Recently, poor Blondie suffered from a horrible abscess (obviously all abscesses are horrible). I still remember the pain I suffered as a young boy; crying and screaming for hours on end until an emergency dentist could visit. Blondie’s was especially horrible because it appeared suddenly and caused her left cheek to swell up massively. Following a lovely break from work in which she puked up all over my hand due to a fever, she was prescribed a week’s course of antibiotics from the dentist.
‘Oh shit’, Blondie’s parents collectively thought. This is because Blondie is the worst person in the world for taking medicine. I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect either. Blondie simply does not do something she doesn’t want to do, whether it’s good for her or not. This began on day one when she refused to latch on for milk straight after being born. After forty-five minutes of screaming and scratching, even the nurses gave up for a while, leaving us with the bizarre sight of a new born downing powdered milk from a cup. She relented for a little while with breast milk, but only after making it as awkward as possible for Mummy Cool, until eventually giving up all together.
She doesn’t even know how lucky she is, because in my day Calpol was bloody revolting stuff. Now it tastes like Tixylix – remember that? I used to consider it an honour to get a cold when I was a kid as it meant getting to taste the sweet stuff. But no, throughout teething and various illnesses we would find ourselves wrestling with her to get some down with one of those syringes (praise be to the syringes, we’d have never stood a chance with a spoon). Time and time again the pattern was the same. We would hear Blondie crying through the monitor, spend ten minutes arguing on whether to go through the same stress as last time, plan our attack as if we had to tame a wild horse, hold her still and try and get as much in until she’d lash out making it too dangerous with the risk of choking highly probable – Lovely stuff.
She’s five now and doesn’t get ill very often, but when she does, nothing’s changed sadly. It’s just more complex. Negotiations with Blondie over getting rid of this abscess proved to be trickier than Brexit, and with expensive toys factored in, our negotiations will probably cost more too. But despite making it as pleasant for her as possible with rewards and adding a milkshake to the antibiotics, ‘medicine means medicine’, so every few hours I’d get frazzled texts whilst at work from Mummy Cool in which she sounded close to the edge. And this is from someone with almost infinite patience. Pushing the stress stakes up higher than usual was the fact this must have been so painful for Blondie. For a day or two it only got worse and even her left eye was beginning to close and she had no appetite for days. We’d try and explain that it was better to take medicine than have to go to hospital and she’d even tell us there was nothing wrong. We’d show her in the mirror and she’d say “it’s fine, there’s nothing there”, except it was hard to understand what she was actually saying as her face was getting so swollen. As stubborn as she is, I have to admire her toughness. I would have been in pieces but she lasted the whole week without painkillers. Calpol AND antibiotics? Was never going to happen.
I dread to think what our neighbours must have thought was happening as Blondie screamed away and ran around the house whenever it was medicine time. An hour later we would find ourselves saying in desperation “if you don’t take it now you have until the count of three and then daddy will have to hold you while mummy gives it to you!”. Except that was an empty threat as it would have potentially hurt her mouth to force it in. So we’d count to three over and over again, for want of anything else to try. It must have looked like two people with dementia and nervous exhaustion following a child round the house, while Red looked on baffled. Eventually we’d get it in her, but with everyone’s nerves completely shredded. If only we had the magic powers of Mummy Cool’s mother, who found it only took her FIVE MINUTES when we were both at work.
This blog doesn’t end with any answers. Sure enough, Blondie got better, she got her expensive toys and we got more wrinkles from the worry. But what do we do to get her to take medicine for us? Answers on a postcard, please.
I think we’ve tried every approach going. Red’s probably been watching the whole time and thinking ‘Hmm, maybe I should be more like my sister’. I guess the only positive to take from it all is, that girl REALLY has willpower. I pity any fool who dares to tangle with our Blondie.