In every life there are certain weeks or days that stand out as phenomenally more difficult than the others. The week before your thesis is due. The day your father died. That time you got your heart broken. A massive earthquake damn near destroys your city. These are what we call Tough Times and once you've made our way out the other side you can quite rightly feel proud that you got through with your sanity intact.
Sometimes it's a single momentous event that makes normal life impossible for a while. If you're really unlucky a whole bunch of things happen at once or in rapid succession in a veritable cascade of catastrophe.
This is the story of one such week (and a bit) in my life.
Saturday: Had a baby! Whoop! In the course of having said baby have to have major abdominal surgery. Am weeing into a plastic bag attached to the side of my bed. Am afraid to touch my own stomach. Am in love with whoever invented codeine, for it is a miracle drug.
I have no milk to feed the baby with. Nurses come in periodically to "milk" me. The last one couldn't even fill a 1ml syringe. Massive fail. What is the point of having huge boobs if they can't even do what they're designed for? And I don't mean "bringing all the boys to the yard".
Sunday: It has become clear that our baby doesn't know about breastfeeding. He actively turns his face away from proffered boobage like it is made of fire or Sir Bob Jones' saggy old man scrotum*. I think he hates me. Still don't really have any milk anyway, so it's all a bit moot.
Monday: The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is oppressively hot, even hotter than the rest of the hospital which is generally quite warm. Every time someone wheels me down there to visit the baby I feel like a roast chook. Please won't someone do me a favour and baste me occasionally? Baby still seems to think boobs are not for him. A tiny bit of milk coming through now but still not enough.
Tuesday: FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE FLUFFY DUCKS WHY WON'T THESE BOOBS MAKE ANY MILK?
Wednesday: Discharged from hospital. Leaving the hospital. The hospital that has my tiny little baby in it. I am so exhausted post-surgery and baby that I feel like I'm in an altered state. When I ask a lady for directions to the pharmacy to pick up my meds, she asks me if I'm okay so I must look as bad as I feel.
Completely break down on the way to the car. The Silver Fox has to hold me up as I sob unapologetically on the footpath outside the hospital in front of the world. Don't care. Have another huge cry when we get to the car because of the empty infant capsule in the back seat.
Thursday: It's my birthday! The SF brings me presents in bed where I am recuperating and later we go into the hospital to see bubba. I took one of the laxatives I was prescribed last night and suddenly when we're in NICU I start to feel a bit funny. I excuse myself to the loos. And stay in there for about half an hour before the SF comes to find me. I am in angonising pain. My bowel is like a bag of angry writhing snakes and I feel faint.
A nurse is fetched who comes into the stunk out toilet room I'm in, and I'm still on the loo at this stage, being too afraid to move from it. This is not my proudest moment but frankly I'm in too much pain to be much bothered by the indignity of it all. In amongst offering me water and asking questions about how I'm feeling, SF asks the nurse how she thinks the baby is doing. She says he'll likely be in NICU for weeks rather than days. He might be out in time for Christmas. Maybe.
I do rather wish someone had given us this disappointing information when I wasn't doubled over with gutwrenching bowel pain.
The SF takes me upstairs to the ward I was discharged from the day before so someone can check me over. I feel so week I need to be wheelchaired up there. They give me a biscuit and a glass of water and I briefly feel better. No one seems to think it could be the laxative that's caused the problem and assume I must have picked up "a bug". Stupid hospitals with their stupid prescriptions and germs everywhere. The SF brings the car up to the hospital door and we manage to get home without "incident". I have to stay in bed, taking only sips of water and weakly nibbling at toast and not moving for several hours.
Friday: The earthquake repairs on our house are complete. Yay! So we only have to pack up our temporary home and move back in to our fixed house. At the weekend. And I'm not allowed to lift anything. Nurses keep asking me if I'm pumping every three hours to bring my milk in. Like I might not be, you know, just for the fun of it. I am starting to get a bit of a complex about this.
Saturday: Migraine! Hooray for post-birth hormones. But actually, boo. Call the hospital and tell them I can't come in that morning to (attempt to) feed the baby because of the knives in my head.
Sunday: Moving house. I'm not allowed to lift things but I do. Utterly exhausted. Send this tweet (contains swearing). Moving house sucks but doing it when you're recovering from surgery and exhausted from ferrying back and forth to the hospital every day is "have you seen my mind? I'm sure I put it down just here next to this roll of bubble wrap" levels of stress.
To be honest with you, I'm not sure that I didn't go just a little bit insane during this period. I had so much going on I feel grateful just to have made it out, whether or not I retained all my marbles in the process. By the time I was having a migraine I was thinking WHAT NEXT? COME AT ME, LIFE, I WILL SCRATCH YOUR FREAKIN' EYES OUT!
So no, not ALL of the marbles. Not all of the marbles by quite a stretch.
Have you ever had a week that had ALL THE THINGS in it? Is losing your mind slightly in such environments appropriate or, dare I say it, compulsory?
*Sorry for this mental image, folks. It's just when I tried to think of the most horrible thing imaginable this is what my brain came up with.