We all have them. Those weeks from hell that leave you shaking in your boots. For some reason, though, mine always seem to be – well – more hellish than others. Or at least that’s what my boss says. Judge for yourself.
This particular bout started with a yelp in the middle of the night. Our incredibly sweet dog, Digby, had slid down our wooden stairs. She is a tough pup, having climbed those awful stairs the very day she had a massive surgery last year without uttering even the tiniest of whimpers. So I knew she was hurt, but I couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Her legs were moving okay. I figured she cried out because she was scared.
As the week wore on, she stopped eating, but I thought it was just that she was getting old and that the cancer she was battling was starting to take its toll.
Then came an urgent phone call from the school on a Friday afternoon. “Hudson has a 40.5 fever and is vomiting non-stop.” I rushed to school to see my normally super-exuberant son lying on the nurse’s cot, a rag on his forehead, looking suddenly very small to me. Off to the doctor’s office we went. The doctor was baffled – and worried. She was so worried, in fact, that she called me the next morning to check on him. Love that in a doctor. Thankfully, the fever and vomiting disappeared overnight. However, later something else appeared: a few tiny dots on his hand. Yup. My nine-year-old had Hand Foot Mouth Disease, which is a condition usually left to little ones. Rah.
The next day? Impetigo! Double rah. The thing is, neither of these things make you feel particularly bad. You’re just contagious, so you can’t be around anybody. Hudson was so bored that he even said he was tired of his iPad. That, my friends, is a first. But things livened up a bit, not exactly the way we wanted.
Digby was sitting next to me at breakfast and I noticed her entire belly was completely black. I rushed her to the vet who decided Digby must have bruised herself badly when she fell. Her vulva was also infected. Poor girl, though I don’t think I wanted to really know about my dog’s vulva. And let me tell you, she did not want me or anybody else to rub her medicine on her privates. Can you blame her really? Thankfully, oral antibiotics would help.
Meanwhile, deadlines loomed. I needed to enlighten Expat Living readers. I left for a quiet, child-free place to write when I got a sobbing call from my son, “Digby bit me.”
What? The “sweetest dog on the planet” (her real nickname) bit my son? Turns out, he was petting her and she growled at him. Worried and wanting to make her feel better, he tried to lay on top of her. Not a good move. Her canine caught Hudson’s lip. He got nine stitches from a plastic surgeon to the tune of $5k. It was getting to be a very expensive week.
Friday, Hudson was back at school, just in time for Cultural Day. As I was running around trying to get all my stuff together for my American and Dutch presentations, I noticed my daughter looking a bit pale. She had a low-grade fever. She showed me her hands. Dang. HFMD. The next day? Impetigo, too. Another week with another kid home off school. Unlike her stir-crazy brother, Maisie was perfectly fine reading, watching movies and doing art. I think she actually relished being off school.
Meanwhile, the air-conditioner in her room stopped working – again. An extended multi-day test showed the pipe in the wall was leaking. They came to replace it. Messy messy messy.
Wouldn’t that be nice it that was the end? Ah, but it’s not. Naturally, it was my husband’s turn to get sick. He got a really bad cold – and all women know there’s nothing worse than a man cold. And, lucky him, it was school break, making our third week with kids home from school. The answer? A quick, long weekend trip to Cebu. The hotel’s family package for four only included beds for three. It took hours to sort, making our short vacation even shorter. In the end, it was a lovely break, just what we needed.
When we got back to Singapore, Maisie had to have a tooth pulled to make room for adult teeth coming in. The dentist gave her four shots, two of them adult nerve blocks to get her numb. And the dentist literally had to pull and tug and tug and pull to get the tooth out. It took an hour. The dentist was sweating bullets. Mommy was struggling to keep up a witty banter. Maisie? She was incredibly brave, shedding only a few tears before they got her numb. It was her second visit from the tooth fairy in two weeks. Did you know you get a lot more when the dentist pulls a molar?
We came home to find the outside of our home under attack, well – sort of anyway. A stone fell off the outside wall weeks ago. The landlady decided this was dangerous. What if a stone falls off and kills somebody? So, now our house is shrouded by scaffolding and giant jackhammers are working to get the stones off the wall. The entire house vibrates and the sound is downright deafening, helped by our barking dog who is now back to being the sweetest and most cheerful, playful thirteen-year-old dog in the world, gobbling up her food and begging like a champ. Nothing makes my heart happier.
Biggest shock? Realising the workers could look in the master bathroom while they jackhammer the walls. What a lovely way to start your morning shower. I’m not sure who was more horrified, me or the worker with eyes as wide as saucers!
And then, folks, there’s my car. It seems everybody knows about my “lemon”, the one I whined about in these very pages and celebrated when it was smashed to bits. I now have a new car, well – new to me. We bought our friends’ old Volkswagon when they moved out of Singapore. Guess where it is now? At the mechanics after it came to a grinding halt in the middle of traffic.
Here we go again.
You know what I want for 2020? Normalcy. Ha. Then again, normal is boring and I hate boring.
PS Guess who has HFMD now? Me!