A Brief Wobble

Two days after Tommy’s “outbreak of ebola” had been curtailed I rolled out of bed at 6am on my Thursday off work and plopped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I lay there thinking ‘I’m going to vomit’ and started crawling to the toilet, thinking ‘I’ve caught Tom’s virus’. Then I thought “Hang on, why can’t I move?’ It dawned on me that something was seriously wrong. My ear was on the ground and my arms and legs wouldn’t move. Holy sheeyit! Was I having a stroke?

I knew this was not like being drunk, a condition I remembered vaguely from my student Doories Daze. (OK, and a few times since). Then I would still be agile and erudite (why, once when I was drunk a guy spoke to me in isiZulu and I understood him perfectly).

I abandoned thoughts of reaching the toilet and reversed towards my bed to reach my cellphone. Crawling backwards was slightly better, but I still felt like a beached bluebottle. I got hold of my phone. And couldn’t dial! I tried five or six times and got the wrong list of numbers. My vision was crazy! Eventually I dialled my good mate Jonathan. “Leave a message” he said heartlessly. So I dialled his far more reliable better-half Dizzi and got hold of her.

‘I think I’m having a stroke. I’m lying on the floor like an amoeba, unable to move. Can you come over?’

Then I dialled the doctor. The wrong doctor. Also a message: Phone the doc on duty. Luckily that was my GP and I got through to him at home.

NO YOU’RE NOT” came his confident assertion after I’d said ‘Dammit Steve I’m sorry to phone you at home, but I think I’m having a stroke”. “You’ve got vertigo” he announced after asking a few pertinent questions. “Lie dead still, don’t move your head left or right or up or down. Just lie still. I’ll come and see you later. People who have strokes don’t phone their doctors, their family phone the doctor. Soon you’ll be feeling like a fraud” he says.

He was absolutely right. So when Jon & Dizzi arrived they could laugh at me and repeat the doc’s admonitions of “Sit! Stay!” and go home again. Later Steve (and sister Sheila) arrived, ran me over, handed me some medicine and repeated his “Lie dead still for 48hrs” message.

So I lay dead still for 12hrs then fell asleep and woke to find myself on my side a few times. Friday I lay mostly dead still but got very bored so I did a few Semont manoeuvres to get the otoliths out of the semicircular canals and vestibule into the urticle and that seemed to help a lot. Wikipedia. Which also explained the poor vision when trying to dial: Nystagmus.

Today Saturday I’m as right as rain. Upstanding, level-headed and well-balanced. I can pirouette like Nijinsky.


supportive Brauer wrote:

Believed it all until the Nijinsky bit. Is there a differential diagnosis between vertigo, dementia and walter mitty?

Doctor Tommy Fever

I had a sick boy last night. Jess was away and it was just the two boys but I knew Tommy was sick when he only ate half his fried chicken.

“I’m shivering, Dad”, he said as he piled on a second duvet lying curled up in the armchair in front of the TV.

Let me feel you: You’re boiling, my man! Off with those duvets and all your clothes!

“But I’m cold Dad!”

Yes, you feel cold, but you’re hot as hades. I have to cool you down. I wet a cloth and sponged him down and gave him a dose of ponstan anti-fever muti. I had already given him an imodium after two runny tummy trips to the loo. Took him off to my bedroom and made him lie clad only in his underpants on the sheet and switched on the aircon.

“Dad” , he says urgently “I think I’ve got ebola” he says.

Uh huh? I ask. Why’s that?

“Well I read if you have a high temperature and a runny tummy and vomiting you’ve got ebola. Can ebola kill you Dad?”

Well, yes it can, but I don’t think you have ebola my boy.

“But I touched the mouse that Flaky (the snaky) threw up after I fed it to her” he protests.

OK, we’ll monitor you fella, but remember you actually picked up the mouse with a plastic bag, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

“Will you take me to the doctor?”

Yes, if you’re still sick in the morning, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to cure this particular ebola.

“Mom would have taken my temperature” he says slyly, teasing me now that he’s feeling better.

You’re right, she would have. Silently, I wonder where her thermometer is.

“And she would have made me juice” he grins when I make him drink cold water.

Yeah, right! don’t push it! You might have tummy bugs and I’m not feeding them any sugar. I set the alarm for 1am to check if he needed more ponstan but when it rang I felt him and he was as cool as a cucumber.

“I’m fine Daddy. Thank you”, he mumbled and resumed his snoring.

Maybe he was practising for this outbreak four years ago, when he wore this apparently ebola-proof gear?



Hypotheses, Theories and Us

Here’s your muti Tom, I say. He has already snuggled into bed. You need to remember to take it yourself, fella.
“It’s open to scientific debate, Dad” says my sleepy open-minded critic.
True boy, that’s why we see if it helps you. As long as you benefit from it we give it, if it stops helping you we stop giving it. (I’m chuffed that my “Question everything” lessons seem to be working!).
“Do I take it for the rest of my life?”
Well, that’ll be up to you. Once you’re on your own you’ll make your own decisions. I won’t be involved.
“Oh. Night night Daddy. Love you”.


Being a single-parent household . .

. .  is not so bad.
Tom just had a mate stay over who has a Four Parent Household. Well, two households.
There’s Mom and her boyfriend and Dad and his girlfriend. They alternate weekends.

Mom’s in hospital ‘getting better because she has stress and then she’s very hard on me’.

This morning Mom’s boyfriend arrives to fetch him. Little oke, doesn’t look a day over 19, sports a huge tattoo on his one arm and neck, driving an old Uno.

Tom said as they left ‘He looks very young, hey Dad? In his early twenties, hey?’ Always has an opinion my Tom.
Walking back to the house he hugs me and says ‘MY Daddy’. Little rat.

Lots to be grateful about!!

Except later I give him his medicine. As he swallows it he grabs his throat, looks at me with wide eyes and says dramatically: “I’m having a seizure!”
Little shit.