Out of Control

Things appear to have escalated out of control. It is now the morning of Saturday, September 20th, and I am sat next to Abi’s bed on the medical ward of our local hospital. I rushed her into A&E because she couldn’t stop vomiting and she’s been here for a couple of weeks. Thankfully the doctors here believe that this episode is entirely unrelated to her tumour. However, that seems scant consolation because they are still unsure as to what the problem might be and my daughter’s weight is down to just 16.1kg, 4kg less than it was a year ago.

To make matters worse, relations between Sarah and I, which were already dreadful, have deteriorated terribly. It all reached a new low a few days ago, just a few hours after my daughter had undergone a relatively minor procedure to have a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) surgically placed in her upper chest. That was so she could be given total parenteral nutritional supplements intravenously. The trouble started when, at 9 p.m., I asked Sarah to take Kara home. It was a school day and it was already an hour past her bedtime. Somewhat reluctantly, Sarah began making preparations to go. But when Abi clung to her and asked her to stay, she turned on me and suddenly confronted me angrily as if it were my fault she had to leave: “I’m not going! My daughter has just come out of surgery and needs her mother! You should take Kara home instead!” she said. “Look, I understand a mother wanting to stay with her daughter shortly after an operation, but spitting the demand at me aggressively, in front of our children, is no way to go about it,” I replied. Sarah was having none of it and she began pointing her finger in my face: “You are so inflexible! I want to stay with Abi!” she cried. I tried to remain calm: “Sarah, you should have discussed that with me earlier, not now. You should take Kara home. She has school tomorrow,” I said. “‘You should take Kara home’. You sound like an old woman!” she sneered, mocking my objection. Thankfully, Abi defused the situation: “I want daddy to stay too!” Abi’s smart, so even while poorly, I think she knew things had gone too far and she was the only person who could resolve the whole unseemly scene. Indeed, with that revelation, Sarah backed down. She had no choice because we had a prior agreement that I would stay and only one parent was allowed on the ward overnight. She took Kara home soon afterwards.

With Sarah taking all the tension with her, I soon calmed down and restored a happy atmosphere to the room. It was a little late, but I decided to put on a film, which Abi and I watched snuggled up on her bed. And with my daughter happily asleep afterwards, I got some time to reflect on all the events that had led up to the boiling point that Sarah and I had reached.

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