaged. Knew it had no parking. Knew I had to walk.

I divested myself of the changing bag, and began to lug Harry yet another quarter of a mile. He was getting blown about by the gale and rained on a bit, despite my efforts to shield him. Plus, of course, he was heating up again from his fever, feeling icky from his illness, and suffering horrible miseries from his ulcers. Knowing all this did not make him any fucking lighter, or less upsetting when he started to kick me and pull my hair in tired frustration. I arrived at the pharmacy visibly harrassed, with a waily toddler, exactly one minute after they opened at 9am. You would think this might ensure a speedy service, but no. After 20 minutes of poorly-child hell, I was eventually compelled to point him, complete with his death-cloud breath, puddling dribble and irritable screams, right through the serving hatch. Fucking pharmacists.

Of course, when they eventually handed over the bulging full-to-brim paper bag, it contained oral anti-viral medicine to be taken 5 times a sodding day (did you hear what I said about Harry being nil by mouth, Doc?) and I realised I had no way of carrying the bag. I was obliged to cast the packaging right and left over their carpet  – 20 minutes, FFS! – whilst I crammed bottles, tubs and syringes into my coat pockets – which were already stuffed with my mobile phone, wallet and car keys.

So, on the return hike back to the car park, I’m not merely a crying, insanely overheated fat woman carrying a sick toddler, I’m a LUMPY, crying, insanely overheated fat woman with a headache, carrying a dribbling, stinking, sad, wind-blown, feverish lump of misery.

I got home and called my Mum. Like you do. When she arrived over here, her blue Nanny Emergency light flashing, God bless her, I had suppositorised him and coaxed him into dozing on the sofa.


He kept waking and crying piteously for cuddles every couple of minutes, so Mum (having washed up the dirty dishes from the meal I cooked her on Sunday – and sliced her finger open for good measure) sat motionless with him on her lap for 2.5 hours while he – and I – slept. During this time, John came home for his lunch and managed to score his usual domestic epic fucking fail by not offering her anything to eat, or even making her a drink.

Harry has accepted a little numbing Bonjela this evening, and consequently managed to eat a few soft foods and settle blissfully back onto the comfort of the Mummy-boob (I had, I confess, entertained a sneaking Thank God! Weaned the bugger! thought. But hey. He’s a happier boy tonight for having fed.) But he isn’t any better. Any at all. John put him to bed at 8, and he’s been up to him every 15- 20 minutes to re-settle him since.

I’ve had to give up the anti-viral meds already. We struggled hugely giving him doses 1 and 2, and by dose 3 he was simply beside himself, struggling dementedly, kicking and clamping his mouth shut, violently distressed. I started crying too, and decided it wasn’t worth upsetting us all so much in order to give him a drug for a condition he may not even have. Plus, I’ve just googled the miserable-sounding side effects.

We’re seeing our GP tomorrow morning to re-group and see if he has any bright ideas about ulcers – which, of course, he won’t, but I feel better for knowing that we have that slot booked – but that leaves tonight to get through first. I can’t manage a 4th sleepless night – I am aware that I am exhibiting signs of what could be termed Stress –  so we’ll split the night up. John has just elected to do the first one, so I had better go and actually, you know, try to relax.


22 Responses

  1. How about asking your GP about “magic mouthwash”, the pharmacist over here prescribed it for Maddie once, I think it has Benadryl and Maalox in it? I know you would still have to get it in his mouth, but it does work.

  2. That sounds absolutely awful, for everyone involved. I’m trying to think of what could help his little mouth, unfortunately most of it involves getting something in there. If it is HSV1, it should start resolving itself soon, not that that helps you now. You’re doing the best that you can.
    As an aside, I would like a password! I’ve been reading you for a little while, I think I found you through Barren Mare.

  3. Oh my goodness, look at his poor little tongue! How miserable! Definitely looks viral to me, and I’m still thinking Coxsackie (you’ll know if they go to his hands and feet next…oh also his bum, sad to say). That’s the only thing I’ve ever seen that’s anything like the picture, although I’ve never seen a Coxsackie ulcer of that SIZE before (and you say the ones further back are BIGGER?!? Poor Harry!)…he looks so pitiful passed out on the couch, with his little fever-flushed cheeks. And you sound pretty miserable your own self. Dunno what to tell you; it’s a Catch-22 situation in that anything that might make him feel better has pretty much got to go in his mouth (except the paracetamol, heh). Sorry to hear you’re all having such a miserable go of it.

  4. Oh, hon. I have no good advice. That photo of the poor little guy on the couch–sniff. I just want to give your doctors a shake and get them to give you something more effective and helpful. I am glad your mother can help you out.

    I wish waves of sympathy could do you some good–well, I hope they do in some distant way.

  5. Poor Harry and poor you. I hope you manage to get a bit of rest. What an annoying pain to put the pharmacy in such an inconvenient location! And with no parking!

    I hope Harry’s feeling better soon. It’s possible that it is hand/foot/mouth disease, which my sister says should be hand/foot/mouth/butt disease. I think it’s MFA Mama’s Coxsackie. My daughter had it recently, but she (fortunately) did not get the mouth part.

    I would like the password too…

  6. Holy crap, what a lousy day. I got a bit sniffly over the return-through-the-car-park trip.

    For kids who REFUSE oral meds here, doctors sometimes do a bolus injection under the skin – basically the whole course of med in one fell swoop, gradually absorbed. Looks like a subcutaneous golf ball for a while but it’s better than the sick-baby wrestling match. Feel better soon, littlest farmer boy.

  7. Poor poor Harry. Those ulcers! My God, I would be crying too, to have them and to see them on my babe.
    All I can think of to help is iced lollies, but I don’t know they’d do any good and you probably thought of that ages ago.
    Hoping hoping hoping it gets better soon.
    I’d like a password too, but don’t like to intrude.

  8. Oh geepers.

    I am not wanting this scenario avec multiple babies, but it’s inevitable at some point, right?

    Also, I don’t normally advocate sedatives in kids, but it might help you AND poor Harry get some much needed rest.

    My husband gets terrible apthous ulcers (mouth ulcers), bloody things are mostly idiopathic, including in his case. We’re tried the bonjela (but it wears off FAST), viscous lignocaine gargle (no good in kiddos), lots of paracetamol and every other OTC analgesic in the book. We’ve even injected local anaesthetic into the bases of em. The bloody things HURT.


  9. oh holy hell that sounds horrible beyond belief. I’d send my best hopes for a good night of sleep tonight for you both, but it’s either 6:30 or 7:30 tomorrow morning for you, so I think my timing may be a bit off!!! Stupid time zones.

  10. Poor little sausage. You too. Really hoping for some sleep for you both, and some relief for Harry.

  11. oh poor poor harry, poor poor you! Thank goodness for Granny. I hope the doc has at least something more helpful than oral meds. Ugh.

  12. You poor poor things. Hopefully by now the GP will have come up with some more stuff which you can actually get in Harry to ease the pain.

  13. Poor poor baby! And poor you. And stupid doctor! Many drugs comes in liquid form and some can be crushed and given in jelly or in ice cream or another small amount or some food like cream cheese that Harry might eat. And there are other antiviral that only have to be given twice a day, ask your GP for one for the newer ones. It is of course more expensive, but you take it for less days and only a couple for times a day.
    Hope this helps.

  14. What an absolute SHIT of a day. My heart goes out to you. And to that poor child. Am hoping with all my heart he’s feeling better and you’ve managed to all get some sleep. Poor kid. Poor little chap.

    *hugs*. I’d’ve sat down in the street and screamed.

    If your GP has nothing sensible to say, tell me the address and I will go there and I will deploy the Librarian Eyebrow. And there will be a smell of burning over the land.

  15. I love you. And Harry. And I’ve had a feverish, sweaty, sobbing, sleepy boy on me for 90% of the day today, so I know how you feel.

  16. That picture of Harry passed out on the couch breaks my heart into little pieces. It should be illegal for small children to hurt like that; those mouth ulcers look terrible.

    I second the idea of Maalox, if he’ll allow you to put any in his mouth. (I hear you on how dicey that’s been.) I know this is slightly gross but could you smear some on your boobs so that he gets some next time he nurses? Maybe combine it with the numbing gel? I don’t know if that would work, I’m just throwing out ideas.

    I’m thinking of you all and sending prayers for Harry’s swift healing. And lots and lots of hugs. Kiss Harry for me.


  17. Oh no! I hope all are feeling much better soon!

  18. So sorry for both you both and poor miserable and suffering little Harry. Sending my best “Piss Off” vibes to the mouth ulcers and whatever is causing them. Hope the long journey across the world does not weaken the Industrial Strength Effort I put into sending them.


  19. Oh my – what an awful, awful day you’ve both had!! I hope the GP can give you both some comfort and that Mr. Harry is on the mend soon.

  20. Oh, how utterly dreadful an ordeal for you and Harry! I hope the antivirals clear up those ulcers in short order.

  21. how awful – poor kid, I really do feel for him. I hope he gets better soon.

    By the way, if you are making your blog “for your eyes only” please could send me the password?!

  22. Poor Hairys – poor all of you. I’m actually rather horrified, and don’t know who to feel sorrier for.


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