a.m. Monday 15th January 2007
So there I was the other day outside school, bragging to another Mum, “Ooh, I haven’t had anything this winter, not even a runny nose or a tickly throat!”. I then gave her a whole spiel about Echinacea, the herb which strengthens your immune system, which I’m not sure she appreciated: but really, I am so starved of adult contact during the day that it’s any excuse to get a discussion going. This morning early all that self-possession crumbled as I woke with my throat coated in a blanket of thick slimy cactus plant - on closer inspection I was confronted with tonsils looking exactly like two toadstools... Damn, damn, damn, all I needed with estate agents to contact and generally a whole plan of action over the next few days.
Well, acute tonsillitis never stopped any at-home mum from still having to drag the children out of bed, sleepy forms huddled inside sleeping bags in the foetal position, already partially awakened by their new classical ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusic’ alarm. From waking up to getting up, then, is another milestone and takes more than a little gentle chiding. After that, the flurry of clumsy limbs stuck in the wrong positions in little sleeves and trousers and tights, so that getting dressed becomes a marathon...Next, brushing teeth: swallowing too much toothpaste and a big spit full of blue gloop right onto clean school uniform, quick wash of sleepy faces. Down the stairs to ‘cheerios’ in melamine bowls (one with, one without milk), assorted pee-pees, and finally the children are ready to leave! All the while my head’s pounding, throat crackling and limbs aching. Cue my son as soon we’re strapped into the car, ignition on, and ready to go (late): ‘I WANT MY APPLE JUICE!’ - this being the same apple juice he asked me emphatically to put back in the fridge. Tantrum ensues while sitting in the (Bugger!) traffic jam. I try to ignore it, illegally juggling my mobile phone and steering wheel: “You are out of calling credit please arrange a top-up!” Now, I’m juggling mobile, steering wheel, credit cards and purse. ‘Mummy I don’t like you anymore, I want to throw you in the bin’, says Callum, vehemently. I say nothing. If I don’t get through to the Doctor’s surgery within 15 minutes of the phone lines opening, I won’t get an appointment today and I can almost feel my tonsils filling with pus. All I need now is a passing law enforcement officer of some type to notice my lame attempt at hiding my mobile phone in the hood of my coat! Luckily the traffic is slow-moving, and two minutes before the major roundabout, I get my doctor’s slot. Hurrah!
Callum, meanwhile, has forgotten all about the apple juice and taken to singing the ‘Batman’ theme tune at the top of his (blatantly non-infected) lungs.
I’m finally at the surgery, children having been dropped off at their respective schools, and I’ve been waiting a long time, too long…so long that it’s almost time for Angel’s pick-up again! I lose patience and head for the receptionist. Heads turns in unison: “what does she want, is she trying to jump the queue?” Technically I’m not, as my appointment was literally 45 minutes ago. To judge by the ‘tut tut’-ing and sighing going on, I’m not the only one delayed. But that’s not going to make me sit here meekly while my daughter bursts into tears because her Mummy’s the only mummy not there on time! I tell the receptionist that my case is an open and shut one, literally, as I’ll just need to open my mouth for a diagnosis and shut it again! ‘You see’, I tell her up close, breathing over the reception counter: ‘my tonsils are totally covered in pus!’ From the look on her face it was the right angle to take, the scrolling display beeps my name – and I’m in. Two minutes with a very dishy young doctor sporting a candy-striped shirt and fancy cufflinks and I’m out of the surgery again, waving my prescription. ‘Thanks!’ I tell the receptionist gaily as I swan past. But, talking of two minutes, I arrive back at my car with precisely that to spare, at least by my watch, only to find that the local parking attendant has his watch set differently and has trumped me to it, leaving me with a very expensive sore throat! I suddenly feel an awful lot worse. Now I’m going to have to tell my husband Martin I got a parking ticket. You’d think, being South African by birth, he’d be oh so laid back – but he’s got that Italian blood, and a quick temper to boot.