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Friday, July 25, 2014

The good thing about having a responsible, Gold-Award-winning daughter who's wearing 'age 9-10' clothes before she's 6, is that when she asks if she can put her nappy-clad brother on a wobbly swing, and promises she won't let go of him for a single second, you can trust her not to give him a big shove and walk away...

That's Toby staring down the barrel of a near death experience and seeing his life flash before his eyes. He's going so fast, the g-force is pulling his skin back across his ribs. The expression on his face is that unique blend of determination, stress, fear and resignation that I imagine was on the faces of the 9/11 hijackers as they approached the twin towers.

Anyhoo, before you ask, yes, he did fall off. But despite the lack of protective clothing, he managed to avoid serious injury. Unlike Amelie, who trod on a holly leaf and cut her toe.

That aside, it's been another joyous week sampling the delights of the National Health Service. When I saw the doctor last Friday, she asked me to go back on Tuesday of this week to see how I was. The answer to that question was no different physically, but a lot worse mentally. When all of this first happened a month ago, I was put on steroids and my face gradually improved. So to find myself back where I started, but with no available treatment this time, is slightly soul-destroying. Much as I hated the steroids, at least I felt I was doing something.

Both my own doctor and the doctor I saw last Friday were on holiday this week, so I saw a third GP. While the last one had told me to rest as much as possible, this one told me to get out as often as I can, although she agreed that I shouldn't be working. She told me that exercise is a good thing, and instructed me to "get out and enjoy the sunshine", as improving my mood would improve my face. Possibly because smiling stops my mouth looking droopy.

Her main piece of advice was to get an appointment with Occupational Health to discuss what I can and can't do, and then to go back and see my own doctor on Tuesday. Which means I have the pleasure of spending my birthday at the surgery. So I went home and phoned Occupational Health. They told me that I couldn't have an appointment without a referral from my manager (who outranks my GP for medical advice), so I contacted work, a referral was made, and yesterday afternoon I was given their earliest available appointment.

It's on August 15th. So that's marvellous. They're quite happy to discuss my immediate return to work, but I have to wait three weeks for the conversation. I expect they're all off sick.

Anyhoo, with my frustration levels rising, I decided to take both doctors' advice by getting out in the sunshine and heading to my parents' house for a rest. Unfortunately the kids came with me. But that's where we currently are - me sitting in the shade of the garden with a laptop, while Amelie kills her brother on a swing. I'm not sure where Lisa is, but she's well out of it.

With live-in babysitters, it meant that my wife and I had the opportunity to go out last night for a medicinally relaxing evening at The Black Pearl, a pirate-themed restaurant in the Hastings old town. The meal was paid for by my parents as an early birthday present, and was just what the doctor ordered. While everyone else crowded into the bar area downstairs, Lisa and I had the entire upstairs restaurant to ourselves for the duration of the evening, and it was very, very nice.

Here's Lisa enjoying a latte with Coke chaser...

And this is me proving that when I smile, my mouth doesn't look wonky...

Although it does make my cheek ache.

Interestingly, we'd wanted to go to the Coast Restaurant at the local college, where you're served by students learning how to do silver service, and you get five star food at two star prices on the understanding that it might end up in your lap. But they're currently closed for the summer break. Ironically, however, it didn't matter, as we were able to have a similar experience last night, when the waitress at the Black Pearl informed us that it was her very first day on the job. Which explained why she didn't know what the pâté of the day was, almost dropped our main courses, and then presented our desserts with the words "This is the banoffee pie... and I've no idea what this one is, but it must be for you".

It was actually my peanut butter parfait. And if there's a better dessert in Hastings, I want to try it. Alternatively I'll just go back there every night. It might even be worth the trip from Brighton. Although I might have to walk it to avoid putting on weight.


Phil's Mum said...

You certainly looked better by the end of the meal - possibly because it wasn't cooked by your mother! And I had no idea Toby was having a near-death experience in our back garden.

Poirot said...

Goodness Phil I am really concerned about you - being off sick during school holidays may not be the chillax prescribed!