Time is too short. Don’t put anything off. I’ve realised it more and more as beautiful people leave our world. Sometimes I can’t fathom why it happens. Why are young people like Matt and Aki, only 15 at the time, taken too soon? They had so much life left in them, so much potential and so much love flowing for them so many years later.
My own dad was only 50 and for the 27 years since his tragic death I’ve grieved him. When my sons have hit milestones I’ve wanted him to see them and be the granddad to cheer them on. When I needed the unconditional love of a father I reached for my mother, who is still here, but it’s not the same as dad’s bear hugs and hairy chest and that musty smell that he had all to himself.
It was brought home to me when my son (away in the Airforce) rang me. As soon as I heard the first note of his voice I knew he was hurting – I knew he was more upset than I’ve ever heard. I immediately thought of his best mate and my chest was heavy and my head nauseous as I listened to my now crying son. Was he dead? I was right (in a way) but it wasn’t the young man at the peak of his potential and doing his family proud in the ADF, it was about his father. Suddenly his dad was dead.
I’d only recently met him and his lovely wife when we celebrated our boys proud graduation. Not overweight, reasonably healthy, just your ordinary guy. Gone like the click of fingers. Gone in a heartbeat. Gone before his family could understand and grieve. Why?
Then there’s my dear girl friend who has endured many friends dying from or fighting cancer. She’d been feeling not quite right and luckily had a check up, in what we hope is just at the right time. She has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. I swore when I found out and even stamped my foot, thinking it so unfair for this beautiful lady to have to fight this. Then again I thought if anyone can fight it she can. She will.
All this gets back to time is too short. Do what you dream before you have no time to dream. Take a step towards the wanted unknown before you can no longer walk. Hugs those you love and tell them you love them before those loved ones are whispered to through thin air.
So if you’ve dreamed of travelling, painting, singing or writing just go ahead and start.
For those who wish to write, not only can you help a good cause but you’ll be taking a step towards your dream, enter:
The Umoja Writing Competition for once you now have time because the competition has been extended so more potential writers have a chance of entering. My dream was always to write and I have further dreams as well. I choose today to follow them. I hope you do too.
I didn’t find it hard to reflect on Mother’s Day this year. I figure I’ve probably deserved a really nice day but I guess all mothers think that.
Okay, here’s my reasoning. My mother’s instinct kicked in on Thursday when Blake complained of a pimple on his leg being sore. It was much more like a boil than a mossie bite and was red and swollen. Immediately I thought I’d better monitor it in case infection spread. It was obvious to me it was infected.
What did hubby Bevil say, “Blake’ll be alright. He’ll play footy tomorrow. One of they guys at the footy club said to just put honey on the sore, wrap it in a bandage and the poison will be drawn out.”
So when they got home from footy training (I was at work) they couldn’t find honey so they dripped it in Golden Syrup (really good if you want a delicious wound) and covered it in a bandage. I shake my head. Hey, I like to believe in old remedies but I don’t think Golden Syrup cuts it for honey, but that’s just my opinion.
I suggest we drawn in permanent ink marker around the red area to see if it’s worse by morning.
Of course the next day Blake’s leg (by the way the boil is on his upper left thigh) has swollen to the size of a football and is past the red line by about a centimeter. He doesn’t have a temp so I tell him I’ll go to work and try and get him in to see a doctor that day but said, “You ring me if it gets any worse or you start to feel ill.”
I go to work with that awful thickness in my stomach that you feel when your kids are hurting. I’m worried a little but not overly as I’m only ten minutes away if he needs me. My bosses are really terrific and when they know Blake has a problem they assure me I can take off early if I need to. You don’t know what a relief having bosses like that is. Imagine feeling guilty for having to care for your own children and I know there’s plenty of mums out there who have faced-off with inconsiderate bosses. Lucky I’m not one of them.
Blake rings me at 12 noon. “Mum, It’s really sore and I think it’s redder. Can we go to the doctor?”
I said, “Okay, Blake. I’ll ring the doctor and call you back.”
A few minutes later. “Blake, I’ve booked you in for 2.30pm.” The soonest they could fit us in.
Blake groans. “Mum, I need painkillers. I need to go now.” Then he mumbles something about that he’ll have to resort to having a drink if I don’t hurry up. This panics me. He’s in more pain than he first let on.
My boss sees my face and says, “Just go. Don’t worry about anything.” We’d planned to launch a new website that day but it could wait. Family is more important.
When I picked Blake up I told him we’d go straight to Robina Hospital. Call it gut feeling or mother’s intuition but I didn’t want to wait till 2.30pm. Blake’s leg felt hot to touch but luckily his forehead was still cool.
Amazingly we got into the Emergency ward (after getting lost through their renovations) and were sent through triage quickly (I hadn’t even read a magazine, the only thing I like doing in hospitals is read magazines I haven’t bought). A young female doctor, Hannah, assessed Blake’s leg. She squeezed and swabbed while Blake grimaced and I tried not to look (weakness). She then drew blood for testing and place a catheter in his left hand (his request even though he’s left-handed). All, of course while I was touching his arm but not watching.
We were told he’d then have to go to short stay. Bed 6 awaited and Blake settled in. He wasn’t happy about spending the night but I think he was concerned enough to know things were fairly serious. You know sixteen-year-old boys, they don’t want to admit to pain but when pain relief was offered he gratefully accepted.
Once the IVF was hooked up and Blake was happily watching Sponge Bob I told him I’d go home and get him a change of clothes. “What else do you need?” I asked.
“Just my Gameboy, thanks Mum.”
Later that afternoon I returned as the crowds were heading to Skilled Stadium to watch Australia play New Zealand in the Test. Security asked me my reason for parking at the hospital before letting me pass. I’d totally forgotten about the game but was pleased that it would give Blake something to watch tonight.
Blake was in good spirits because I bought him Maccas. He said, “The hospital food is crap.”
Bevil arrived and we filled him in on what was going on. Just antibiotics until the infection was under control and then home next morning.
I gave Blake my iphone for the night so he could go on Facebook with his friends. I took a photo of him so he could post it. We both fussed over him until he said, “I’ll be fine. I’ll watch the game.”
His friend Andrew rang and they were talking as Bevil and I left. I felt he was in good hands. But a little niggle made me worry about hospitals and golden staph and I hoped his wound would get better instead of worse. I was sure he’d be okay but it wasn’t the first time he’d had an infection.
Bevil said, “At least we know where he is tonight.” Blake’s a party boy so I had to agree. Still I didn’t wish he was in a hospital no matter what.
Saturday morning we took our time reading the papers knowing Blake wasn’t an early riser we didn’t need to get to the hospital right on on 8am. But soon I started getting edgy and said to Bevil, “We have to go.” I couldn’t wait to see Blake.
As we rounded the drawn curtains of bed 6 my heart lurched. A doctor was examining Blake’s thigh. “You’ve turned up at the right time,” the male doctor with the English accent said.
I sunk a little at the doctor’s thoughtful contemplation. “Blake, may need a procedure to get rid of the puss. The redness is going due to the antibiotics but the infection won’t go until the puss is out.”
Oh. Yuk. Okay. Blake looked in pain. “So what now?” I asked.
“We need an ultrasound, so he may have to go to Southport. I’ll see what I can arrange.” The doctor left.
Blake recounted the Test and how he’d yelled and cheered to the amusement of the nursing staff. The place was empty then but it must have been some sort of full moon Friday night because the place was chaotic Saturday. The beds were filling fast.
Finally (after numerous episodes of Spongebob and something called Victoria) the doctor performed the Ultrasound to see where the puss (yuk) was. Blake was fascinated. The result being it needed to be lanced, or as the nursing staff said, “Blake needs a procedure.” Deeerh!
When we go into the procedure room (like a small operating theatre) we are left (well, Blake and I) as Bevil takes off for a cigarette to calm his nerves. His nerves, what about mine? I’m the one who faints.
I talk myself into being a support for Blake and not fainting no matter what I see. So, when the doctor arrives and starts getting equipment ready I help Blake breath in the happy gas. Which of course he liked way too much. Then the doctor talks Blake through the needle and I try not to see it out of the corner of my eye but I’m getting squeamish none-the-less. Blake’s squeezing my arm but I can’t hold his hand because he’s attached to a heartrate monitor with his finger. I squeeze his arm back. Then I pat Blake’s chest as I notice he’s zoned out. “Blake, are you okay?”
He comes too with unfocussed eyes but a big grin. “Wow, that was crazy,” he says, “I was like in this big tornado coming back to here.”
I laugh and the doctor laughs but then I see the doctor putting on goggles. You know the kind to stop blood spattering and that image makes my head spin. I realise the operation itself will take a while longer and I’ve remained on my feet so far but can’t guarantee I still will. I need to sit down. I need to stop that nauseating feeling. I’m hot, I’m cold and I know the signs too well.
“I think I’ll just duck out for this bit,” I say to the doctor and nurse who just came in to assist. “Sorry, Blake. I’ll be back, honey. You’ll be okay.”
He grins and I go.
I go back to bed 6 and explain to Bevil why I left. He nods knowingly. He knows if I faint there’ll be one more patient at Robina Hospital.
When I return to Blake. He’s alone in the room and there’s a patch of green gauze over his wound with a little bit of blood so I look away.
Blake says in typical teenage style, “You dogged me, Mum.” Then his smiles. “It’s okay.” He give me a big hug and my relief seeps through both of us. He explains the procedure and I try to look interested while I switch off my brain to the image of puss being pulled from the wound with forceps. The nurse returns and put a square Bandaid-type dressing over the wound then disappears again saying the doctor is doing the release paperwork.
It’s ages and the doctor hasn’t returned so I tell Blake maybe we should go back to his bed but only if he thinks he’s okay. I look around for a wheel chair but before I know it Blake’s up and outta there.
We wait again for release papers and finally at 4.30pm we walk Blake to the car and leave for home. I sigh with relief but have multiple things in my head, like I have to get his prescription filled, I have to give him painkillers, I have to watch the line of the wound, I have to check his temperature. I have to be a good mum and make sure he doesn’t get sick again.
I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. He’s never spent a night in hospital before this except for when he was born at Tweed Hospital. Joel has only spent one night too, after a bad football concussion. I guess I’ve been blessed to have two healthy boys. Maybe that’s why Friday and Saturday seemed like the longest days to me, dragging on with uncertainty and worry. I was very relieved when Sunday (Mother’s Day) came around and I could relax.
And, you ask, what did I do on Mother’s Day. I spent the day watching Joel play football and ringing Blake all day to check on his condition at home. That’s mothering I guess.
And on the way home from footy I finally got to visit my own dear mum. Mum had home-made goodies, a warm hug, a consoling shoulder to cry on and motherly advice that I cherish.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mum and to my wonderful Mother-in-Law Grace.