This Christmas will certainly be one I will remember for some time. Leading up to Christmas I attended two lovely Christmas parties. One was with my work colleagues at Bar Idda in Brunswick and the other was at Henry's daycare. The first was a wonderfully casual Sicilian affair accompanied by torrential rain and thunder out the window while the second was spent outdoors on a warm December evening patting baby animals and getting icecreams from a Santa who arrived by firetruck. In their own ways both quintessentially Australian ways to have a good time.
On Christmas Eve eve, however, things started to go a bit pear-shaped. We had a terrible night with Henry coughing and gasping for air. We had him on the puffer and ventilator regularly all night and no-one got a wink of sleep. We were all up and dressed by 5am and heading for the Maroondah Hospital when he got a second wind so we waited until 7am and took him to the GP. He was put on antibiotics for a chest infection and we were told to keep up the Ventolin for his asthma.
Christmas Eve we had a special lunch (menu chosen by Isabella & Henry) of roast chicken, golden potatoes, honeyed carrots and green beans with lemon and almonds. This was supposed to be followed by the plum pudding we made together the previous week and the baby pavlovas Henry and I had made the previous day but everyone decided that they had already had an elegant sufficiency. Henry was a bit pasty and shaky from all the Ventolin but otherwise seemed a bit better.
Christmas morning was lovely with all the present opening and checking to see if Santa had eaten his pudding. We had planned to go down to Phillip Island for a few days but decided that lunch might be a better option as we were all so tired and we wanted Henry to be in familiar surroundings. So off we trotted for Christmas lunch. No sooner was lunch finished than Henry took a real turn for the worse and Tom's sister Alice suggested we get him to hospital (she's a nurse). We bolted back to Ringwood my heart in my mouth and my eyes on the rear-view mirror. I took him straight to Emergency where we stayed for the next 5 or 6 hours. Following a chest x-ray the doctor suggested that the Ventolin wasn't working as the problem wasn't really asthma but a severe chest infection (which turned out to be pneumonia).
A few days went by and Henry started to get better so Tom wanted to go back to Phillip Island. For some reason I just had the most enormous panic attack ( I hadn't really slept for a few days by this time and had been missing Mum & Dad and worrying about all the work we still had to do at their house) so I decided that I would follow them down in my own car to have a bit of time on my own and to have my own escape vehicle if necessary! So off they went and I puddled about a bit and got ready to go. For some reason I decided to top up the oil in my car as I have a slow leak in one othe seals but not only did I use the wrong oil but I put in far too much (this just shows you where my head was!). Black smoke and lurching all the way I made it back to the house after just a few minutes and was stuck at home.
No mechanics open, limited funds anyway, Tom with the kids and computer on their way to Phillip Island so I just stayed home and slept, read and ate very simple things like beautifully ripe tomatoes and contemplated how I had come to this point. Many tears later I decided that it was the universe's way of telling me that I deperatately needed some 'me' time. Even when I had the car fixed the next day I decided not to meet the others in Phillip Island. They had a lovely couple of days without me and I had the chance to do the simple things I never seem to be able to fit in like going for a walk, seeing a movie (not a kid's one!) and reading a book in one day.
Things are back to normal again now and Henry is feeling much better but I won't forget this Christmas and the lessons it has imparted anytime soon.