I think it is time to tell you about my son's fourteenth birthday which was last year.
So a few days before his birthday my son complained of stomach ache. Being a good and attentive parent I assumed that he had eaten too much and was suffering the consequences. I told him to eat less and get on with it. The second day he came into the room clutching his stomach so I agreed that he could have a day off school. I kindly said 'But don't be thinking you can lie there playing games and watching TV all day'. The third day it became serious because I had a full loaf of bread and no cereal covering the kitchen floor and most of the work surfaces. Yes. He had stopped eating. You heard me. Stopped. Eating.
I called the doctor.
The doctor laid him on the special doctor bed that is covered with that blue paper roll in case of leakages. Eugh. I told the doctor the symptoms 'The problem' I explained 'is that my kitchen isn't covered in cereal and I have a full loaf of bread. What am I meant to do? The loaf goes off tomorrow and the cereal will go stale.'
The doctor prodded around and then declared my son to have a grumbling appendix. Great. A bit inconvenient to be honest because it meant I had to be nice to my son for a bit. We were told it could go away by itself and if the loaf of bread remained untouched then I was to take him back the next day.
The next day (the day before my son's birthday) the loaf of bread remained intact and so I took him back to the GP. A different doctor prodded about. He decided that I must take my son straight to hospital. Oh. The thing is I had the floorboard man at home ripping up half of upstairs and the dog running around the house, stumbling over the gaps, licking the floorboard man (rather her than me) and generally getting in the way. Plus the floorboard man had to go out for spare parts. Adam looked a bit sickly, the loaf of bread was going mouldy and my husband was fifty miles away in London. I gave the floorboard man a spare key and his money and hoped he wouldn't clear the house as well as the floorboards. I then called my dad to pick up the dog and tried to remember the way to the hospital.
I called my husband who said he would come home and would be there within an hour and a half which was fine because everyone knows you wait at least six hours in A&E before getting seen to. Tim could have walked there in that time. The fact that trains were available was an unnecessary bonus.
A few hours had passed and there was no sign of my husband. I discreetly checked my phone despite the fact that other people in the waiting area were all talking on their phones loudly and telling their friends/family their ailments. That day I learnt that little Courtney had swallowed all her mothers birth control pills and had grown a beard and Edna had been violently sick all over the cat, or the cat had been sick over Edna, I can't remember now. The whole room consisted of limping men, red faced toddlers (some with beards) and people throwing up. Plus it was one of the hottest days of the year due to freaky late summer weather. A great combination don't you think? I had a quick sip of bleach and tried to ignore the chaos.
Meanwhile I had a series of texts from my husband. The first one said 'On my way', the second one said 'Train just got in, I'm walking to the car now' the third was the following photo with the words 'I shit you not'.
He was driving to the hospital and the tyre blew. Tim was now stuck trying to change a tyre. I was dying from heat exhaustion and Adam was slumped on the chair clutching his stomach. I half expected the floorboard man to call to tell me that the upstairs of the house had collapsed.
After a period of time had elapsed my husband wandered through the doors of A&E holding his arms in the air doing a zombie impersonation. It was no time for jokes, people were ill and didn't need to be reminded about death. It was then I noticed his hands. The blackest, dirtiest hands I had ever seen. He looked like a coal miner who had decided to go to work in a shirt and tie.
At that very moment Adam got called in to be seen by an actual doctor. Tim continued his zombie impersonation through the special doors where real doctors exist. A harassed doctor also prodded about a bit and I had to explain about the loaf of bread again. Maybe bringing it with me for evidence was a bit too much but they needed to know how serious this was. Bread isn't cheap and it won't toast by itself. Meanwhile Tim was trying to keep his hands off his suit and off everything else. Im sure the doctor muttered that hand washing shouldn't be left until someone gets that dirty. Tim went off to clean his filthy hands and it was decided that Adam should be admitted to the children's ward. I think the doctor did this for Adam's own safety due to Tim's filthy hands/ zombie impression and me squirting myself with bleach every few minutes. You can't be too careful with cross infection.
Off to the children's ward we went. Unfortunately Adam filled the whole of the bed because he is so tall.
Meanwhile a ward 'play leader' wandered over to us called Agnes. She peaked round the curtain and said 'Oh, oh my, we've got a big one here.' She looked suspiciously at the hairy legs (Adam's not mine) and asked Adam if he wanted a colouring book or some dot to dot puzzles. I pointed to his hairy legs and suggested that my son was too old for such frivolities.
After more waiting it was decided that Adam should stay in for observation. We greeted Adam in the morning with birthday wishes and a surgeon came round and had a more vigorous prod (I was beginning to think that the prodding methods were a bit overused) and decided that he would operate that day and take out the the appendix.
Fast forward anxious hours of waiting and filling forms in. Adam got called down to surgery and I was absolutely having a nervous breakdown inside my head. I did my best false smile and we all joked that it would be a birthday not to be forgotten while I mentally wanted to projectile vomit on everyone.
You could not make the next bit up.
We got in the the anaesthetic room and everyone in there shouted out 'Happy Birthday' as if I had arranged some sort of secret macabre birthday party. They might as well have yelled out 'Surprise!!!!'
Now for the next bit. Never mind the state of the house, the tyre blowing up and Tim's zombie impression....the fire alarm went off just as I had to leave Adam in the anaesthetic room. My emotional departing words of 'You could have brushed your hair' and 'Did you remember to clean your teeth?' were lost in the screech of commotion. My brain went into overdrive. Adam had just been anaesthetised. Would they drag him out and operate in the car park? Or would they continue with the operation whilst battling through the flames? How good did barbecued appendix taste? The timing was impeccable.
We were evacuated except for the operating theatre department. I was expecting scenes outside of mayhem akin to those in A&E. I hoped that little Courtney wasn't half way through having her beard shaved off. It was the weirdest moment ever. I was assured that different sections of the hospital had different sections of fire alarms. No one had to have surgery outside and no babies were born in the car park. There was no fire either. It was all a mistake apart from the bit where Adam was being operated on.
And that just about sums up my son's fourteenth birthday.
It all went well and my kitchen went back to having bits of cereal lurking around even when you think you've cleaned it properly.
The loaf of bread? It got squashed and sweaty after its time in A&E and on the ward so I gave it to a poor child who had a sign saying 'nil by mouth' above their bed. The poor thing looked really hungry.
Little Courtney? She now only has to shave once a week.
The appendix? Let's just say there was some suspicious looking 'meat' in the hospital food.
Have a picture of Adam's actual day of birth.