Poppy’s Diary – Part 1
I feel sure you won’t have read too far into this story to realise it isn’t really Poppy’s Diary but an account of day to day doings as seen through the eyes of his care giver. Perhaps ‘Caring for Elsa’ may have been a more fitting description or even ‘Confessions of an In-law’. Whatever the title the fact is today was a confused day. Today he thought the doctor from Queensland, where he’d recently been hospitalised for an acute attach of pancreatitis, would be visiting him and didn’t he need to drink at least two glasses of water before the doctor arrived?
‘Well Poppy drinking water is always a good idea, but we can’t see the Doctor from Queensland because we’re in Tasmania and you had an MRI last week and that’s all we need to do for now.’
I woke up this morning thinking what does today hold for me? Managing a household of eleven is never without external forces controlling my almost every move.
There has been a gastronomical bug affecting our lives for the last two weeks. Not the type that bowls the whole house over in one strike—you know the one where someone didn’t wash their hands before mixing the salad—no we have been fortunate, if you can say that, to have had the other one—the one that seems to incubate slowly and then wait until 2.30am before spilling stomach contents down the toilet or over the sides of beds or passage carpet and then waiting another day or two before claiming its next victim.
Day sixteen looked good. I’d slept for six hours, this month’s record, and then woke up at 5am to discover the toilet cistern had over filled. Cool water seemingly inches deep had spilled onto the bathroom floor before traveling up the passage to be sucked up by the playroom carpet.
Well that was a step up from the previous night’s 2am hose down of vomit from the passage runner.
‘How are you this morning Len?’
‘Well I’m okay but (pauses while he remembers what he wants to say) I messed my pants.
‘That’s okay Poppy do you need a shower?’
‘No I’ll be alright.’
‘Do I need to change your bedding or clean the bathroom?’
‘No, it’s just my pants.’
‘I’ll take the washing with me now. Have you got a tummy ache?’
‘No I feel fine.’
Later he was on his way out for the day and I asked how his tummy was. ‘Oh no problems there it’s just up here that’s a problem.’ He said as he pointed to his head.
Three weeks and lots have happened since then but here we are in the emergency waiting room with perhaps another attack of pancreatic.
I return home at 8:30am after taking Eric the gymnast to his 6am training session. I play our normal game of tag team with Tommo, my husband, who mentions Pop is feeling a bit unwell. He’d felt sick since lunch the previous day and so we were keeping a good eye on him. I kiss my husband goodbye, greet my visitor with delight and declare this to be my ‘best day ever’ as I’ve accidently found the spare laptop charger and will now be able to plug in for the first time in seven days. I’m not addicted to technology but life without my lappy was getting pretty tough.
In my past life I was happy to write things down, sort through my thoughts and then type them up—but these days I find that I can type as fast as I can think (which although is very slow) uses much less paper.
My ‘best day ever’ changes as soon as I open the adjoining flat door to Len’s place. The stench of faecal matter jumps straight to my nose nearly causing me to display two hash browns and a coffee. I follow the trail from the bed, to the pyjamas on the floor, to the bucket, sitting on the kitchen bench, full of poop, shitty undies and toilet paper. I can’t believe that Tommo hadn’t noticed.
After showering, dressing and hopefully comforting Len I settle him into his chair and hunt down the remaining dollops of bluck bluck before throwing every unclean towel, sheet, sock and article of clothing into the boiling hot wash cycle. After hurling profuse thankyous at my visitor for offering to babysit I return to sanitize the kitchen sink where I have found some utensils that may have been used to remove bluck bluck from the kitchen floor. Must say I am tempted just to dispose of them in the rubbish bin and it is providence that I open the cupboard door to do so as there is more poop hiding in the rubbish with a roll of used toilet paper. I confess that I’m not one for using bleach but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for doing so today!
So that brings us back to waiting here, in the emergency waiting room, wondering if we’re doing the right thing. We’ve waited here for up to four hours at times and with a confused and unwell eighty-six-year-old it’s not top of my list as most pleasant pastimes but we make the most of it by reminiscing on Len’s childhood. His own Doctor is nearly an hour away and after speaking with the reception nurse we decided to front up at the Royal Hobart rather than trek all the way out to the suburbs and then have to return back here. Now I’m not so sure, perhaps it is just a resurgence of the tummy bungles.
If so I hope he never eats the Mullingataway soup again from wherever it was he did.
If there was an Olympic event for power burping Poppy would breeze in with gold every time.
To be continued tomorrow …