Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Full House

Before yesterday, I would possibly have thought the word 'croup' described an action one might see performed at a casino, perhaps involving the scooping away of all one's worldly wealth by a po-faced staff member wielding a tiny garden hoe and a bow tie.

It is, however, nothing to do with gambling at all and is instead the name for a group of infections caused by some cheeky little virus that hangs out in the back of the throat and on a whim makes one's baby sound like something out of the animal kingdom - a seal for example or perhaps more appropriately in the case of my 23lb potato, a walrus.

What amazes me is that when I went to pick up Charlie yesterday and he was making this noise (on every breath both in AND out I have to add) I managed to get him home and ring NHS Direct and speak to a nurse and not lose a lung out of my nose in panic. He on the other hand seemed unaware that anything was wrong and while being cuddled on his father's lap happily tried to use said parent's testicles as a trampoline while laughing like a troll. 'Harp Harp Harp!' he went 'Woof oof oooooh' went the frog.

The NHS rang an ambulance on the back of listening to the noise over the phone and the ambulance crew gamely drove C and I to the children's A&E leaving the frog at home with an ice-pack. We then had to wait in the waiting room with another little boy with croup.

"Whuh" said Charlie
"Hueeh hueeh hueeh" said the little boy
"Bar Bar"
"Augh auh auh HAH"
"Ehk ehk PARK"

And so forth while I exchanged looks with the parents carefully designed to be amused and yet caring at the same time. God knows we don't want them to think I was laughing at their baby or judging the clearly less serious nature of his cough compared to the blob's. Mark mark.

Finally the doctor saw us, dosed him up with steroids and then informed me that we had to stay in for four hours for observation. Having rushed home from work to get him from the child-minder and then spent the intervening time talking to doctors, I was starving and knackered and envisaged a nice darkened room in which we could lie down and I could give Charlie a boob while we both drifted off to sleep to the exotic sound of his breathing. The reality however was that I was expected to wait, with no dinner, on plastic chairs in a waiting room packed with other ill chilren under fluorescent lights for FOUR HOURS with a sick 8 month old baby who had not only not had his dinner either but who is normally asleep at 8pm.

You can imagine the ensuing scene. After having a meltdown nice chat with the doctor I was ushered out of human view to the baby changing room which contained one filthy plastic children's chair, one filthy two-seater plastic adult chair with metal arms, one bright overhead fluorescent and a bin with a 'hazardous waste' bag in it. But no changing table.

At least this was our own private room and after disinfecting it as best as possible using only wet wipes and my own spit (because one thing you learn as a parent is that wet wipes and spit can sterilise anything), I allowed Charlie to crawl around while I tried to fold myself onto the chair in an approximation of having a nice lie-down. Finally the frog arrived with food, toys, a travel cot and pyjamas and about five minutes later a nice doctor arrived to give us the all-clear and send us home, whereupon I had to creep through the waiting room carrying all my loot while the other parents looked curiously at me as they tussled with their now over-tired and feisty baby on the plastic seats, almost undoubtedly having picked up half a dozen other vicious maladies from the surrounding hordes of equally weary family units.

I tried not to feel smug in any way and in fact once I realised that I had jumped a queue of sorts I felt guilty. Not for long however as nature has a way of balancing these things out and while those parents hopefully went home, put their infant to bed and had a nice quiet snooze, we came home to Sammy who had taken our absence as an excuse to have a night out on the tiles. The minute the lights were out he began tossing his catnip mouse around the apartment in a routine that involved shouting threateningly at it for several minutes on the livingroom floor before giving it what for in every room of the house including the bedroom, where apparently it took repeated refuge in our bed and had to be routed out diligently from our feet and then punished on our pillows before escaping magically back to the livingroom so the entire performance could be repeated.

This in turn woke our croupy loved one who we took to our bed to calm down and who was then woken every time Sammy decided to throw his mouse in our direction. Between the yowling of the cat and the barking of our baby we got about five minutes sleep last night (in between dreams about animal rescue centres) which, clearly, is why I'm still awake at 11:30 and posting on this blog.

Obviously it's time for bed. Tonight I have hidden the mouse and am about to dose Charlie with both boobs and so hopefully I can gamble on getting some sleep. Here goes.


ushmi said...

umm...is he very attention seeking this Sammy? well, at least Charlie's fine =)

Sparx said...

Sammy is a very respectable elderly gentleman of 16 who spends his days napping, lying in the garden or scarfing down as much food as his bony frame will hold and only occasionally deigns to lie in a lap. It's at night that he becomes SuperCat, saving the human race from toys of all descriptions...

Elsie Button said...

hi sparx, we had similar experience in hospital with betty a couple of months ago - bloody nightmare. the doctor was such a cowboy. i ended up having a huge strop in the corridor and made a complete tit of myself. poor little charlie, hope he feels better and you guys got some sleep. by the way, just noticed you have linked me on your blog - thanks so much! elsie

Sparx said...

Sometimes I feel that's all I am... a complete tit!!! A pair of them in fact :)

lady macleod said...


You poor dear! I went into hysterics at every germ and injury during Q's childhood. Oh who are we kidding, I still do! The part where we as mothers excell is pretending we are calm and know just what to do. It's an art!

Q never had the coup, but I did. I still remember, bloody painful that is. Poor little potato. Kiss on the cheek from me.

I do hope by the time Charlie is recovered and you have rested up, the Frog will be returned to his full, uh hum..capacity.

Keep breathing. In and out, in and out.

scarlettscion said...

Oh dear, I know this must have been awful for you, but it's extremely funny in print!

Why is it cats always pick the *worst* nights for that sort of thing?

ushmi said...

sammy is very pretty as i said elsewhere...but i can only thank god that Hulo only yowls the night away...he never was the rescuing type

Lindystar said...

I would have kicked the cat and stole it's toy.

Ok so maybe I would have just stole the toy. Why couldn't you take it away? Would he start yowling? Or were you just too tired to deal with it?

Poor sparx.

BTW I L.O.V.E.D the line "...while we both drifted off to sleep to the sound of his exotic breathing"

That deserves applause.

sufferingsummer said...

oh poor poor sparx...we went through the croup fun and fears when our darling girl was 5 months...not not fun and I send you every ounce of sympathy I have. Just remember he is way better than he sounds! that sound it is just awful! I hope you get some sleep soon!

Anonymous said...

Ak! The croup! I remember having it myself as a toddler. Me and my poor Mom spent long nights in the tiny bathroom locked tight with steam billowing up from the hot faucet. Awful.

My own kid is spared as I happily noticed that he's been vaccinated for it. Apparently, it's now automatically administered with the vaccine for measles, smallpox etc. in Denmark.

Did you get the barking on tape? I'm sure he's cherish that ;-)

jenny said...

Doesn't that ALWAYS happen? Just when you get settled in and have brought half the house in with you to make for comfortable digs, it is time to go home. sometimes I think I should do it all the time and then I would get sent home sooner all the time?? You think?

Give Potato a kiss from me and you can kiss Frog if you want-- I'll pass on that! ;o)

Sweet dreams...

jAMiE said...

Hi Sparx...i C feels much better soon and you get some much deserved sleep. Sweet dreams!

ps...love hearing about Sammy too!!

david santos said...

Please, it puts fhoto of Madeleine in your Bloggue

Missing Madeleine!
Madeleine, MeCann was abduted from Praia da Luz, Portugal on 03/03/07.

If you have any information, please contact Crimestoppers on
0800 555 111

Please Help

BOSSY said...

Bossy's husband could stand a boob dosing right about now. Sorry about the illness, feel better little one.

DJ Kirkby said...

Laughed till I cried... then cried at the memories it brought back! is every childrens A&E the same?! I hope you are all feeling better soon. P.S. are our cats related? Lol!

Andres Carl Sena said...

we have yet to expereicne illness with our son, who's hiting one and a half. my brother's kid have all expereiced the croup and i rememver it as a kid myelf. if you have a digital voice recorder, you may want to record the sounds. that's a horrifying sound but in some circumstances could prove quite funny.

Joni said...

We had stomach flu with a one-month old (son #1), and a dr. at Detroit Children's Hospital who said NO NURSING until he stops throwing up everything he eats. That lasted 2 DAYS! I was sore, he was hungry, we were both miserable...thank God for breast pumps.

Son #2 had croup at 18 mos. and stopped breathing. He has had a few episodes since then. Cold mist vaporizer works well.

Blessings to you and the little one...sleep will come soon!

darth sardonic said...

i laughed so hard boogers shot out my nose! (wait, not necessarily the best kudo, that. hmmmmmm.)

in amongst the angst of the sick kid (which, believe me, i get), the little blurbs cracked me up. tell frog not to get his nipples pierced, it affords way too many vulnerable spots to hefty babies and toddlers.

glad he's better (the baby, not frog, heh heh, he's gonna be feeling that awhile).

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