Sunday 4 March 2012

Week 26- first aid with fat men and poo in your face

The only thing worse than being poorly with a baby, is being poorly with a poorly baby. I didn't used to mind being ill, obviously not if it was the proper full on shitting, puking kind of ill, but a worse than a household cold so you can legitimately be off work, but not so bad that it was actual prickly skin flu, wasn't the end of the world. It meant you could justifiably lie off on the sofa watching Jezzer Kyle followed by This Morning, Loose Women, Neighbours, Home and Away, have a snooze and wake up for Diagnosis Murder. Then it's the home stretch to TV you'd watch when you get in from work, a bath, change of pyjamas, an early night, and you're usually back to full health the next day.

But both of you being poorly is more of an Anika Rice challenge. In our case, an upset tummy with the greenest poos I have ever seen for poor Nancy, and for me, a headache, earache, and puking, which hasn't happened since New Years Day 2011.

But possibly the lowest point had to be when changing a particularly runny nappy, Nancy put her foot in it, then quick as lightning, kicked me in the face, or 'shit kicked' me as my friend called it. It was strangely reassuring  that there was a phrase for it, that I wasn't the only person who'd had to wet wipe diarrhoea from their top lip.

I go to the shop at the top of the road and buy paracetamol for me.'Headache is it?' asks the man, looking at the tablets. 'Yes.' 'And a cup of tea?' looking at the milk. 'Yes.' I'm pleased to not be doing a big shop or this could take all day.

But Nancy can't tell me what's going on with her, and this is where I guess I'm starting to develop the 'mum instinct.' Going through a checklist of stuff I vaguely remember from my own mum, combined with bits I half remember the midwife telling me when my stitches were so sore that that was all I could think about, and only small bits of information seeped through the pain barrier.

Is she dehydrated? What's the fontanelle like? ( I still feel so nervous it makes me feel a bit sick every time I touch it.) Is she doing lots of wees? Has she got a temperature? In the end I normally ring NHS direct, who's number I now know off by heart, even though I can't even memorise Ben's mobile.

So I'm going to go on a first aid course at the hospital, because it dawned on me that actually I don't have a clue if things ever, God forbid, got serious. I'm in charge of the life of a tiny little person, and I wouldn't know what to do if something happened. I can give her all my love, cuddle her when she cries, sing 'Shake Your Ass' at her while jiggling her about to make her laugh, but don't know if I would go into total panic mode if something was properly wrong.

I did a first aid course when I lived in Leeds but it was more an excuse to get out of work for 4 days. I spend the majority of the time being partnered up with this really overweight landlord from Dewsbury, who sweated loads, even though it was December and the course was being run in a portacabin with no central heating. I had to move his arms and legs to get him into the recovery position about a hundred times, while he pretended to have had a heart attack, which was quite convincing given how wheezy he'd get when I attempted to roll him onto his side.

But all the first aid to do with babies was totally off my radar. I lived with my best friend up north, our idea of a refrained Friday night was only three bottles of wine to share before tea, smoking a pouch of rollies each, sitting outside the pub next to our house on the walk home from work. I lived on a diet of fried eggs on crumpets with tomato ketchup for one of my five a day. Did my weekly shop at Budgens and tried to make it through the month with enough money left over to buy yet another must have dress from New Look to go out in.

In my mid 20's, I looked at mums my age with a slight air of pity, as they couldn't go and get smashed like me all weekend. So being presented with a plastic baby doll and giving it CPR, you might as well have given me an aeroplane and asked me to fly it.

But now, as I change Nancy's nappy for the tenth time that day, check her forehead and have a play with her before trying to get her to go to sleep, I think, OK, Im not exactly  Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, but we're doing OK, and although I'm only catching half of what Karl Kennedy is saying on telly, I wouldn't change this for anything. (Well, apart from perhaps being covered with my daughter's green poo, could probably live without that.)

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