I am writing this impromptu blog while sitting in a lazy boy chair, next to my son’s hospital bed.
I have just finished a bag of kettle-cooked chips. A large bag, which I actually ate way past my point of satiation, but then there was an awkward amount of chips still left in the bag.
It was way too little to keep for later, but way too much for me to finish… So naturally, I shoved it down my own throat, cutting the roof of my mouth in pure self-abuse/ self-indulgence. It was like taking a lekker skommel, over and over and over, till I bled.
Now fully raw, but still flavoured with a cheese and onion dusting, my palate basically sizzles as I sip my coffee that I don’t even lus for.
I am already kak awake.
I am comfort eating.
The last few weeks have been a right shit-show.
I ended my last blog with Rose asking me about why I sex her father so much; and I fully intended on giving you all a sequel fairly quickly. Then, my laptop broke, my children all got sick at the same time, Sidney was admitted to hospital twice, and the world went on lockdown because of a fucking pandemic.
I feel very personally victimized by this plague. I am wholly convinced that God sent this plague down to earth to specifically bully me into exercising and eating right. This is much like that time he smite us with listeriosis while I was pregnant.
Regardless, I have learned a few lessons in the past few weeks that have made me step back and check my own ego.
The entitled, unsympathetic part of myself was taught a few valuable lessons; and I would like to share a few of them with you.
If I am not self-aware, I am nothing.
In Jonah’s first visit to the hospital last week, I was on edge for many reasons. I was snowed under with work that had piled up since my children’s last team illness/ I was annoyed by the attitudes of a few well-educated people that addressed everyone (including me) as if they were speaking to monkeys/ and my herpes in my vagina had erupted twice in two months (from the absolute stress of it all).
I don’t think I can adequately explain the trauma of washing my open sores inside my vagina with Dettol water. I was suffering from what is known as “knife cut” on my clitoris. You may Google it, and re-evaluate your promiscuous ways.
So when a new pediatrician entered the ward, I was immediately unimpressed with her demeanor.
After she left, I wrote the following in a note on my phone.
Please note, I realise that I acted like a bratty entitled piece of trash. My inner dialogue and constant need to unlearn toxicity surprises me but remains my responsibility until the day I die. And If I don’t share my ugly side with the world, I think it makes the beauty I show less authentic.
“In my years of navigating the government hospital circuit, I have encountered many rude, tired, irritable shells of people who were mostly devoid of personalities, and even though it is inexcusable to be rude to anyone, these doctors were overworked, underpaid and other things that must suck. But the two doctors I encountered on the other side of the medical aid curtain, here in Melomed were something else…
The first obnoxious, congratulate me for my medical degree, didn’t even greet me when they entered the room kind of onbeskofte enforcer of health, aggravated my already activated herpes outbreak so much that I ended up wiping my vagina with hospital sanitiser smeered on a paper towel, just to quell the itching.
(1/10 do not recommend).
Let me start from the beginning.
My children are always complaining of some or other imaginary illness that needs urgent attention. As a work from home mom, the entire responsibility of seeing to my job, my kids, my home automatically falls on me, and as much as it is an expected responsibility, it is fucking exhausting.
This week was Sidney’s turn to fly towards the brink of death and reach the Surly bonds of earth, waiting for me to catch him and pull him back into this realm. How the doctors haven’t assumed I have Munchausen by proxy is beyond me, but off we went to the doctor after his school called to say that he had been projectile vomiting.
(My poor car had to endure being hit by a bus last month, and now this laaitie mamoked against the dashboard. And just as we pulled up to our house. If he could have just waited two minutes to mamok in the toilet, and miss it by mere centimetres like always… I wouldn’t have wanted to so intensely hit him in his bek).
Regardless, after rushing him to a GP, then panicking at the incorrect assumption of appendicitis, I sped through to my house to pack a bag, and pack the girls’ school stuff, dropped the girls by my mom and went through to the hospital all in about ten minutes. I ran my child up to the ward after checking in and checking if my medical aid would pay before they agreed to saving my kid’s life.
Once the pompous asshole that first checked my kid was done, he sent in a colleague.
“Oh my, this is a first”, the doctor said as she walked through the curtain, and her voice sounded sincerely surprised. From my experience with doctors, I knew she was going to say something condescending.
“I’ve never seen a patient who looked smart before”, my son wasn’t sure how to react. I smiled, but I’m not sure why I felt the need to make the situation less awkward for her.
She looked at me. “And the mom looks smart too.”
And this is where I stopped the insert and had to put my phone away while Jonah popo’d his life away in separate intervals, working through the enema that had been inserted into his butthole an hour earlier.
I had the honour of standing in the bathroom trying to breathe fresh air through the gap in the window, armed with toilet paper and a can-do attitude.
And yes, at the time it occurred, the first impression angered me, and triggered me, almost sending me back to how I felt when I was left to fend for myself and my newborn in the Grooteschuur wilderness a few years ago.
And how when I went back to have a meeting with the rectors, they doctor-splained to me why I was treated badly, and I stated that I wouldn’t sue the hospital, which stopped the meeting and they stopped apologizing – but that is another story about why I hate the medical profession in SA and see through their pompous bullshit.
But then, this pediatrician said something that sat right with me, and I felt myself tear up.
“Have his fingers always been like that?” The question actually caught me off guard. For the last year or so I have mentioned to doctors that my son, along with his gastric distress, has lost some use of his fingers, and that his fingers were shaped funny (I didn’t have a word for it yet, but I knew that they had become stubbier, rounder). Every single doctor said that it was nothing, and gave me that condescending “did you also go to medical school” look that made my stomach clench.
“His fingers are clubbed. That’s indicative of a certain bowel disease”.
I felt almost validated. I told her everything, but I was still wary. I had been hurt before. Doctors rarely consider the rest of us as equals in convos.
We stayed for the next few days of investigating his colon, and after they found nothing and sent us home, his pain continued until our check-up yesterday morning. I almost dreaded going back.
I felt like it would be exactly the same as the time we didn’t have medical aid. The doctor would check his tummy, and condescendingly laugh as she told me there was nothing wrong with my child. Hours and hours of sitting and waiting with a child that was writhing in pain, to be turned away and ridiculed
We entered her rooms, and she did the follow up asking him questions and the usual. Then, when he said he was still in pain, she didn’t laugh it off.
“I m still worried. We need to look further”.
She believed us. She fucking believed us. I need people to know that this is a big deal.
And then I realized that in my need to prove myself smart, or demand to be treated well because I paid for medical aid with my hard-earned money – and to be honest, in my addiction to that feeling I get when I am right and justified and have people rally behind me to seek vengeance – I was ready to completely let go of all the lessons in compassion and understanding of other people and their perspective that I so arrogantly teach to whoever reads my Facebook statuses.
I had taken everything this woman had said and allowed it to offend me as if she had said it from my point of view.
I had completely neglected that she was someone from a life I knew nothing about, with her own way of expressing herself and her own meanings to the things she said.
I was displaying toxic behavior. I wanted to cancel this bitch, without even trying to understand her.
Lemme tell you that much like Jonah’s colon cleanse meds, humble pie tastes kak.
To be honest, I have nothing to complain about regarding my stay at this hospital.. but I really fucking like complaining. So, now I am complaining about not having anything to complain about, and I just really don’t fucking like who I am.
And as I sit here, waiting for the tests that were ordered by this doctor who listened to me, listened to my son’s pain and believed us, I realised that this fucking doctor is great and my ego nearly stopped my child from getting the best treatment he has ever been afforded.
But this wasn’t even the only lesson I was forced to vriet up.
In last week, I wrote a Facebook post about my son getting strange looks about his choice of ‘girly looking’ hospital bag.
“I want the kittykat”, my son exclaimed proudly as the admin lady at reception gave him the option to choose which bag he wanted for his hospital visit. The choices were a giraffe, tailored to boys (this was apparent by its lack of pizazz)… And this adorable, “girly”, plush kitty.
The lady laughed, but un-offensively. His choice was out of the ordinary, and I understand that not everyone is open-minded when it comes to certain norms. In my kneejerk attempt to shield my kid from any sort of criticism, I tried to give him an exit from the situation, just in case he felt too uncomfy.
“Is that for you sister to take?” I asked, knowing full well my brony, rainbow loving, karate doing, GTA5 enthusiast son wanted this bag for his eclectic self.
“She won’t touch it, I’m gonna hide it from them both”.
I was proud of him for not giving a fuck.
Later in the ward, we settled in, forgetting about the bag incident. I sat down on the parent chair, he tucked himself into his bed with his kitty, and proceeded to watch Pokemon on the hospital bed’s TV. A nurse entered and asked; “why did they give you that one, didn’t they see you were a boy?”
Jonah looked at her, with a deadpan expression so intense, my knees felt weak. We (her and i) smiled it off for politeness, but when he and I were alone, he asked me again why choosing the cute kitty wasn’t for boys.
“But mom, what does acting like a boy actually mean, if I like cute stuff”
Fuck, dude. I dunno.
And then, shortly after that post, I found myself angry at him for being a coward and essentially, not showing strong boy tendencies when the nurse, I and someone else who worked in the ward had to hold him down as he flailed and screamed while they tried to administer a drip. Of course, I didn’t say anything to him, but I was surprised at myself as I wrestled with my anger at his lack of what I had been conditioned to believe was strong male energy.
(I know better, and I do better – and don’t even hold any sexist views. I am always surprised though when emotions and thoughts that have been suppressed and learned in my former years surface so that I can feel them and let them go).
Then, in the grip of some sort of PTSD flashback, I had a memory that made me flail my arms and kick my legs at the shitty feeling it sent through my body.
In the winter of 2014, I was home with a newborn Rosie, and couldn’t afford to have Sidney-Jonah in crèche, so he was home with me too. I was newly unemployed, and the man in my life was unsavoury, and in the height of his abuse against me.
Amidst the death threats and the occasional klap, he wangled his way into my house one morning and started arguing with me about seeing his daughter. I tried my best to keep the kids behind the room door as Lyle and I argued in the lounge area, but as the conversation got heated, Jonah made his way through the crack, and just as Lyle was readying to raise his hand to me, my 4-year-old son jumped in front of me and screamed: “leave my mama alone”.
The way Lyle looked at him, with surprise and anger both competing to widen his eyes was terrifying. Jonah stood firm before I grabbed him away. That moment could have gone differently had Lyle given in to the urge to hit Sidney instead.
But he was the first man to defend me, his mama.
How dare I hold thoughts of cowardice against him.
I am being long-winded.
My pet peeve.
I promise I’ll tell you about how I explained to Rose why I like sex with Riyaahd_ next time.