I suspect I read many of the same articles as you, all about making healthy choices and doing what you can to take care of yourself.
Get lots of sleep, take regular exercise, don’t sweat the small stuff. A month or so back, I decided now was the time to start taking a bit more care. After all, I won’t be 24 forever (cough).
I hired a couple of great people to take on some of the work for the business. I made it a policy to be in bed before midnight, every night. I took time away from the computer to spend with friends. I renewed my membership at the local pool, and started swimming. Hell, I even bought probiotic yoghurts even though, deep down, I suspect it’s just some marketing trick to make me think drinking teeny portions of yoghurt will make me healthier.
And this weekend, I took a few days off to go and visit friends in Brighton. We hung out, we went swimming, we took picnics on the beach and climbed trees in the park. Perfect.
Right up until the moment at 3am on Tuesday morning when the out of hours GP finally rang me back and said the words every woman dreams of hearing, “Put down the phone, now. Ring 999.”
There are lots of great things about single parenting. I get to make the rules, which pleases my inner dictator enormously. I don’t have to deal with someone moving things in the mug cupboard, or not understanding the importance of folding towels in thirds.
But this week being a single parent suddenly seemed like the worst thing I could imagine.
There’s no flip way to describe how it feels to have to wake up your child at 4am and explain to them that they need to come in the ambulance with Mummy and the paramedics. To watch as she watches you be attached to machines and monitors, and have a cannula put in. To know that she’s scared of lots of things, but mostly by the fact she can see you’re scared, too.
Those hours watching Flea watch me in a hospital bed were some of the longest I’ve spent. And I’ve never wished so hard that there was someone with us, who could have spirited her home, safe, and spared her the experience (although she did charm a doctor into giving her Marmite on Toast, so it wasn’t all bad).
Having been thoroughly monitored and tested, and reassured that there’s nothing seriously wrong with me, I was sent off home with some medication and a referral. Apart from feeling tired and a bit shaky, all seems to be well. But that didn’t stop Flea from holding her hands eight inches apart at bedtime last night to tell me she was “only this much worried” that I might die while she was asleep.
I’m not saying it’s enough to make me get married again, of course, but it was… a bit of a wobble. And a reminder that I should probably give a bit more thought to what happens to Flea when there’s a crisis. Agree in advance who would step in and take her home if I need them to. What do other single parents do about this stuff?
Oh, and while I think about it, I want a refund on the bloody yoghurts.