Friday, 19 June 2009

Just like Iraq, really

14st 13½lb, 10.2 units. I sent a load of e-mails before I went to bed last night reporting the safe arrival of The Baby and stating that he and his mother were both “exceedingly well”. This was, like the decision to go to war in Iraq, based on the best information available to me at the time. I also included the important supplementary news that all our carefully laid plans had gone to hell in the proverbial handcart because not only had Father been present at the birth, but Mother had managed it without any of the shed-loads of drugs to which she had been so greatly looking forward. This was mainly because it all happened so quickly that the baby had just about arrived before either of us thought to enquire about pain relief. For Mrs H, that is. I was under no illusions that they would be prepared to give me anything for my crushed hand.

In addition, Mother wished it to be generally known that The Baby had emerged to the sound of “Love+1” by Haircut 100 on her iPod, a tune which she considered peculiarly appropriate, and which I might have done too if I had ever heard of it. It is a sad reflection on our relative ages that even allegedly major hits of the 1980s appear to be “after my time”.

I slept incredibly badly, which was probably God’s way of getting me into training. When I did get up I spent some time on the sofa reading congratulatory e-mails before I got around to ringing Mrs H, who gave me the slightly disconcerting news that The Baby was “in the neo-natal unit downstairs” because his blood sugar was too low. Perhaps partly because he had got too cold at some point after he was born, though he was swiftly wrapped in towels and then warmly dressed; a cynic might suggest that undressing him for his fashionable “skin to skin” feeds might just be a factor here. Or perhaps because his body is making too much insulin, to compensate for the fact that Mrs H was not making enough for the pair of them. All in all, not the cheery bulletin with which I had expected to start the day, before going around to the hospital to bring them home.

As we were talking I detected the distinctive aroma of The Cat having a crap. I made the mistake of finishing my call before going to deal with it. Meanwhile, The Dog came through to the sitting room smacking his lips. When I went to deal with the litter tray I found a scene of unimaginable horror, far worse than anything I had glimpsed in the delivery room yesterday, while a sniff of The Dog’s beard confirmed the worst; he has been eating the stuff. I felt sick. In fact, if I had had any breakfast by that point, I almost certainly would have been.

I then got shit all over my trousers while cleaning up after the dog during his walk later in the morning, after which I was nearly killed by an erratically lurching delivery lorry as I drove into the hospital shortly before noon. All in all, I reflected that it was not shaping up to be my day.

Mrs H took me down to the neo-natal unit to see The Baby, but I was not allowed to do so unless I divested myself of my jacket, which happened to contain a fair amount of cash and other valuables, and I did not feel minded to sling this casually onto a hook in a hospital infested with the sort of people who steal the sodding pillows. So I decided to forego that pleasure. There is supposed to be “security” in the place, but by the end of the day I had entered Mrs H’s ward three times without ever needing to use the entryphone system, simply by following some passing simpleton with a trolley or a bucket. While my mother-in-law found she could evade the tight security around the labour ward yesterday by simply wandering in through its open back door.

Late this afternoon I returned to central Chester and my favourite pub, for what was either an incredibly late lunch or an unfashionably early supper. The only table available was right next to the door of the loos, with associated aroma, but I was too tired and hungry to care. The steak pie with red cabbage and chips were well worth waiting for, though the place slipped down a notch in my estimation when I went to the bar to order a third pint and some pudding, and someone cleared away not only my plate and glass but also the magazines I had brought with me. It slipped further still when a rather disobliging waitress came to tell me that they no longer had the honeycomb ice cream I had ordered, but a new flavour: blackcurrant and liquorice. I said that it sounded utterly disgusting and she replied “That’s what I thought” so that was the end of that. Almost the perfect ending to the perfect day, though the real conclusion was comfort eating a great deal of chocolate on the sofa while watching Coronation Street.


Thumbelina said...

Just jumping through your archives. This one caught my eye.
The stress of it all is seeping through the words. Not a good start. I trust all is well now and both at home by the looks of your more recent posts.
Security in the hospitals is a laugh. I love the way you describe it.

Keith Hann said...

Thank you, yes. It has taken me a while to spot your comment since I am not in the habit of looking back through my own archive. Indeed, I regularly find myself in correspondence with strangers who appear to be vastly more familiar with the contents of this blog than I am. But after a shaky start, The Baby has thrived. Over 17lbs at the last count, grabbing and holding things in his little hands and, all in all, being almost unbearably cute even in the eyes of a tired old cynic like the writer.