Ambulance tears

I haven’t written since January! Wow. Things have been crazy to say the least… but before I tell you all about all of those things, I want to tell you all something else.

Being one of those mums…… not easy stuff.

I sometimes cry when I see an ambulance with the lights on. I wonder who is in it. I wonder if their heart rate is ok. I wonder if their oxygen is ok and if they are conscious. I wonder if maybe they haven’t even been picked up yet and they are still at home, the ambulance caller frantic with worry wondering how much longer. I wonder if someone is holding their hand and telling them it will be ok. I wonder if the mum or dad or spouse had anyone look at them and say “it will be ok, don’t worry”. I wonder if anyone gave the mum a hug? I wonder if she is ok? And then I realise that Im crying, and I realise that that fear that I felt all those times, that fear that sort of feels like an iron claw around your heart… that fear….. it never really goes away again. Its right there, just below the surface and then there you are, crying at a traffic light because you saw an ambulance……

Its ok to be that mum. Its ok. Its also ok to not be superwoman all the time. There are so many campaigns out there highlighting what depression looks like, teaching us how we can support people in their darkest hour etc. Well, being one of those mums….. its not so dissimilar.

Stress, high stress for extended periods wrecks havoc with your body. For me, I gained weight, lost hair, got grey hairs, I pick at my skin, I eat obsessively or don’t eat at all, I stress over small stuff like whether I left the cooker on, to the point where I can hardly breathe and I might cry. I have days where I cant even function. I have so much that needs to be done and I cant get it together, I cant even manage to put a load of laundry on!

Then, when shit hits the fan Im calm. Im cool as a cucumber, getting everything done and organised, taking care of everybody, joking with the Dr’s, comforting, holding…..

…………….but who takes care of me…..? 

Then after, months after, there I am….. at the traffic lights, crying my eyes out at an ambulance!

Being one of those mums. It is not easy. And when you ask me if Im ok? I’ll put my big brave knickers on and smile my biggest smile and say “Im fine, why wouldn’t I be” because thats just all part of the parcel, and if I told you how I really am… some days…. I might just never stop crying.

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We have the muppets.

Sometimes I think to myself, if I wrote about ALL the stuff that happens in our life, people would think I made it up. So I wasnt going to write about the last few days, but I will anyway. Because Im laughing now, and its funny in a comedy movie sort of way. Short version.

Thursday afternoon going home from school A (Celiac kid) says her cheek hurts ALOT. I think maybe she has a small sore in her mouth, maybe she got contaminated. With clean hands I check the inside of her cheek. Nothing there.

Fast forward to two hours later, I’m lying on the sofa playing some game on my iPad, kids are watching TV. I turn around to look at A who is whinging about her cheek and I literally FLY up and in to action. Her cheek, on the side, slightly below the ear, has swelled up to golf ball size! All Im thinking is airway! What if the swelling is inside too! Call our doctor who says she cant see us straight away but to take her to the emergency room. We already had shoes on! GO! Mad drive through the city. Get to emergency room. 2 doctors and 4 nurses then spend ten minutes arguing about how to do our paperwork, kids are Polish, but have no pesel numbers (long story). Im thrusting my credit card at them saying it doesnt matter we arent asking for free care, we will PAY, just please LOOK at her. Finally another doctor looks at A while the others argue with her that its against the RULES (people in Poland are very concerned about rules and the right way to do things – at times, its infuriating – because while they all argued, A had swelled up further). She reassures me there is no threat to the airway, but because we are paying we must go to another part of the hospital. Off we go, its far enough that we need to drive around.

We get to the gate I think we are meant to go in, and the man speaks no English, I refuse, REFUSE to give up, so I shout at him in English, Im tired of being ignored (in general, not by this man), its a hospital, my kid needs to be seen and I cant understand you and LET ME IN GODDAMMIT! Barrier opens. Jenki bardzo! (later I realise we actually parked in the doctors only parking, poor guy, but at least shouting in english sometimes works. I need to send the poor guy flowers or something, I thought he was just being difficult because I was speaking english – oops!)

In this part (of the hospital) we are helped instantly. The hospital is huge, clean and very empty. A doctor and a med student see us. After a while the Dr calls for all the english speaking med students to join. Story of our lives, A is an interesting case, but hey, the more the merrier 🙂

The doctor is very concerned that it looks like mumps, and although A has been vaccinated we are at that point again where we wonder, does A’s immune system know she has been vaccinated? I call my husband, tell him it may be mumps, he’s like a gigantic question mark, SWINKA I say. Because Im getting really good at Polish disease names and hospital lingo.

Because its suspected mumps we need to go to another hospital. Some infectious disease place. The couple behind us warns me in english the place looks awful and not to be frightened, its not as bad as it looks. I think in my head it must be like the Poznan place and smile and say thank you.

GPS and me and kids drive to the other hospital. Well. GPS takes me to allotments in the middle of nowhere, I reverse, go around. Search. Eventually hubby has to help by phone, him and his Polish friends all get involved. We need to go to opposite the graveyard! but opposite the graveyard there is something that looks like an old deserted asylum, the kind of place horror movies are made in, you go in…. but NEVER come out….. I drive around, many times. I find a door, hubby says, ‘Go in and ask’. I sit, in my car, thinking NO WAY. Im laughing pretty much the whole time, I actually started laughing already in the first hospital, because these things, they only happen to us.

I take photos, because Im thinking no one will believe me. They are all iPhone photos, not great quality, but I have to share them…..

 

So, hubby calls them, and they explain exactly in which part of this huge complex they are. By this time its getting dark, and the feeling that Im in a scary movie is hard to shake off.

I park, away from walls and shadows, haha! And walk towards the building. A nurse nods and smiles and points to some chairs under a tree. Wait there she says. Im not kidding. Under a tree.

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Part of me now thinks Im in some joke show, you know where they pull a prank on you and someone will jump out in a minute and explain its just a joke.  That doesn’t happen. Instead a dr. opens the door and lets us in. She doesn’t look like someone from a joke show OR a scary movie, she speaks english and she’s lovely. She examines A and says no tests needed. She believes its an infection of the salivary gland and not mumps. She goes to type some forms for us and I cant help it, I have to snap some more photos, because  feel like Im in a time warp of some kind and Im in the wrong decade… possibly even century!

I get my paperwork and get in the car. My phone beeps and I look, its from hubby. ‘So, is it muppets?’.

-Linda

A note, I have now been to 5 different hospitals in Poland and although two of them were extremely old buildings the staff have all been great. Most medical facilities in Poland look nothing like the one above so don’t let this post put you off.