Slipknot

A few days ago, tired, fractious Harry and I were trudging our way through the supermarket checkout in the early evening. To my delight, the store was having a promotion and helium balloons festooned the checkout; I quickly knotted one to the trolley handle to stave off melt-down. In undisputed possession, Harry temporarily transformed into a very happy bunny indeed. Outside, he batted at it, chortling in pleasure, whilst I loaded the car boot with groceries.

‘Uh-oh.’

I glance up at my balloon boy, and decant another bag into the car.

*Insistently* ‘UH-OH!’

I look at him, and turn to follow his perturbed gaze, a couple of hundred yards across the car park. Sure enough, some poor child’s balloon has come loose from its moorings, and is rapidly gaining height.

Some day, lovey, I thought, the wind is going to blow your balloon away. Or your candy floss. Now that’s a sad sight when you’re three: a fuzzy pink stick, where a nano-second beforehand there was a toothsome pink cloud of enamel-dissolving sugar.

So, for no better reason than a vague attempt at installing some concept of empathy as the occasion had arisen, as well as a smidge of preparatory emotional cushioning against future mishaps, I decided to give a Life Really Sucks lecture.

‘Oh, no! Harry! Another little boy has lost his bouncy balloon!’

Solemn nod.

‘Oh, Harry, that’s quite (Makaton-sign for) *SAD* sad.’

Another nod. *SAD*

‘Maybe he will have more *MORE* balloons tomorrow and he will be happy *HAPPY* again.’

Uncertain look. Little head-shake.

‘I think that little boy is probably a bit sad *SAD* at the moment though, isn’t he? He can see it flying away, look!’

Enthusiastic nod. *SAD*

‘Well, darling, it IS sad when you lose your balloon, but I don’t think he’ll be sad for very long, though, will he?’

Nod. Taps own chest.

‘Oh, Harry, are you sad *SAD* for that little boy? That poor little boy who has lost his balloon?

Emphatic, full-on nod. Chest tap. Puppy-eyes.

My focus broadens to take in the trolley handle.

The empty trolley handle.

I’ve been extolling the misery of watching your balloon fly away to a tiny little boy who is watching his balloon fly away. 

 

Advertisements

Pong

Fact Number One:

There has been a damn funny smell in our kitchen for the last couple of weeks. It started as a breath of unpleasantness which I quite happily ignored: the house is inhabited by a farmer, complete with encrusted overalls carrying their own individual bouquet, two extremely clarted dogs (just so we’re clear, by ‘encrusted’ & ‘clarted’ I actually mean shit-plastered) and a toddler who not only insists on being ambulatory whilst eating, but drops food behind him like rain. We frequently have zephyrs of Unpleasantness passing through, and they are thankfully transitory. The dogs generally find the dropped food before I do, then leave, in company with the offending overalls, and we return to the usual inoffensive status quo. 

This particular scent stuck around. It became Ominous. Initial forays in cupboards, under the sofa, behind the dresser and beneath the island all drew a blank. It was a tang I couldn’t positively identify, but it was certainly beginning to fill me with a mild apprehension. The last time I was obliged to investigate an emanation that had outstayed its welcome, I dragged a furry dog bed out from under the worksurface to discover that my extraordinarily dim spaniel (frequently in disgrace) had eaten a small bird before vomiting it neatly UNDER the top cushion of said bed.

I began to think about the parents of an old boyfriend of mine, who had a similarly elusive aroma in their immaculate, minimalist master bedroom in a recently converted old barn. We crawled all over that room, sniffing like the Bisto kids,

 trying to pin down the origin and nature of the Whiff. We emptied the wardrobes. We took the bath side panel out. We turned out the divan bed drawers. We discussed anxiously whether there was an animal buried under the floor that was mysteriously sending a putrid stench through the concrete floor raft.

Eventually, someone shone a torch into the 1-inch gap between the divan bed and the floor, and it was suddenly like that scene out of Se7en where Brad Pitt goes all hoarse.

‘You better come take a look at this!’ 

It transpired that the cat had brought in a mouse that was not quite expired; it had evidently scurried just underneath the bed before finally succumbing to its injuries. I am puzzled to this day to how the decay of this tiny creature could produce such a noxious, near-solid stink, but it was a real rip-snorter of a whiff right enough.

As I say, this episode, coupled with the Congealed-Bird-In-Dog-Bed Horror, was making me nervous. I had searched everywhere, sniffing like the bloody Child Catcher, and drawn a blank. Walking into our kitchen was becoming distinctly – and increasingly – repulsive.

Fact Number Two.

During my recent short-lived pregnancy, I had a collection of pregnancy sticks lined up on the kitchen table, where anxious comparisons of the (phenomenally sensitive. A win for Tesco’s own brand pregnancy tests!) line colour-depth were made on a day to day basis. Following an excruciating incident when I unexpectedly entertained 3 friends, in full view of the elephant in the room row of fading peesticks, I decided that they would be better off living concealed in the tin on which I had been balancing them in order to photograph.

I duly shoved them in there, and dismissed them from immediate consideration. I wasn’t planning on taking them upstairs and storing them, but neither was I quite ready to throw them away; they were the only thing I had to reassure me that I hadn’t imagined the whole incident.

Can you connect facts One and Two? No? Well, here you go:

Fact Number Three.

Our kitchen island often looks like this;

the tin is vaguely visible on the left hand side.

Every few weeks someone generally wants me to create something that requires a hygienic kitchen and a large clear space, so I boot every living thing apart from myself out the door and blitz the rubble of bills, toys, fruit, cameras, paints, coins, binoculars, catalogues, telephones, fridge magnets, biscuits, books, newspapers, junk mail and cheque books into tidy order. Upon performing this task earlier this week, I looked at the peestick tin and resolved that it would actually suit Harry’s crayon collection better than his current pot. I also decided that I was now ready to let go of my ephemeral double lines. I moved toward the bin, briskly removed the lid, and… wowsa.

Ain’t nothing ephemeral about that.

Now. Ladies. I know quite a few of you have kept your ancient, yellowing, positive pregnancy tests. That’s just fine. I still have the first two positives I ever had, in fact, sat harmlessly in an envelope upstairs in the bathroom cupboard. The trick to keeping old tests successfully, it appears, is to keep them someplace where gaseous exchange isn’t an issue.

In other words, don’t keep them in a very-nearly-but-not-quite-airtight tin where they can’t dry out.

They pong, you see. And when you have 8 of them, they have a reek-potential level somewhere between ‘Eye-Watering’ and ‘Deadly Poisonous’. Merely putting the cap back over the damp end does not mean that you have rendered them socially acceptable and futureproofed.

Urine smells!

And I live and learn.

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Apropos of the No Eggs! Cockerel Complex! whimpers that populated my previous post, Thalia comments:

Um. I assume you did either chemistry or biology o-level. And if you remember back to those days you’ll remember that UNITS are very important. And now if I tell you that UK measurements of E2 are made in pmol/litre and US units (and the charts which show normal levels) are shown in pg/ml, you’ll hopefully start to blush a little, then feel relieved. Divide 94 by 3.67 (see here http://www.globalrph.com/conv_si.htm) and you’ll get your actual level according to this chart (http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/hormonelevels.html#female). 94/3.67=25.6 or NORMAL.

Now stop worrying. hahahahaha

Brains. The lovely lady haz dem in spades! And also, bloody Americans! If you hadn’t gone and DONE stuff back in 1775, and become this whole swanky World Power thing, we’d all be singing together uproariously from the same scientific hymn sheet right now – and I wouldn’t have had a sleepless night.

All this is precisely why Doctors cry and hammer their heads into the desk when their patients confidently pipe up with their self-diagnoses of beri-beri, leprosy or galloping dandruff. Although, they can’t entirely blame the phenomenon of internet…

Jerome K Jerome: Three Men In A Boat. Published 1889.

THERE were four of us – George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were – bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it. Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that HE had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what HE was doing. With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.

It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn’t I got housemaid’s knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid’s knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me.

I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to “walk the hospitals,” if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma. 

Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I have since been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out as far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye, and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had scarlet fever.

I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.

I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:

“Well, what’s the matter with you?”

I said:

“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.”

And I told him how I came to discover it all.

Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it – a cowardly thing to do, I call it – and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.

I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back.

He said he didn’t keep it.

I said:

“You are a chemist?”

He said:

“I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me.”

I read the prescription. It ran:

“1 lb. beefsteak, with
1 pt. bitter beer
every 6 hours.
1 ten-mile walk every morning.
1 bed at 11 sharp every night.
And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”

I followed the directions, with the happy result – speaking for myself – that my life was preserved, and is still going on.

A Bargain Assortment of Bads and Goods

I’m sat here deciding whether to compare myself to a busy bee, an army ant or a blue-arsed fly. Whatever. You get the picture: me, insect, scary hybrid, yes?

My exoskeleton bum has not touched the ground much. I have actually got going properly with my cards since returning from that thing I loosely termed a holiday, and have finally turned over my first thousand quid. This is money I can keep all to myself!  must share with the Inland Revenue  must give to John, who pays my credit card  must use to pay Harry’s nursery fees will never actually see, but it’s highly satisfying to have my own funds in my wallet, nevertheless. John keeps asking hopefully when he can retire.

Tomorrow afternoon we are off to hear how desperate – or not – my FSH levels and all my other assorted bloodwork gubbins are. I am taking my ultrasound report: the bad one. I think it’ll either be cameras or knives next. Bring ’em on.

Harry has passed his exams, bought a car, left home and got married since I last posted. Or… something very much approximating to it, anyway.

I have explained here before that Harry, in addition to a walloping great speech delay, has a further communication block with the concept of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He can’t say the words, does not understand what nodding means, and has only recently begun to shake his head occasionally, when he wants to emphatically and imperiously reject something actually being physically held out towards him.

Over the last couple of weeks John and I both felt that his understanding had moved up a gear; that, in subtle and indefinable ways, he was much more au courant with our conversations and activities. On a hunch, I crouched in front of him last Sunday evening, gained his eye contact and spoke up clearly:

‘Harry! Yes or No? Would you like an ice cream?’

‘DJESS!’

Cue much, much jollity. I wasn’t sure he’d do it again, but he has, he has, he totally bloody well has, every day since, although not quite yet every time. Sometimes the word isn’t recognisably a ‘yes’ – it can default to ‘dat!’ or ‘giss!’ but that’s not so important in the scheme of things. Even more encouragingly, a day or so afterwards he began to shake his head in response to spoken concept choices. Predictably, the first instance of his demonstrating this was our asking him if he would like to go to bed; there was an icy, considering stare, followed by a determined shake. He promptly slithered off the sofa and beetled off at high speed to hide in the kitchen. John and I laughed like a pair of blocked drains, and he did, in fact, buy himself another 20 minutes of play time with that shake.

This is, obviously, several different and fetching shades of Complete Awesomeness.

He is still dribbling buckets and has his fingers permanently jammed in his mouth. I was convinced the dribble must be low muscle tone until I peered inside his mouth during naptime earlier today and found that 2 of his secondary molars were erupted – and obviously have been for quite a while – and the two remaining baby teeth are bulging at bright red and white gums. That’d be a Maternal Observation for Dummies: Module One FAIL, then. 

I also spotted that this peculiarly yellow, calciferous-looking tooth

Harry tooth

harry tooth 2

has not improved any since the last time I had a squint at it. The rest are all pearly white and smooth, but this one popped out of the gum bright yellow and obviously has something strange going on. I know enamel irregularities are rather more common amongst premature children, but I don’t like the look of it  – or the sides of his rear tongue – much. I don’t expect it’s significant, but I’ll show it his Paed in any event.

What else? Ah, yes, physio. I wrote a stinking email to the head of Paediatric Physiotherapy, challenging their refusal to treat Harry if I supplemented his treatment with private care; I mentioned in passing his other professional care input. She rang me back to apologise for the ‘miscommunication’ and freely admitted she had not prioritised Harry: his Paediatrician’s referral had made no mention of the fact he also recieved Speech Therapy and Portage from the multi-disciplinary team, merely that his parents had concerns regarding his mobility. I knew this to be perfectly true – I have a copy of the referral – but I rather thought the fact that they do all work for the Integrated Disability Service was significant. She explained that the involvement of other professionals generally rang warning bells for them, and that Harry would now be seen within a fortnight. Result. Of course, if I had listened to John and asked Harry’s Portage key worker to hurry the physio referral along on our behalf, he’d have been seen a month or more ago. My bad.

In an entirely different Not Listening to Hubby (My Bad) episode: my friend had a old summerhouse she wanted rid of, which was the precise size and dimensions that I have been hankering after and scouring Ebay unsuccessfully for. We agreed on giving her £20 for it, and I booked Hubby + trailer + strong right arm to come and dismantle it from her garden last Wednesday.

John was dubious about the whole idea, and said so. He was excessively mentally scarred during a dilapidated greenhouse dismantle-and-reassemble project that his Mother talked him into, a decade or so back. John’s unprecedentedly savage response to the absolute piglet job she had landed him with (some of his muttering was, apparently and unusually, actually audible and decipherable) has remained the talk of the family ever since, and he has entered a firm nolle prosequi to assorted proposals of garden buildings removal ever since. I have, however, been banging on relentlessly about wanting a summerhouse for a couple of years, and we haven’t been able to afford so much as a dog kennel, so he cautiously agreed.

Readers, he was nasty to me when he saw it. Admittedly, it was rather more rotten than I realised and the roof was larger than the estimations I had given him by a factor of roughly 350%. He attacked it brutally with a crowbar, ignoring my yammering protests when aesthetic or vital bits splintered and ricocheted off in all directions. I kept a low profile for the rest of the day. I have no idea where it currently is: John drove down to the farm with an expression that indicated the only place he was considering parking the trailer was by the burning heap. I haven’t asked after its fate.

The day after that, John and I managed to miscommunicate badly, with the net result that he thought I was aware he had left Harry downstairs watching TV, and I was in the shower thinking Harry had gone with John to the farm. After 30 minutes of blissful leg-shaving-hair-drying-toenail-painting-me-time, during which I had been strangely puzzled by the odd thumps and bangs from (I presumed) our tortoise, given that we were supposedly alone together, I arrived downstairs to encounter – horrified – a totally naked small boy, a puddle of wee (these first two items are common encounters) a torn £50 note, a wallet emptied, plastic and coinage contents scattered to the winds, and a number of ‘don’t touch that, please, Harry!’ items where they shouldn’t have been. Our bad.

I have made jam.

The great jam massacre

Lots and lots and lots of jam, nearly all of it either under-or-over boiled. Damn you, £6 Lakeland jam-thermometer. Bloody thing. It tastes fine – I didn’t burn any of it this year, at least – but most of it needs bringing out of the jar with either a chisel or a spoon. I have 2kg of preserving sugar left, and probably ought to go and relieve the groaning trees of their plums – fnarr, fnarr – but I’m not sure I can face the inevitable jam carnage again.

I was going to do a post about dozens of things this week, and had time for none of them, but I want to write a little about about our local ploughing match, despite the fact that I was flustered (due to downstairs-alone-toddler) and took no camera – without which I can’t do the event justice. A shame, as it was held this year in fields perched high above the River Arrow valley with simply glorious views. There are proper, old-fashioned Bilbo-Baggins eleventy-first-party white marquees, built with huge centre poles and hemp-type guy ropes; men with ancient tractors roaring away industriously at their rich, dark, straw-scattered furrows 10 feet outside the marquees; the hedgelaying competitors turning a straggling, leggy length of centuries-old hedge into – well, I never quite understand how they judge hedgelaying sections, but it certainly looks neater when they’ve finished; the Shire horse pairs with their gleaming flanks, braided manes and tails, fluttering head plumes and polished show harness; the 100-year-old traction engine and threshing drum making an almighty racket as wiry old men feed armfuls of wheat into its maw, and honest-to-God agricultural types who turn up in tractors and battered 4x4s wearing a green-to-dun spectrum assortment of boiler suits, cotton checked shirts, boots, wellies, flat caps, waxed hats and Barbours, complete with a thick scattering of farmers’ wives, who bring splashes of pastels and bright pinks to the golden straw-stubbled field. There was a light breeze, scattered clouds, bright sun, a fresh smell of straw, liberally mixed with horse shit and tractor oil – and I was unusually and fabulously happy. I do love this event, even when it’s pissing down with rain. As I was, for the first time, working as opposed to visiting, I was inside a marquee selling cards with tractors on for most of the day, but I was by the door and could see over the main field and valley beyond. My Mum bought Harry along in the afternoon and he went potty with excitement over… just about everything. A good day. A really, really good day.

Speaking of which, Harry had a good time at nursery last week. I stayed with him for the Tuesday session, but he flew the nest alone on Thursday with barely a wobble when he saw I wasn’t staying. I bawled all the way home; he had a marvellous time. They are still getting used to his wobbles, and he came home with an – unmentioned – small red welt under his eye which later turned into a shiner, but that is unfortunately almost a bi-weekly event for Harry in any case. I’m not surprised they didn’t mention it, they won’t have noticed him do it. On Tuesday, I was asked by one of the junior staff if Harry’s tolerance to pain was ‘like, insanely high’?

Sigh. Oh, he feels it, all right, luv. He’s just used to it.

He’s off again tomorrow morning, and I have the unaccustomed luxury of deciding what particular household or business activity I want to apply myself to. Last Thursday I had an order for a birthday cake to keep me (very) busily employed (fun to do if you can spare the time, but hugely unprofitable unless you charge a small fortune – and absolute murder on your back) (the first person to tell me that the Union Jack is missing some bits gets a poke in the bloggy eye. It was late, I was tired, I was aching, and John is still blinking);

Suitcase cake 1

Suitcase cake 2

but tomorrow I am free to choose what I do in my toddler-free slot. 

Reading with your feet up is a household activity, surely?

Couldn’t Hit a Cow’s Arse with a Banjo

HFF wifey has been busy; neglectful of bloggy chums (for which I abjectly apologise; I have still been reading) and a victim of faceless cyberspace malevolence. I am not glamourous enough for it to be the flamey-trollish kind of random malice – only the very best bloggers attract that sort of spineless venom – my emails simply quietly decided to stop appearing in my inbox, having got themselves thoroughly bunged up out in cyberspace. I have 3 email addresses and it took me some weeks to notice that I wasn’t recieving things that I should be. It took me even longer to get myself together sufficiently to report the problem to tiscali, no time at all for them to email back from India (incomprehensibly), another week for me to force myself to actually decipher their meaning and fire back another email, a further 2 hours for them to send their automated

Response
Thank you for contacting Tiscali UK Ltd.In an effort to improve the speed and accuracy of our email customer support we ask that all support contact requests now go through our online support area.Please click the following link access our online support Online Help

email requesting me to contact them via the route I was already using – and about another hour after that for me to realise that the only person who was ever likely to sort this out was myself.

Our main email address is fine. The email I recently set up as Harry’s name (my own was already bagsied) is fine. Hairyfarmer@tiscali.co.uk which (by what I’m sure is complete co-incidence. Almost) was set up by Hubby – was not fine. The emails that I had shouted at Stratford college that very morning for repeatedly not sending were (ahem!) all there – and I blush to think of what Shannon & Alistair must have thought of me, as there were 4 or 5 emails in among the 55 (not a spam among them! they were all ones I wanted!) I discovered, asking, in increasingly shy terms, whether I wanted to, you know, come to a party?!

So: Utter Mortification has featured highly on my emotional agenda this week. So has Frustrated Crossness, as all three of us are still horribly diarrhoea-stricken. I have also had more than a soupcon of Envious Angst, as a friend (a nice and lovely friend, too) has announced this week that she is entering her second trimester. Absurdly, all the ‘left behind on the breeding! WAH!’ feelings that should have been banished forever by Harry’s birth have snuck in round the back when I wasn’t watching and bit me hard on the bum. I harbour no seething rages towards the lucky expectee, mind you – in distinct contrast to my usual reaction, prior to Harry – but I am officially Jealous as Fuck, can’t stop telling myself that she’ll have a bump and I won’t, and experienced significantly less hand-wringing and pointless vacillation than usual when my LH surged Sunday night.

Jealousy is not the only thing to bite me on the bum lately: I was delivering some flyers around my local village Sunday last, when an elderly canine denizen took a marked dislike to my face, even greater exception to my (calmly) departing rear, and launched itself snarling at my arse. How it missed the target is completely beyond me – major cataract affliction is the only explanation I can proffer – but it did, and my favourite shirt was the sole item left perforated. 

dog damage

The owner – alerted by my issuing a loud bollocking on the topic of The Error Of Your Ways to his dog – was fairly apologetic and embarrassed – although I note he never actually left his doorstep – and I mentally had him pegged as someone who would respond to my flyer out of sheer guilt and desire to make reparations, and turn up on the designated morning in order to spend some money. 

I constantly misjudge the human race!

I was intending to explain why I was in happy expectation of an opportunity to see an open wallet, but there are wails from upstairs and I feel Naptime – that brief daily oasis – is Over. Tomorrow!

Philogynae. In A Nice Way.

Or, Not A Misogynae At All.

Fact One

Attentive readers – which is all of you, yes? – will have picked up the fact that Dire Rear is currently doing the rounds of the Hairies. We are not incapacitated or in pain, nor is every visit to the toilet a sickeningly liquid one – yet we have a confirmed collective case of the Runnies. A stool sample from Harry – the most persistently affected and whose bottom skin status is hovering at Precarious – has migrated from its very own shelf in the fridge (because… well, just because) to the lab for testing.

Fact Two

I had an appointment with a consultant gynae yesterday in order to assess quite how much damage my dear child’s head actually inflicted during his emergence into the world.

Fact Three

Fact One impinged on Fact Two. 

I was sat quietly in the waiting room, minding my own Twitter, watching the various clinic nurses materialise from various far-flung corners of the building to summon their victims patients, when the unmistakable sensations began. I have 2 uteri shoehorned into a space that is only really designed for one; consequently I am extraordinarily sensitive to the peristalsis of the last half-foot of large intestine that runs behind my uteri. During period-time in particular, and whenever the uteri are feeling sensitive, bowel-filling (I can hear you clicking away in droves…) is a sensation which curls my legs up in pain. 

Having a crowning head stuck half-way out scores a 10 on my personal scale. The worse of my contractions were probably a 8. This is about a 4, and gets my undivided attention. And it was happening in the bloody waiting room. My appointment was at 3pm,and it was already 3.05pm. What to do?! There was no receptionist. I would have to ask a random stranger to inform any nurse hollering my name where I actually was. And they could disappear for their own appointment any moment – so they’d have to tell someone else! It would be Chinese Whispers! Pass it on: Mrs. Hairy Farmer is in the toilet, folks! And it wasn’t as if I could pretend I was just vanishing for a quick wee; I could tell I had serious business – of uncertain consistency! – to attend to that today (a warm day), of all days, should not be hurried or skimped. Or could I actually get away with putting it off? I’d surely not be in clinic long…? I could hold on…

I had just decided that Out was better than In, turned to my neighbour and braced myself womanfully for the inevitable embarrassment – when my nurse rocked up and announced cheerfully that ‘the doctor will see you now’! Aaaaiiiiee! Too late! I walked briskly behind her, sending stern Be Still! messages downstairs. Sensations subsided. Definitely not a liquid offering; I relaxed a little. Panic over.

So, I sat and talked to Gynae-man, who was lovely, gigglesome, courteous, articulate, and clearly knew his didelphic onions. I explained my various symptoms – I shall spare you the details, any of you that are still grimly hanging on – and then it was time for The Examination.

I have never had a exam from… ahem… the rear before. Being asked to lie on my side and bring my knees up to my chin: I could cope with happily enough. It was the subsequent elevation of my leg towards the ceiling that gave me the cringes. It’s not dignified, is it? At least there was a handy bracket for the anglepoise lamp that I could rest the waving-in-the-air leg on for a while before he decided he needed a… umm… wider angle, and Cheerful Nurse had to earn her money with some sterling prop-work.

The difference between a skilled Speculum Driver and an unskilled… sigh. At no point did I squeak, hiss, draw breath, stifle a groan, or let out a small moan of entirely the Bad Sort. I think I did, however, let out a small and silent fart when he, watching the area in question closely, asked me to cough. My feelings on this would usually be a hot mess of shame, but in the circumstances, considering what I was holding back, I feel the man got away lightly.

The only tricky part came when he asked me to really… push. Push hard. Push like I ‘needed a number two’, God bless his euphemistic heart. I gave it as much welly as I could – a fine judgement call, I assure you – but I feel the full extent of my bulgy bits may have gone undiscovered. Which fact, I consider a reasonable exchange for avoiding abject humiliation in front of a very nice man, for whom I felt a vague moral obligation towards of not instilling a phobia of women’s bottoms.

I left the clinic and managed to get as far as meeting my troughing menfolk in the canteen before a leg-wobbling wave of OMG, PROPER DIARRHOEA NOW attacked me and I was obliged to take noisy refuge in the nearest ladies for 10 minutes. These? Good invention.

The upshot: Harry’s cannonball passage from north to south has caused some mild vaginal prolapsing (*Listens carefully to the deafening silence. Yes, that’s my last reader vanished*) but nothing to be concerned about: he’s confident it’ll go the distance if I attempt another. I need to work on my… ahem!… vaginal muscle tone, apparently. He gave me a mark out of 5 (a test! and I didn’t revise! stuff of nightmares!) that I do not feel quite inclined to share. Hubby will read this and clamour to know what it was. He can bugger off.

The occasions when I – literally – piss myself laughing are too rare and minor to warrant his concern; he advised me to ‘finish my family’ and see how my bladder is coping with life then. He is referring me for an ultrasound scan by a consultant radiologist I have seen a few times before (and trust his wanding ability) to see if the mysterious Kraken that appears on some scans and not others is, or is not, a fibroid. And he is also – and this is the one that makes me gulp – surgically adjusting things a little.

The lovely midwife that stitched my bloody great tear up did a conscientious job. Too conscientious. My topography has changed noticeably; in particular I now have a smallish web of skin that never used to be there; it splits open and bleeds a little at every… ummm… leg-opening occasion. Horse-riding type activity can present a small challenge to vaginal integrity. Sex – and you can probably hear Hubby preening – is a large challenge. Philogynae jokingly said that he’d just do it under a local, as he’d ‘heard I was brave’. I promptly winced, and requested that he do it without an injection altogether, and just bloody get on with it quickly. 

No, I’m not actually mad, or masochistic; I find that local anaesthesia needle infiltration often hurts more than the procedure. I had a particularly awful injection in my armpit once for a skin-tag I’d quite happily have snipped off with scissors myself, had I known what their plan was. Dentistry is an notable exception to this Just Bloody Get On With It rule, but I’m buggered if I fancy a needle being mined about in my perineum. Now, freezing-type gel, on the other hand, I will be enthusiastically requesting, plus whatever other topical assistance I can get my paws on. If anyone has any relevant advice for me here, don’t sit on it. So to speak.

He ummed and ahhhed what to call it on his surgery sheet, and we eventually plonked down ‘perineum re-shaping’ because I was too nervous to suggest ‘Designer Vagina’ – which I find darkly amusing, redolent of the increasing global trend towards absurd-surgery-that-you-dont-ever-actually-physically-require.

Anyways, he’ll be approaching my undercarriage with a scalpel. And no drugs.

That’s to look forward to, then!

%d bloggers like this: