Thursday 11 March 2010

My 5yo is a Thunderbird Puppet

I couldn't be a CSI, (Crime Scene Investigator, for those of you not forced to watch every syndicated episode by your husband.) The reason I'd prefer not to undertake that role, is not just because I failed every science examination I ever took.....[when I sat my mock O'Levels, the nuns had to combine my physics and chemistry results: I still only scored 9%.] No, the real reason is that I've found that I hugely dislike the smell of a dead body.

There's been a [Taggart voice if you please] 'mur-dah'  in our new house. The body hasn't yet been recovered, but the smell is re-volt-ing! The aesthetics of my inherited ensuite is bad enough. The ultra-modern bathroon vying with the authentic Victoran gothic, but now it stinks too! The rat, for that is what is dead, has chosen to secrete itself somewhere in the urinal-tiled, false walls that enclose my cathedral to washing. (To fully understand my ensuite see Feeling Blue if I need to Poo on 25 February 2010.)

10 days ago we laid down poison in the attic and waited for the hateful pitter patter of tiny feet. Wishes really do come true it seems, but now there is the most almighty smell, sweet and penetrating. I imagine the smell as a greeny-brown colour, originally contained in my bathroom it is now sneaking down the corridors of the house, choking all in it's path!

The sun's been wonderful this past week and temperatures have dared to reach 8° so I'm assured by my neighbours that the smell will shortly disappear, along with the flesh of the rat.

'Don't worry,' they said. 'A whole legion of blow-fly maggots will eat the carcass....'

Delightful. Then I suppose I'll be left to fight the flies. Deep joy.

It's been a helluva week. I had been working like a demon to finish editing my book before the sproglet were on a month-long Easter holiday, but.....then Thursday came.

Husband said he'd be home by 7.30pm, not too bad, but too late for dinner as a family. We three ate early. I conceded to let the 7yo and the 5yo bathe together, after they pleaded to build a Water Olympic course for their Japanese GoGo things! ...... Note to other mothers: Unlike Lego, Gogo don't vacuum easily.

Clean, warm and giggly after their bath, I managed to herd them to their own rooms. Having read to them they settled, looking at books in bed. As is the custom when you don't have staff, I went back downstairs to clean up. (After the lottery win I'm soooo getting staff....sigh....)

The 5yo heard Daddy's car engine first. He leapt from his bed and rushed to the top of the stairs.

'Daddy's here.'

'Into bed, he'll come up.' I called from down the corridor.

'But I want to tell him about Star Wars on the DS.'

I walked to the bottom of the stairs situated in our inner hall. Originally, in 1848, this hall was to be the grand entrance to the house. The owner soon changed his mind when he felt the north wind's power as it rushed up the valley and over the fields. Instead the front door became a window with oak shutters for winter. Now it's a cosy room with a huge log burner and original Victorian stone tiles. Boy was high above me, peering through the banisters.

'In. To. Bed.'

He stood up and rested his chin on his hands gripping the polished rail, an errant leg raised, he looked like a ballerina rehearsing.

'Pleeeeese can I wait here?'

'No. Daddy will come up in a minute. Go. To. Bed.'

I walked away, back down the dark corridor towards the kitchen, knowing full well that he'd wait there till Daddy appeared.

Seconds later I heard a deep thud then silence. In that split second I wondered what the boy had thrown from the upper landing into the hall and then I realised that it was the sound of my baby's body hitting the hard hall floor.

I ran. In the hall I found his little body on the cold stone.

He was briefly unconscious and in that split second I'm ashamed to say I moved him: I gathered him up in my arms, moving him to the rug in the centre of the room. You'd have thought I'd have known better after watching all those stupid CSI episodes. Truth be told I paniced. Then my husband walked in.

The next thing I knew I was waiting on the dark bridlepath outside our property. I held a powerful torch to  guide the emergency medic to us. Indoors husband lay on the rug, comforting our son who lay shivering under his Thunderbirds duvet. I worried what the 7yo was doing.

Under the starlit sky, I wondering what would be our fate that night.

It took almost 25 minutes for the rapid response paramedic to get to us across the hills. I thought we were serviced by the air ambulance, unaware that it only operates by day, fearful of powerlines at night. He was serious, concerned by the 20ft drop of the stairs. Within another 30 minutes the ambulance came. Three medics searched boy for injuries.

'There may be a spinal injury, looks like he fell on his coxix.'

All the time boy didn't move, just wimpered that his pelvic area hurt.
When the men began to strap on a neck brace on him he screamed and cried.

'You're killing me, I can't breathe, please get off me. Stop them Mummy.' I wanted to beat them away from him but I didn't. I just lay beside him and felt powerless.

The ambulance ride took over 40 minutes even with flashing lights and a siren. Boy started drifting off to sleep, the medic waking him every few minutes to check on him. I whispered....

'Dear God how far from civilization have we strayed?'

Through the night he was tested and x-rayed and put through something that looked like a time machine to another planet. All proved inconclusive. Finally we were admitted to the children's ward. Hubby and our exhausted 7yo departed. It was 3am.

I sat beside my little son while he slept. At 4am I fished in my bag and found the latest book club choice, a disturbing and depressing book called 'The Secret Scripture.' I couldn't feel much lower so I read, methodically, trying not to let my thoughts wander from the story. I didn't want to sleep, so far we'd had no bad news and I was desperate to forestall the morning lest it brought any. Eventually I pulled my old faux bear coat around me and slept.

That was last Thursday, the 4th of March. On Friday 5th March at 9pm we were officially discharged. Although bruised and unable to walk properly, boy had no life threatening injuries, he didn't even have a fracture. There was trace blood in his urine but no sign of internal injuries.

After three days of TV at home boy was back on his feet, albeit walking a bit tenderly, we teased him;
'You walk like a Thinderbird puppet.'

On Tuesday I drove the 7yo and boy, plus an enormous bean-bag, the 14 miles back to school over the hills. It's funny but after dropping the children off I couldn't cope with driving home: I was fearful that something bad might happen. Instead I hung about in the little medievil town near school, for an hour or so I window shopped and then I sat in the car and read my dreadful book, glancing at my mobile from time to time.

It seems I needn't have worried, he had a great day. That's when I decided to cry, I was so relieved and tired and conscious of what could have been. Outside boy's classroom other mums and teachers rubbed my back, I'll rub theirs' another day.

We three drove home chatting happily in the car. The sun was out and it was almost 9°, the warmest day for almost 12 weeks. I'm pleased to say that I've finished the back breaking work of filling my raised vegetable beds with top-soil and as I turned into our drive I noticed that wonderful Walter, farmer and hedge cutter extraordinaire, had left me a fantastic present; 2 ton of rotting cow poo. Life is suddenly very good again. The chickens were pleased too, perched on the mound they were harvesting red worms. Maybe egg production will be up too.

Spring is here, babies are healthy and isn't life precious? I really hope you and yours are safe too.



  1. OMG Lou, that had my heart stopping in places. Firstly thank god your boy is OK. How terrible, but wonderful how quickly they bounce back. I bet you must have felt besides yourself. I can understand staying nearby, infact I think you have all been very very brave indeed

  2. Hello gorgeous girl, thanks for your comments, especially when you're up to your eyes in it too. We might act brave, but we're not are we?

    Just read your blog too, where's your comments box gone or am I totally thick? Bless you too. Just keep saying lottery win, lottery win, it wouldn't fix anything but it would be a nice distraction....Shame I never remember to play it!

  3. Wow, that smacked me between the chops! You lulled me into a false sense of security with the dead rat. Thank God he's okay. I'm sure my daughter's going over our banisters one day – I always think she's old enough to understand not to go too near the edge, but she appears to have no spatial perception at all...
    Stiff drinks all round at The Larches. Phew!

  4. Big drinkies, good idea.

    I can only imagine that my boy tried to lean over the banisters to see if he could glimpse Daddy and the heaviness of his head overbalanced him. He can't remember what he did which is apparently the reaction of the brain when you lose consciousness - it blocks out the bad bits. Hope it hasn't blocked out the bit about NOT DOING IT AGAIN PLEASE!!!! (oh sorry about the outdoor voice there!)

  5. I'm so glad your son is OK! I hope things are peaceful for you for awhile. You deserve it after what you've been put through.

  6. Thanks Brenda, we're back to the fractuere clinic this week for a check-up. He's repairing so fingers crossed.


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon