Earlier this week I had a bit of a minor meltdown. I dropped a glass of orange juice and it shattered all over the kitchen floor. The next minute I was in tears, Madeleine watching on in wide-eyed concern that only poured guilt on my inability to cope. I'm just. So. Tired.
Our family has been sick for months and months. Lately, Mr B has had a bad stomach bug and I have the 'flu, while Madeleine has a viral chest infection following closely on the back of septicaemia (admitted to hospital and on IV drugs for 10 days) on the back of a horrible gastro virus (rushed to hospital in an ambulance at the doctor's behest) on the back of another virus (taken to Emergency by us because we couldn't get her fever down), all mixed in with her heart condition which makes her at once more prone to picking up these illnesses, and in more danger when they occur. When Madeleine is sick she doesn't sleep which means we don't sleep, which makes it a lot harder to get healthy, let alone... cope.
Even the dog is sick, with a torn tendon, a heart murmur and bad teeth (with accompanying Biblical bad-breath); and each separate condition will cost us literally thousands of dollars to treat - thousands that we don't have - so we're working on pain management and comfort instead. The healthiest member of our family is Ruby the cat, who has been referred to a weight clinic for her obesity problem (I'm not even kidding and yes, we think that's as funny as you do).
I don't talk about this kind of family stuff all that often on here, because this blog is supposed to be my happy place. It is where I like to document and uncover beautiful things: things that make me smile and inspire me to create, and hopefully do the same for you. But, honestly, there's a reason why there have been long sessions of silence on here periodically since... March? Have we really been sick for that long? Yes, we have!
Anyhoo, on Meltdown Morning, I had only managed to get about two or three hours of sleep. My little baby had been so sick and congested that she could barely breathe, and was panting and sweating (one of the key warning signs we'd been told to watch out for with her heart). Eventually in the early hours of the morning when I'd had precisely NO sleep so far, Mr B took her out onto the couch so she could sleep in a more upright position. So he didn't get much sleep either. We were both subdued, tetchy, worried and generally unpleasant by morning.
[Warning: the next paragraph is a bit gross. Skip it if you have a weak stomach.]
Madeleine agreed to take some milk and a tiny bit of toast for breakfast, which felt like progress until an hour later when she projectile vomited it up all over the carpet in the direction of Playschool. (A critique on the fruit-salad dinosaurs they were making? Only Madeleine can answer that, and she doesn't say much other than "Gak" which means "Cat.") I cleaned up my poor baby while she sobbed. She's like her mother, she cries when she vomits. Then I tried to clean up the main event. Problem was there was so much phlegm in the mess that nothing would soak it up - it just moved around under the damp sponges I was using like ball-bearings. Particularly slimy, smelly, offensive ball-bearings, speckled with chunks of Vegemite toast.
I made the decision that the rug had to go: it was getting old and hard to clean anyway. But it was trapped under heavy furniture, so I would have to wait for Mr B to get home before I could remove it. So I covered the disgusting mess with a couple of cloths and a big towel to stop Madeleine from digging into it (which she was already trying to do), then dragged an armchair over on top of the towel and that's where the phlegmy vomit stayed, all day, until Mr B and I were able to remove the carpet that night.*
There wasn't much room for Madeleine to play in our tiny living room once a vomit-towel and armchair were dragged smack into the middle of it, so I opened things up for her to crawl around in the kitchen while I packed up for our day. Until I smashed the orange juice all over the kitchen floor, mercifully managing NOT to cut my baby with flying shards of glass.
I was already running late to get Madeleine to the hospital for a check-up following the septicaemia, and what with the broken glass and vomit debacle there was no floorspace left to put her down while I cleaned it up, so I cried instead. Then I gathered up my bags and my baby and walked out the door, leaving the glass where it was and the juice to grow sticky and the vomit still on the carpet and TOO BAD, I was over it.
In the car on the way to the hospital (which honestly feels like a second home because we have been there so often, I mean, the guys in the cafe know my coffee order and greet Madeleine by name!), I kept thinking, we can't catch a break. It's one thing after the next, after the next. Mr B wanted me to ask the specialist if there was anything wrong with her immune system, that she just couldn't seem to get healthy.
But somewhere around my second coffee ("The usual love? How's Maddy?"), and around-abouts the reassurances that Madeleine's heart was yet-again unaffected by this latest infection, and that her immune system was fine, reality began to seep in.
I have a beautiful, happy, affectionate and intelligent little girl. Yes, she has been plagued by illnesses lately, but we are so lucky that they are mostly minor illnesses, and even the serious ones have been quickly and effectively treated. Here I was feeling sorry for myself because my child had a virus and I broke a glass, when there were families next to me in the cafe who were genuinely suffering. Brave little children facing trials that no child - or parent - should ever have to face. Some of them, with very little hope.
That afternoon I went from victim to victor, in my head. I am so thankful for all I have, particularly for my loving, healthy family. So if things continue to go quiet on this blog from time to time, well, it just means I'm prioritising my little family to give us the best chance of staying victorious.
Right now, Madeleine's breath is rattling around like old bones in her young chest while she plays. But that's the point, isn't it? While she plays. Even during our recent stay in hospital, Madeleine took every opportunity when they allowed her off the drip to crawl around the ward and play chasings with the nurses, squealing with laughter.
I am truly lucky. And I am truly thankful.
*I will call Council Pick-up and put the rug out the front of our place as rubbish. However, I am hoping that the scabby neighbours who have stolen Mr B's Lite & Easy food delivery TWICE from our front porch will help themselves to the Vomit Rug. That's karma, friends.