The moon’s a big white football…

The sun’s a pound of butter,                                                                                                                              The earth is going around the twist,                                                                                                            And I’m a little NUTTER.

Thank you, Kit Wright, for one of the only poems to have stuck with me for almost 40 years! This was my favourite poem from the book Rabbiting On which I got as a kid. I recognise now that it was a joke gift, I didn’t understand at my tender years, that reflected how I was always, well, rabbiting on. I still blame having my lips stitched together as a child for causing my love of my own voice.

Yep, you read it right. I had a puppy-induced incident about age 3 or 4 that rendered me speechless for a couple of weeks while the inner sides of my lips were stitched together. Skipper wasn’t the pony that I had spent months stamping up and down the stairs requesting at the top of my voice. And actually Skipper wasn’t even his name. He was called Bosun but I could only say Snoban, so he became Skipper. He was my constant companion until I was about 14. Anyway, Skipper the Boxer was as excitable a puppy as I was a toddler. Mischief was our middle name. One fine day my dad was building a set of bunk beds for me and my bro. I decided to use one of his dust masks as a hat and toddled gaily out into the garden to play with Skipper. Skipper loved my hat immediately. He bounded up to me, placed his front paws on my shoulders and attempted to grab it from my head. Oh what jolly japes I thought (probably, but I can’t really remember) as I fell sideways, giggling (again, probably), until my face connected with my Dad’s coldframe and the corner of it pushed my cheek in so far that though the skin didn’t break, the inside of my cheek ripped apart with a tremendous explosion of blood. I don’t really remember what happened next. I have vague flashing images of teatowels being pressed to my face and slipping in the blood on the vinyl backseat of my Dad’s Cortina. Apparently my folks couldn’t actually tell what had happened to me, such was the amount of blood. So, it wasn’t until I was in hospital that the extent of the injury became clear. Although the skin hadn’t given away (thank the lord for soft, bouncy, toddler skin), the inside of my mouth was a bit of a mess. In order for it to heal, the inside of my cheek was going to have to be stitched together and that meant stitching along the inside of my lips too. I was left with a small gap at the side of my mouth where I was fed through a straw. My brother took great delight in poking salted peanuts through that space knowing full well that a) I couldn’t scream and b) there was a possibility I would choke to death. I’m sure he loved me really…

So, that is the story behind my belief that I have never stopped making up for the fact I wasn’t able to talk for a couple of weeks. The scar is still visible on my lips. I see it every time I look in the mirror, but I doubt anyone else really notices it.

But, I’m not a kid anymore. More’s the pity.

I have viral gastroenteritis. I won’t go into details. It’s on its way out now (pun intended), but boy has it been a bitch! My wonderful immune system is so busy chewing the fat from my nerves, it forgot it has a far more important job to do! A virus is a nasty little bugger and most of them are incurable. Unlike bacteria, it has no structure to it, so it attaches itself to something living (me! or rather the cells inside me) and it causes illness. This should provoke an immune response, but it seems my immune system was otherwise occupied with my nerves. Such was the sickness, I couldn’t hold all the various meds I have to take down and this, in turn, led to a bit of trauma when I was, finally, able to keep them where they are supposed to be. There are side-effects of my MS drugs that I have shared…glowing bright red twice a day for example, but there is another effect that only a few close friends know about. Until now. They play havoc with my digestive system. And yes, that’s the polite way to put it. I’d kinda got a handle on that side of my new MS life, but what I hadn’t anticipated was that having only been unable to take the drugs for a few days, the side effects would appear with a vengeance, acting as if I’d never taken the drug before, once I could take them again. To say its been distressing is actually a bit of an understatement.

My childhood was rough and tumble. Always scrapes, bumps and oh so many stitches. No staples in those days. I still have the scars. I don’t remember having many bugs, viruses or whatever you want to call them though. Colds, chicken-pox and sometimes a stomach pain induced by not wanting to go to school, but nothing to write home about. Until I got epilepsy. And then MS. The ailments I never had, are all catching up with me now.

The moral of the story? Enjoy what you have while you have it; you don’t know how long you’ve got it for.

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