Eh? Speak up! I Can’t Hear You!

Elisabeth de Meuron, commonly known as Madame ...

I'm picking up Radio 3 on this thing! More antibiotics, my good man! (Photo credit: Wikipedia. Madame de Meuron)

I blogged a wee while ago about being ill. Well, you might have guessed by my silence since that I’ve been ill for a while…

I thought I was recovering when I wrote that post, but then spent the entire weekend in bed, unable to get out for longer than a wobble to the loo. So I guess this is proper man-flu, then? By Monday it had gotten better enough that I was fit to look after 3 (still-not-100%) minxes so long as I didn’t walk too far or stray too far from tissues or coffee. But the sinusitis it had turned into on the Friday was worse. Lots worse. Ouchie. Green goopy ectoplasm. Ewwwwwww.

I got me and Mini Minx to the practice nurse to assess if our sore chests were chest infections. Nope. So that was a relief. She gave me the go-ahead to continue munching paracetamol, ibuprofen and sudafed like they’d not affect my liver one little bit. By Thursday, I was so congested that the hearing in my right ear went. Overnight. I woke up Thursday and couldn’t hear. I tried to see the GP on Thursday and Friday but couldn’t get an appointment at all, not even an emergency one.

Aside rant: note to Doctor’s Receptionists. I started ringing the surgery the minute before the phone lines opened. Each time I got an engaged tone, I hit redial. Again and again and again. My 3 minxes caused chaos unhindered until I finally got into the phone queue. So that was only a 20 minutes wait. I then waited another 6 or so minutes in the queue to be answered. To be told there were no appointments available until next week. Fair enough. But I was then scolded for not phoning at 8am. Er, hello? What do you think I’ve been doing for the last 26-27 minutes? Having a leisurely cup of tea before despatching my man-servant to the phone, with a flick of my idle fingers? Do I sound well to you? Or are you having a pointless go at me because you know I’m too poorly to rip your head off with a few choice words over the phone? Do you think I’m in thrall to you, thinking that if I’m nice to you that you’ll get me an appointment faster? Non. And don’t ever scold me like I’m a feckless teenager: I’m a 41 year old responsible adult who would actually rather stick pins in my eyes than sit in a doctor’s waiting room, hoovering all the local germs up my nose. I’m phoning you because I *have* to, not because I *want* to, you half-wit. Maybe if you were more efficient doing your job answering the phone and dealing with people, the queues to be dealt with wouldn’t be so long. And if you were less dour-faced and whingey on the phone, people might be more pleasant / less unpleasant back to you!

On Monday, I phoned the surgery again. Only a 13 minute wait to be answered, so that was a vast improvement. By now even the hearing in my left ear was dodgy. I could barely hear the receptionist: “What’s that? You’ve got an appointment today? I’m sorry, please will you speak up? It’s a very quiet line and my hearing is very poor. No, I can’t hear you: again, please? I’m so sorry about this, one more time? Was that 9.40 this morning? … Um, I still can’t hear… I’ll come round at 9.40 this morning then. Thank you very much!”

So whether the doctor was expecting me or not, I was sat there waiting from 9.30am. He called me through at 10am. On the one hand, he was an absolute star about Midi and Mini, giving them free-reign of his room and a handy boxful of (very noisy electronic) toys. But on the other, he insisted that I wait and see. I pointed out that I clearly had a bacterial infection (green streaming ectoplasm for nearly 3 weeks) and my hearing had been gone for 5 days. Bless him, he then took down a leaflet and started to quote numbers at me. Fatal flaw – I couldn’t have argued if he’d just said no, go away. But numbers… Bring it on!

“Guidelines are that 69% of the population gain no benefit if antibiotics are given within 8-10 days of the onset of sinusitis”, he read out.
“I’ve had sinusitis for 11 days.”
Dr: “But you said 5”
Me: “No, I’ve been deaf for 5 days; my right eye-socket’s been killing me for 11″
Dr: “But… 8-10 days….”
Me: “11 days is more than 8-10. I’m past those guidelines.”
Dr: “The leaflet…”
Me, interrupting: “…says I should be better now. I’m not. I’m in a lot of pain”
Dr, weakening: “My boss won’t be happy with me; antibiotics are very expensive”
Me, pouncing: “Tell him I forced you. And I’d be very, very grateful”

Well, it’s now Day 7 of being partly deaf. The green goo has mostly gone (hooray! I might be able to start knitting again!) Doing the school run is trying, because I have to be so aware of the girls 100% of the time, rather than just when I hear oncoming traffic. And I can’t hear cars racing up from just around the corner, so find it hard to judge when to cross. Luckily with my blue hair, red jacket and Maxi’s yellow neon bag, they see *me* in enough time to screech to a stop before knocking us over.

Looking on the bright side, though, only hearing half the volume of this noisy household is doing wonders for my stress levels – absolutely fantastic bonus!

Slowly Back Into a Routine

After my last post about Maxi and Midi Minx suffering from chicken pox, a very lovely GP friend messaged me to give me some top tips* to help Midi wee without screaming, and incredibly subtly and caringly gave me a nudge to get her to the GP’s. So we did, straight away that morning. And I’m glad.

*In case anyone else has a littlie with stingy bits, either get them to wee in the bath, or pour some warm water from a big pot over their genitals while they wee. It helps a lot. And don’t dry with toilet roll or a towel – use a hairdryer on low.

In Scotland you can’t just go wandering into a walk-in centre at the weekend. Unless it’s a blazing emergency you have to phone NHS24; one of their nurse practitioners phones you back within 3 hrs to triage you; they then contact the out-of-hours doctor, who will also call you back within 3 hrs with an appointment. So there’s a lot of hanging around trying to keep the phone line clear for call-backs… Still, Midi eventually got to see a really sympathetic doctor who diagnosed infected spots and possibly a UTI. He really sympathised with how painful it must be for her.

So Midi’s been on antibiotics since Saturday, too. In the fridge, her medicine has her name in enormous, sleep-deprived-parent-proof big letters (she’s allergic to her sister’s antibiotics). However, today (Weds) she’s entirely back to herself again, albeit still with lots of pox scabs. Brilliant! What a relief. She’s maybe not *quite* so energetic and tires a bit more easily, but otherwise I have my boisterous little Midi back again. And so does the nursery. Bet they’re glad… If she could just stop coming into my bed every morning around 3 and/or stop thrashing around I’d be even happier. And far less grumpy in the mornings.

Maxi still has a terrible cough, but she’s been improving every day. She went back to school yesterday, but needed to sit in the big double buggy to get home – she’s still very pale, but the whole day at school and walking up the hill just wiped her out, and she turned a bluey-white. I wasn’t too impressed that she’d only eaten a single bite out of her cheese sandwich for lunch, so have been quietly concentrating on cooking up tasty, calorie-laden meals: pork carry (like a curry but not spicy or hot) last night with loads of butter, coconut milk and double cream; fudge cheesecake tonight (easy-peasy instructions below); chocolate biscuit alongside her fruit for her play-piece today. Poor little mite.

I think she looked even more pathetic yesterday than normal – she stood shivering in her new black pinafore (her legs have taken a stretch and the only pinafores/skirts I can get that come down to her knees are ones a few sizes too big), with her white skin, dull eyes and big brown under-eye circles and a wan little smile. And her little wrists poked out the bottom of the school cardigan I’d not noticed that she’d drastically grown out of. Doh! Guess what purchase I made this morning?!

While Maxi was off school, she fretted about missing out. As she seems to be able to read anything I can give her, I wasn’t concerned about her missing 3 whole days. But to keep her happy, I got her to read a few books to me, then played ‘shops’. Unusually for me, I had a stack of change, probably left over from my last craft fair. So she set up shop and I faffed about on the laptop till she was ready. “OK Mummy, you can come and buy now! Cakes or a healthy option!”

I turned round to find that she’d cleared the floor and set up 2 little chairs either corner of a little table. On it, she’d displayed a wooden cake stand and cakes. On the sofa she’d displayed all the toy vegetables and fruit she could find quite artfully in a big basket, and on the other sofa seat she’d laid out all Mini’s wooden toy sandwich-making kit. She was wearing an apron, had tied her Rapunzel-hair back and had made a suitable ambience by playing the sole soothing song from Midi’s toy keyboard. I was genuinely open-mouthed as my wee 5 year old deftly made up a ham sandwich to order, made up prices for that and the cherry cake, and totalled them. She even tactfully turned around so she could do some counting privately on her fingers!

So we had a lot of fun me buying up all the cakes, her pricing them, taking my money from me and either demanding more or giving me my correct change. I’d discussed with her that we weren’t just playing: we were practising adding, subtracting and coin recognition, so it was bona-fide schoolwork (hehehehe, any excuse for a wee play!) I have to say I don’t know who had more fun: her or me. I was seriously impressed with how well she could manipulate the numbers in her head, and how quickly she cottoned-on to maybe more complex adding (I showed her how subtracting 20 from 70 was similar to subtracting 2 from 7). I’m sure I couldn’t do all this at 5. And I definitely didn’t sit in a doctor’s surgery reading all the signs aloud and talking about what the tricky words must mean (eg ‘accompanied’ and ‘medical practice’). I can’t praise her teachers enough, really!

Mini has cut 2 more teeth this week (lower outer incisors) and with them grown a few notches in tantrums. She can now say ‘keys’, tell me when she’s pooed (huge wail of Pooooooooooo!!), and as well as loving her little toddler books about colours, can now point to my head and say, ‘blue!’ (booooooo). Aye, I now have blue hair. I’ll do a wee post with pics when I next get a chance 😉 She’s also now 2 stone in weight*, so I guess I finally need to turn her baby car seat around so she’s facing forwards, as it’s a 13kg weight limit for rear-facing. Bah! She’s growing up to be a big girl far too fast! (Yeah, I know – she is a big girl. She’s the exact age Maxi was when Midi was born, and that seemed so grown-up at the time).

*I should have guessed; since she was born our combined weight has remained static, give or take 2lb. I’ve slowly lost as she’s slowly gained.

Me – I’m just enjoying getting back into a bit of a daily routine and getting out the house 3 times a day. I hate sitting indoors and really missed 6 brisk 15 minute walks a day. But I guess I’ll be moaning about it again soon enough!

Fudge Cheesecake

It’s instructions rather than a recipe, because it’s just too simple!

homemade fudge cheesecake

3 slices gone before I even got to take a photo!

200g chocolate digestives
70g butter
300g soft cheese, like Philadelphia. None of the low fat rubbish, go for the fully-leaded, full fat
397g tin of condensed milk (ditto – got to be full fat or it’ll go thin and insipid)
packet of fudge chunks. Or chop up some fudge. 

Bash the chocolate biscuits in a bowl with the end of a rolling pin till they’re all crumbs. Melt the butter and stir into the biscuit crumbs. Press into the bottom of a lined 20cm cake tin. Whisk up the condensed milk and soft cheese till it’s very thick and creamy. Stir in the fudge chunks. Spoon into the cake tin. Chill for a few hours. Eat. (double cream sloshed over the top entirely mandatory optional)