Archive for the ‘illness’ Category

Nut intolerance

Eliza

Staying with our friends, S&L, in London, we had strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Soon after eating a slice, Eliza complained of unpleasant feelings in her mouth. L helped her swallow an antihistamine capsule. The cake base had pistachio nuts and a vaguely suspected intolerance of nuts was raised again. Eliza felt unwell through the evening. Her unease heightened by what she describes as a phobia of being sick. 

Soon after going to bed she was sick. We moved her to our room and an hour or so later she was sick twice more. The palest girl was even paler. 

Years after the boys shook their allergies (bananas and eggs), it seems we must once more be on the alert. On the other hand, Eliza confronted her phobia and was not found wanting. 

Gabe

Two Mondays in succession, England matches have coincided with Gabe’s German lessons. Each time we’ve only realised when the only option was a late cancellation. Twice we offered Gabe that option. Twice he has declined and sat in the kitchen doing German language exercises with his tutor for an hour while the match has been on in the living room. 

Robin

Conversations with Robin are punctuated with him uttering ‘Wait!’ It’s an all purpose expression that enables him to communicate surprise, contradiction, clarification, emphasis and, occasionally, that we should wait for him. 

Gastric flu

Eliza

Long into Friday night, hours after first worrying she might be sick, Eliza was. On Monday, Eliza missed her first day of junior school. A clean attendance record lasting three years and one term ended. Through the week, she suffered stomach cramps, loss of appetite. It wasn’t until the following Sunday, when she woke up and ran into the kitchen that the flu was beaten.

Gabe

Gabe asked to spend Saturday out of the house. He didn’t want to catch the flu. He avoided spending time in the same room as Eliza, refused to touch plates that she had used when eating the tiny portions of food she could manage. His quarantining of his sister worked as he stayed healthy.

Robin

By mid-week, Robin was accusing Eliza of faking. She should be back at school he said. Part and parcel of a period of squabbling between the two of them. The following Sunday, Robin woke in the night and spent over an hour with his head in the toilet. He wasn’t actually sick but was unwell. The day Eliza returned to school, he had to take off. L & I contemplated another week of juggling work with sick leave. Then by Monday afternoon, Robin recovered.

Tenses

Gabe

Gabe’s questioning has recently veered towards a particular and new topic: verb tenses. Sometimes he wants to know how a tense is constructed in French, other times it’s to understand what it is in English. “How do you make the pluperfect in French?”. “What’s the future conditional in English?” French classes at school have prompted this curiosity, not just about the foreign language, but his own as well. L and I are learning for a second time.

Robin

Sitting with Robin as he watched the end of a familiar movie, he suddenly hid his face from the screen and began groaning. “Kissing. Yuck” he complained. I asked why he objected and didn’t he like Mummy kissing him. Hugging, ‘yes’ he replied, but not kissing.

Eliza

Struck by a bug or dodgy food, Eliza had a restless night that culminated in her being sick. It wiped her out for the whole of the last weekend before school term restarted – stomach pains, temperature and fatigue. She faces missing the first day back at school, which would be the first day she has missed at junior school after three years and one term.

Teen

Gabe

Gabe celebrated his 13th birthday with pizza, with us his family and two days later, with five friends, who were assembled for a FIFA14 party. They played football in the garden and sat around the dining table laughing, although L and I couldn’t tell at what. Gabe was very satisfied with his birthday.

Robin

Robin played football in the morning of his brother’s party. At lunch he said he couldn’t see properly with one eye and went to bed with a migraine. He woke as Gabe’s friends arrived. Although not part of the FIFA contest, he remained in their midst, played football in the garden with them all and laughed along at tea (perhaps as clueless as L & I about what was funny).

Eliza

Eliza’s build-up to the 11+ began in earnest with a practice test at a local secondary school on the morning of Gabe’s party. She thought she coped ok with two papers, but less well with the third as she was waiting to have a query answered for a long time. She kept in the background during the afternoon and claimed her right to a reward stating that for not annoying the boys at the party she should have a treat on Sunday. I took her swimming.

Ailments and remedies

Gabe had a stomach upset that lingered and hindered him for almost a week. At its peak he was too poorly for school. Inert during the day, he fretted and was unsettled at night. L and I each spent time with him in the middle of the night, leaving us tired and impressing on him that he needed to get himself back to sleep.

So, one night at the end of the week, woken by his bad stomach, Gabe went into Robin’s room, woke him up and told him to come back to his room to keep him company. Robin obeyed and spent the night in bed a reassuring presence for Gabe.

Robin explained that he thought Gabe had chosen him because he is such a good hugger.

Eliza had an ailment too: an infection of her left index finger, which went swollen and hard. As well as the pain, it left Eliza unable to play her musical instruments. The doctor offered to lance the swelling, but Eliza chose the foul tasting antibiotic instead. After a couple of days the swelling went prune-like, the outer layer of skin fell off and Eliza was back to recorder and violin.

Parents evening at secondary school

Gabe

L attended Gabe’s first secondary school parents evening. 10 teachers in an hour and a half. And this is (some of) what they said:

  • the IT teacher pulled out a picture of Gabe smiling and said, “this is what I see in my class. I wish I had a class of Gabriels”. Two other teachers said they wanted a class of him.
  • the history teacher said she wished Gabe could look after his book, but she couldn’t fault his work. “He has a great history mind.”
  • his form teacher said that “by year 10 he’ll be known throughout the school”.
  • the art teacher really hoped he would carry on with her subject.
  • the maths teacher said he was very good, “but not arrogant. If someone in the class gives an answer Gabe knows is wrong, he sits quietly as though puzzling how they reached that answer.”
  • the design and technology teacher said he “is on the steepest trajectory” in the class.

Eliza

Eliza had two days of assessments. On Wednesday she took a gymnastics grade, passing floor, beam, bars and vault and getting a merit overall for a score of 33/40.

The next day she took grade 1 piano. She has stuck to her practice schedule and was well prepared. Gabe tried helping her on the afternoon of the test, and effort that went awry and ended with him shouting and making her cry just before the test began. Her result is awaited.

Robin

Robin had a sleepless evening, coming downstairs four or five times claiming he couldn’t sleep. By mid-morning today, he said he was feeling sick and by mid-afternoon he had been sick. Five hours of throwing up and rushing to the toilet followed until he flaked out asleep.

The great cough

    Gabe

Gabe started coughing on Saturday. It’s Wednesday and he’s barely stopped. During the day it’s continuous, but settles down at night. By Monday, with no let up I took him to the doctor’s surgery. Gabe was concerned it was psychological (recognising that when he feels sick it often is) so relieved to hear he had a chest infection. I kept him off school, which meant he missed the French spelling bee contest in which he represented his class and hall. Unusually, he put some visible effort into preparing for it.

    Robin

L was away for a long weekend at her parents. Robin turned up next to me in bed around 6am on Saturday. “I don’t want you to feel lonely,” he explained.

    Eliza

Eliza was facing a weekend of football, more football and rugby. Gabe’s cough ruled out one of those events. A timely invite to go shopping with a friend, her friend’s mother and grandmother excused her another. She had lunch with her friend and was wearing make-up when I picked her up. She had a book bought for her by the grandmother. It featured a 13 year old dating a 17 year old boy. This is new territory. Eliza said she enjoyed it.