“I didn’t mean it!” Master8 had yelled out from the bedroom. Always nice of the kids to throw their hand up and volunteer their guilt like that.
Immediately following this there was a wail and Cousin6 came racing out to me.
“He kicked me,” said Cousin6, pointing at Master8.
“No, I didn’t!” said Master8. “Well, I did. But it wasn’t on purpose.”
The boys had been top and tailing, and they’d been mucking about for a good hour. I rubbed Cousin6’s side then Tracey applied an ice pack while I snarled at Master8 and sympathized with Cousin6 and in no time things were settled again.
“Honest, dad, I rolled over as he got into bed and I kneed him. Accidentally.”
“Alright. Sleep time. But first I have to separate you boys, I think,” I said in my best daddy voice. And then things were unsettled again. Non one wanted to stop topping and tailing just because of this. “Stop your bellowing! Stop your whinging. I have spoken. I’m king here. Lord of all I survey. What I say goes.”
“What’s going on?” Tracey called from the other end of the house.
“I’m just separating the boys,” I called back. “That’s okay, isn’t it?” A smart king always takes the advice of his ministers. She agreed it was.
Soon it was all forgotten and everyone was asleep. Only this little drama was only just beginning.
“Mum’s crying,” Miss9 came racing out of the bedroom to tell me. Tracey was on the phone to her sister.
“They’re at the hospital,” Tracey blubbered. It seems a bruise the size of a small country had appeared and closer inspection had revealed lots of red dots, almost like a rash, all over Cousin6’s torso. “They’re rushing him down to Nambour hospital in an ambulance.” Naturally, we were all fearing the worse, even if we refused to say it out loud. It’s what you do when something so dear and precious is unacceptably threatened and it’s all out of your control.
It turns out a recent virus which hit Cousin6 had left his body in a weakened state and he had something called ITP, which isn’t very common. In fact, the doctor at the local hospital called an intern over to check it out because, as he said, “You’ll probably never see this again.”
This has been a rough month for this wonderful little family. Even while they were sitting beside Cousin6’s hospital bed dragging information and hope out of doctors and nurses, their oldest son, Cousin9 was there at the end of the bed in a wheel chair with both legs in plaster. In fact, at Nambour hospital they kept having to explain to people Cousin9 wasn’t the patient.
But the good news, or at least the better news, came later. Having spoken to her sister, Tracey was telling me all about the hospital dash when suddenly there was a wail from behind me. Master8 and Miss9 had been hiding around the corner listening to our conversation. Mum crying + bruise from other night + hospital can only mean one thing.
“I’ve killed him!” cried Master8.
It took some effort but we managed to calm our boy down.
“He’ll be fine,” we told him. “The doctors are treating him and, actually, it’s really, really lucky you kicked him.”
“Yep. Because you kicked him the bruise came up and Auntie B saw it and went to the hospital and now they’ve found out he’s got a problem much, much quicker then they would have, so everything’s going to be good.”
I could tell from the expressions which paraded across his face he was caught between thinking we were making it up and really wanting to believe us.
“And that,” said Tracey, giving him a big hug, “makes you a bit of a hero.” He dresses like one too, always racing around the house in nothing but his undies.
He looked genuinely relieved.
And tonight, with Cousin6 having initially had a positive response to the infusions of immune globulin and being brought home, things were definitely looking up.
Until bed time.
There was yelling and hissing coming from the bedroom where the kids were again all topping and tailing so they could be in the same room for the holidays.
“What’s going on in here?” I asked in the time honoured parental fashion. Despite the lights being out, pillows were scattered across the room and the blankets were a mess. Miss3 was under a bed, Miss9 was trying to hide the fact she was reading a book, and Miss5 was giggling with her legs up on the wall trying to avoid contact with her brother.
“I’m just checking to make sure she doesn’t have to go to hospital,” he grinned at me.
What a little hero.
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