One of the worst weeks of my life

This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. And I don’t say that lightly – there have only been four times in my life when I’ve thought, “I don’t think I can take much more.” This was one of them.

And I feel like if I write it down I can put a full stop behind it and it will all be over. Please God. So here’s what happened…

Thursday morning I thought I needed to pop into the hospital for a quick slice from a surgeon because my gynae told me the mastitis I’d been battling for two weeks had turned into an abscess. Honestly, I thought she was overreacting. Surely it just looked worse in the photos I’d sent her? But I went in, with Ella in the pram (because – oh yes – our nanny had to take two days off last week so I was solo parenting during the days. Luckily Arthur was still at school). When I saw the surgeon, his eyes widened and he asked how I wasn’t in enormous pain… Apparently it wasn’t the worst abscess he’d ever seen, but it wasn’t far off. I will spare you the gory details, but he booked me in to have emergency surgery that afternoon – as soon as I was able to given that I’d eaten an apple just before leaving home.

Flew home. Pretended to be normal in front of the kids. Cried a lot. Traipsed back to the hospital to go under general anesthetic (my first – quite pleasant when I woke up, I felt all sleepy and chatty) and then home again that night because we didn’t want to unsettle Arthur, and Ella still feeds once every night.

Terrible night with the drip needle still in and a really sore wound and feeling woozy and emotional from the anesthetic. The ‘quite nice’ when I woke up did not last.

Friday morning. Had to go to the doctor to check the wound, Ella came with. Had to have an antibiotic drip for half an hour, while trying to soothe a fussy baby who didn’t like the bright lights and couldn’t be held comfortably because one side was aching and the other side had a drip. Came home and thank heavens a friend came to help while I juggled getting Arthur down for his nap and feeding Ella (on the side that had just been operated on because apparently that helps to heal – dear God in heaven may I never have to do that again).

And then Mark came home. And the adrenaline that had got me through a week of pain and worry and surgery and singlehandedly looking after kids while feeling terrible deserted me. In one fell swoop. Spent the whole weekend in bed, getting up only to feed Ella, and feeling terrible. Dreadful. Awful. Pick an adjective… Exhausted and achey and sore and tearful and sick sick sick.

Monday morning – all I had to do was go to the doctor to check the wound at 8.30am and I could sleep, which was what my body was crying out for. But then I got a message from our nanny to say her taxi had broken down on the way back from the Eastern Cape and she would be delayed… The poor woman only got home on Monday night, which meant that I had Ella on my own until Mark could squeeze out of meetings at 3pm. And let me tell you that I have never cried as many tears as I cried yesterday. I didn’t know I had that many tears to cry.

Because all I wanted – all I needed – was to lie down and rest and recover. And that wasn’t possible. Instead I had to drive to the hospital with my baby, and drive back, and feed her, and give her solids, and put her down for naps, and play with her. All the usually delightful six-month-old stuff that was just unbearably difficult because I felt so sick.

Today our lovely nanny came back to work, and I had all morning in bed. And I feel like maybe – possibly, hopefully, please oh please oh please – I am starting to turn a corner. The fact that I felt up to writing this down is huge. I took my wedding ring off for surgery on Thursday and haven’t had the strength to reach into my bag and put it back on – that’s the level of energy I’ve been working with.

I used to think that having a nanny to look after my baby while I worked and feeling mostly healthy every day was the base level that I could expect from life. I now know that both those things are the greatest blessings. Please dear God can there not be another week like this any time soon! (I’d like to say ever, but maybe that’s asking too much?)

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