After a while I noticed that he really was looking VERY poorly. And he was very very very hot. And he was covered in a rash.
But I'm still not overly alarmed because basically I reached the stage long ago in my life where confronted with yet another catastrophe I sort of mentally go 'whatever' and roll my eyes like a sulky teenager (whilst trying to conceal the stirrings of a deep dark dread and the thumping beginnings of panic).
Anyway I called the doctor and took him in - expecting to leave 10 minutes later with reassurance it was just a virus.
In fact we left 10 minutes later in an ambulance with all the nee naws going.
Didn't see that one coming.
His temperature was over 40 which is pretty considerable considering he'd had Calpol and Ibuprofen. Bits of his rash weren't fading. And above all he was 'unbelievably cranky and hostile'. I wanted to put my hand up at this point in proceedings and say 'but that's normal' but I was too busy being offered a glass of water (water? water? Surely a stiff gin would be more appropriate) by the receptionist as the other receptionist called 999 as the GP couldn't get through to the hospital on her special line thing.
And then off we went in the back of an ambulance for the second time in his short life.
At the other end it was feared he had meningitis. He didn't. Thank heavens. What he did have continued to confound medical science for an entire 6 days and nights.
6 days and nights in which I was forced to exist in the confines of a small bile-yellow coloured hospital room with no break, watching my child be regularly tortured ('the strongest 3 year old we've had to cannulate' as he bucked free and wrestled various medical professionals to the floor....), very little food (they only feed the children or the pregnant - adults are supposed to be able to go out and forage - rather hard when you have a 3 year old you can't leave) and an incredible shortage of tea (not to mention Strongbow).
During this time I was subjected to NHS red-tape at it's very finest. Now I'm a huge fan of the NHS and I really can not fault the way they saved my life 3 years ago, got me sane again not long after and looked after my little boy (plus I work for them sometimes so I need to be nice ;) ) but when it comes to bureaucracy - well they love it. I recently spent an entire morning be ingtrained how to lift up a cardboard box. Brace yourself for this information but you can pick it up either with a 'palm hold' or with a 'diagonal hold'. Don't try using your teeth or wires attached to your nipples. We also got to 're-enact' such tricky procedures as 'pushing a trolley with leaflets in' and, even harder, 'pushing a trolley through a door which needs to be opened'. Two men got to pick up a big armchair together, with full commentary, but us feeble women were spared that indignity. Anyway - this bureaucracy showed itself at it's finest during my stay when my son needed to go for a chest x-ray.
Now bearing in mind he was the ill one and there was NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, it seemed odd I had to go to the x-ray department in a wheelchair. With him on my lap.
A porter (sorry 'member of the multi-functionary team') turned up with a chair and I was slightly worried because he was a very tiny man of Far Eastern origin who looked as if he'd struggle to push a grape, let alone me and my hefty child. Anyway we climbed aboard and off he huffed.
After around 5 minutes he parked me at the side of a cold draughty corridor and went to sit on a bench.
Hmmm. That heavy am I?
After a while I started to shiver so asked him what was happening now (I was actually starting to feel quite scared - should I sit here submissively and await my fate or get up and flee?).
He informed me (as best he could in very broken English) 'We must wait here because it is Sunday. Not many people. It is Sunday. We wait for escort. On Sunday's there could be incident. I could molest. So we have escort. Not on other days. More people'.
So you are potentially a sex pest? But only on a Sunday?
Well that's reassuring then.
Around 10 minutes later a female escort (as in a woman who works for the hospital following men round who are pushing other women in wheelchairs - but only a Sunday. Not escort as in woman you pay to take back to your hotel room) lumbered up and we went on our merry way to the x-ray department.
Not quite as bizarre as another porter who I befriended (without an escort) in the hope of getting a cup of tea (I did, I got 3) and later told me that he knew where I lived and particularly admired my new shed. He'd stood on the bridge and looked down upon it many, many times......
Anyway the main thing is he's fine (my son, not the shed-loving-porter) now (we still aren't quite sure what it was but they have thankfully ruled out some rare auto-immune stuff and a lung x-ray showed he may have a lung infection and new antibiotics co-incided with him getting better) but seriously - you couldn't make this crap up.
I mean is that REALLY how I needed to end this dreaded of years!?
And then I was released back into society (what is that blue expanse above me? The sky! THE SKY! What are those fast moving shiny metal things? CARS! What is this I see before me? A cup of decent tea!!) and managed about 4 normal days before the school told me to come and get my older son as he'd sort of fallen to the ground sobbing and was rather hot.
Yipeee! What now? Rabies? Ebola?
No - just a nice dramatic ear infection and yet another perforated ear drum later he's much better. But not without a 2am nose bleed which I stupidly dealt with by taking him into my own bed to calm him down. This meant that about 10 minutes later when his body decided he wasn't a vampire and it would therefore vomit up the vast amount of blood he's swallowed - he did it all over my bed.
Now I'm all for a bit of excitement in the bedroom and I'm open to new ideas but, erm, having blood spewed over me like something from The Exorcist by a small howling child? Errr no.
So that's where I've been. In yet another form of hell.....
Hopefully normal service will now resume but I can in no way guarantee anything!
Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for sticking by me through this most testing of years.
It nothing else, at least my life's not dull.