Poor Stevie

Archive of ‘j-man’ category

Happy nude year

At 12.01am on January 1, 2014, as people outside cheered and turned up music and let off crackers, I was changing a very dirty nappy. One of those up-to-the-ears-all-up-the-back poops, that you cannot believe came from something so beautiful and teensy and precious. It turned out it was an apt way to start a year that was a bit of a shit, if I’m honest.

Usually, I do a year in review by looking back at my diary entries for the year. But reading my diary was far too upsetting and boring, so I thought I would take my sister Julia’s Year in Review questionnaire thingy.

My sister Julia’s Year in Review questionnaire thingy

1.What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I became a ‘working mother’. I also ate a cronut.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I kept most of them. We moved out of our horrible hot granny flat in Balmain, I got a haircut, I got out and made some new friends, I am in the process of fixing my pelvis that got f-ed up when a baby passed through it, I read more.

A few of my goals for 2015 are: re-learn how to sew, make a complicated birthday cake for someone, go to the theatre, and make sure I mark special occasions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, my sister Mary had the darling Alexandra.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. So, that was nice.

5. What countries did you visit?

Country NSW. That place is the bomb. Wide open spaces, excellent cakes, the best op-shops, old school friends, animals, brilliant melting moments and surprisingly fresh sushi.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Patience. Sleep. Fashion.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 26. We moved house that day and it was the greatest. July 21. That’s when I went back to work and the girl child went to daycare. August 26. The day we ignored our 10th anniversary. September 21, the day my baby became a toddler.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Going back to work. Making a bad-ass batch of cinnamon scrolls.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Scratching the side of my mum’s car in the Orange City Centre carpark. I will never forget that awful, heart-sinking feeling when I heard the sound of metal and concrete making contact.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I kicked post-natal depression in its teeth. I’m still trying to fix a case of pubis symphysis, which has me hobbling like a pirate. I am wearing a sort of velcroed, elastic, grey girdle belt as I write! Oh,mama!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A car. She’s royal blue and we named her Barbara Bush.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

J-man, for being a boss legend. My sisters and mum and dad, for supporting me during the early months of motherhood. The girl child, for being ever so sweet.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled?

The woman who lost it at a checkout chick in KMart when she found out their selfie sticks were sold out two days before Christmas. And after a year like 2014, so, so many others.

14. Where did most of your money go?

To childcare. And the motor vehicle industry.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Seeing Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age. The baby was about six months old, and still not sleeping very well, and I had been feeling pretty flat. I remember coming home after the show and telling J-man that I felt alive again.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Nominal, by #1 Dads.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

a) HAPPIER. SO MUCH HAPPIER.

b) Same.

c) Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxing and being creative. I pretty much never did those things.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Fighting and looking at my phone. I waste so much time on my stupid, fucking phone. Maybe a new year’s resolution should be setting fire to my phone.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eating. Swimming. Watching an enormous thunderstorm.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

No. But I didn’t fall out of love.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

There were so many good ones this year. Orange is the New Black, Veep, True Detective, and Chelsea Peretti’s comedy special on Netflix, One of the Greats.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. My hate levels remain very critical, but stable

24. What was the best book you read?

This House of Grief, by Helen Garner.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Young Fathers. Palms.

26. What did you want and get?

A baby who occasionally sleeps through the night. A box of Haigh’s truffles. A new house. A lot of time in the country. Some wonderful new friends.

27. What did you want and not get?

A holiday.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

Ah, man. This is a mean question to ask the mother of a young child. I really liked Gone Girl and was particularly chuffed to have seen Ben Affleck’s man jewels.

29. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having an interesting job.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Youngish mumish, watermelon print enthusiast.

31. What kept you sane?

Afternoon walks in Rozelle, especially after discovering Bellingen Gelato and their mint-choc-chip. It is spiked with real peppermint essence and is filled with a generous amount of dark chocolate shavings. PUT IT IN MY MOUTH IMMEDIATELY.   

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ira Glass. Justice Lucy McCallum. Justice Geoffrey Bellew.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ah, man. This year made me mad in my bones. Gender equality. Racial equality. All of the equalities. Climate change. Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Changes to the welfare system.

34. Who did you miss?

My mum. 300 kilometres may as well be 30,000 kilometres sometimes.   

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

I’m still learning how to live in the moment. Not in the idiot-girl-in-your-university-dorm-inspirational-quote kind of way, but I need to just to look around every day, and be content with what I have.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we’ll collect the moments one by one
I guess that’s how the future’s done

How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

falafel kerfuffle

Two women with prams were happily chatting at the post office about their weekends, their work, their husbands and their babies. The perky blonde mum abruptly ended the conversation with “I’d better go home. Mrs X says I have to feed him at 11.30 everyday and I can’t be out of the house while he naps”. Mrs X is one of those “baby whisperers” who makes a shartload of money by giving mums a strict timetable for their new babies to follow with the apparent aim of lots of sleep. She has been used, with mixed results, by a few women I know. I wanted to somehow drag these women at the post office down the street to a coffee shop and yell: “HAVE A CHAT. BE DAMNED YOUR BABY’S PRECIOUS “AT HOME” NAP. HERE, MOTORBOAT AN ENTIE BLACK FOREST CAKE.” But I suppose that constitutes common assault, so I let them go unharmed.

When I hear Mrs X’s name, a chill goes down my spine. I picked up some of Mrs X’s advice by osmosis via the women I know and, for a fortnight or so, I tried to force Cordelia to sleep when she didn’t want to, for longer than she wanted to. Of course, it didn’t work, Delia screamed a lot and I felt like a failure. I knew I had to stop when one day I was so obsessed with her sleep “routine” I forgot to buy falafels for the falafel rolls I was going to make for dinner and cried to J-man, “I am a terrible wife and mother. I can’t even remember to get falafels, the primary ingredient for falafel rolls. I’m no good at anything”. A tired J-man sighed and said: “For fuck’s sake, it’s just falafel.” He is a most excellent and smart man.

I feel like the falafel tantrum of summer 2014 is an excellent example of why a mother’s mental health and wellbeing should be of utmost importance. When Cordelia was two-weeks-old I got a visit from a community nurse who asked me a series of questions, which I now know to be a test for post-natal depression. I cried while I answered questions about whether I cried more than usual. The nurse got to the end of the test, brightly said “perfectly normal!” and left my house. When I took the same test a couple of weeks later in my doctor’s office the result practically flashed up on her screen as “totally fucking miserable”. Over the course of a few months, a lovely psychologist talked to me about why women can struggle with depression after having a baby. All of the things that lift the spirit and are recommended to ease depression – seeing friends, going outside, exercising, reading books – are virtually impossible when you have a small baby.

Sleeping well is also crucial part of feeling like a functioning person. And that’s exactly why these “baby whisperer” d-bags get loads of customers. They are cashing in on desperate mothers hoping to get some control back in their lives, feel even vaguely normal, and maybe eat Cheezels with their girlfriends once in a while, so they pay someone to tell them what their baby “needs” to be predictable and unconscious. It worked for some women I know, but not for most because those alleged baby needs involved being at home all the time with fgew interruptions to their important little infant schedules. Yeah, well, what about what a human woman needs? Some company, variety, excitement, mental stimulation and some godamned falafel.

mixed nuts

It turns out motherhood has made me pretty crazy. To illustrate, here are a few of my recent Google searches: “sleep regression”, “baby waking at 4am and not going back to sleep”, “sleeping through the night”,”shush pat”, “getting rid of the dummy”, “getting rid of the wrap”, “pick up, put down”, “putting baby down awake”, “baby bedtime”, “am I a bad mother?”, “Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami”.

As you can tell I am really living it up on maternity leave. Also, I am pretty obsessed with sleep. I always have been. For an assignment in year 4 we had to track how we spent our days. I slept the most out of everyone in my class and was mildly scolded by our teacher for listing sleep as one of my hobbies. I’m probably the only person to have enjoyed a bout of glandular fever – two weeks of sleep! Yes! Sleep really is just the best.

I have also always been pretty obsessed with babies. I picked out the name Cordelia when I was 16. I have cooed over little baby outfits since forever. I would snatch baby cousins from their parents and cuddle them all day long. In early high school, I found out it might be hard for me to have a baby. I remember the vacant looks on the pimply faces of my friends as I broke the news in the playground, a mere 14 years since we all exited the birth canal.

So my two greatest loves have collided. Poor J-man has to console me almost daily about some new thing I found buried deep on a 2007 parenting forum. (Apparently I’m also obsessed with torturing myself.) “J-man!” I say “I read about some woman whose baby went from sleeping perfectly to never sleeping at all and her marriage broke down and now she lives in a caravan and has warts on her nose and wears a rope belt and tissue boxes as shoes”. Over and over again, he has to remind me that everything is OK, he won’t leave me (IT’S IN PRINT NOW, JOEL), everything is a phase, our baby is lovely and my feet are way too big to fit in tissue boxes.

This parenthood thing can be rough. But there’s someone who makes it all worthwhile. I love her to bits…

… when she’s asleep

Dearly22

… and when she’s awake

Dearly1

labour pains: the finale

Exactly a week after Snorky was due, on September 21, this is what happened:

4.37am – I wake to painful cramps that pulse through my belly at regular intervals. I wait a moment before I wake J-man because this whole fake labour shiz has been going on for weeks. This could just be Thai take-out, I think. Like that scene in The Madness of King George when Helen Mirren tells Nigel Hawthorne to “try a fart”, I do just that to no avail. I wake J-man and tell him it’s on like Donkey Kong.

6am – The contractions are consistently coming every couple of minutes. In the book they give you at baby classes, it says this means the baby is imminent and get in the car now or you will have the kid in the toilet. I am thrilled at how quickly it all seems to be going and I imagine gazing at my baby over lunch.

8am – I have peanut butter on toast for breakfast, as the contractions pick up. J-man rings the hospital and they tell us amateurs to stay at home because this baby is not coming anytime soon. Hey lady, take some Panadol, have a hot shower and chew on some cement, they tell us.

9am – I set up a pain station in the lounge room, where I kneel on a pillow and put my head on another pillow placed on a chair. I cry, I scream, and I grunt. This baby is coming! J-man talks about calling the hospital again. I say if they ask whether the pain is manageable to tell them yes it is, I have a high pain threshold, and I could just as easily have this baby at home. I hear him say these words, words that will come to haunt me.

11am – Everything comes to a grinding halt. I feel like an idiot.

Noon – Oh, hang on. Here we go, something is happening. I want to keep things moving, so I get the broom and use it as a walking stick for my dicky hip and do laps of the courtyard under the hot sun. The contractions continue to come frequently and I moan and groan while our neighbours discreetly usher their visitors indoors.

2pm – Finally, I rate the pain as unmanageable and we hop in our little hire car and go to the hospital. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I distinctly remember sitting at a red light on Victoria Road wishing for death. Or birth. Whichever.

2.15pm – The midwives obviously care not about my views on life and death and send me to a waiting room in the delivery ward. Another couple – a heavily pregnant woman who is not in labour and her dude – sit across from us watching some kind of car race on the TV. I am contracting in front of strangers and it is the height of totes awkward. I squeeze J-man’s hand until it looks like a rubber chicken.

2.20pm – A lovely young midwife named Emily with a nose stud examines me and finds I am measuring – cough – three centimetres. Three. And I have to get to ten. How embarrassing is this? I can’t even take contracting to a three. She tells us to head back home, rest, have something to eat and come back at about 6pm.

3pm – This part is kind of a daze. I don’t remember being in heaps and heaps of pain, but I do remember telling J-man he should get in some nap time and a Red Dead Redemption session before things get real. I eat coconut bread with honey and an orange icy pole. Things amp up about 5.30pm and red hot, raging cramps race around my belly and back.

6.45pm – We go back to the hospital. The short trip to RPA is horrific. I cry and moan and have hand-to-hand combat with my seatbelt, which I’m convinced is making everything worse.

7pm – A kindly middle-aged midwife ushers me in to a delivery suite and shows me how to use the gas. The gas, my friends, is a con. It does nothing. But it does feel surprisingly good to just pretend. I get into a night shirt and ask the midwife whether I should take off my underpants. She laughs and says I can keep my dignity a little longer.

7.20pm – A lovely young midwife named Tori comes in and takes over. She says I now measure four. Fucking FOUR!? Will I still be in labour when they hand me a gold timepiece at my retirement party? She suggests we all get in the shower together. Me, her, J-man and the gas bottle. The shower is (obviously) huge. Tori and J-man chit-chat and discover we all went to the same uni. It’s weird. Here I am, totally naked, having a shower while my husband watches with another woman and there’s drugs in the room. This is not something I would usually be into.

9pm – The feeling of hot water on my body starts to annoy me. And this is about the time that I lose my mind. It is, I believe, the part the books and Satan himself call “transition”. At first I lean up against the bed growling and grunting like a wild animal, sucking in gas and chewing ice chips. Tori tells me to let her know when I am not coping and she will give me morphine. Soon after, I yell at J-man “I AM NOT COPING” in between hitting him on the chest as the contractions start to become just one big, awful contraction. I get the morphine. It does nothing for the pain, only makes me really sleepy in between contractions. With each one, Tori tells me “You can. You can”.

10pm – It’s time to start pushing. I won’t go into graphic detail, only to say that while it stung like a giant bee with fangs, claws, and Swiss Army knife in its pocket, it was such a feeling of relief. I look back now, imagining being naked, on all fours and grunting, as two midwives look up my clacker, and the only way I can explain it is this: I was not there for my own labour. The real me was at home watching Breaking Bad and eating cheese on the couch, waiting for Labour Steph – the unashamed and naked one – to come home with the baby.

11.37 – A little, blue being drops between my legs and starts to cry. J-man cuts the cord. I call my parents. We cry, we laugh, we freak out. We name her Cordelia.

Delia1

 

 

labour pains II

The sign on the physiotherapist’s door said: “Knock ONCE and wait PATIENTLY”. The physio ushered us into her office, while still treating a pregnant woman for problems she probably didn’t want to share with J-man and me. The physio was nudging 60, wearing a white zip-up coat and sneakers, and had a Carmela Soprano hairstyle. The open-plan surgery was very old school, with 1980s-style posters on the wall, baring slogans like “PELVIC FLOOR: USE IT OR LOSE IT”. Her writing was scrawled and heavily underlined on a couple of whiteboards: “TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE DURING CONSULTATIONS!”. We winced when J-man’s phone buzzed.

Over the next 30 minutes, these are some of the things she said while diagnosing me with something called Pelvic Girdle Pain (it sounds so benign and Victorian) and showing J-man how to massage me:

– “This is probably labour. You’ve been in labour since Friday.”

– “You want the pain to go away? Get that kid out.”

– “Take off all your clothes. But not there – anyone could just walk in and see you naked.”

– “I’m going to use a permanent marker on your buttocks.”

– “Joel, put your finger there. Ask if it hurts. Wait until she says yes and then press down hard.”

– “That’s good, Joel. See how she’s crying? Sometimes you’ve got to make them cry.”

– “Is that your pubis? Good! I’m pleased with your pubis.”

– “Now. Go home and have sex. I’m not joking – that’s the best way to get this kid out.”

Monday came and went, and Snorky did not arrive. At this rate she’ll be celebrating her 18th birthday in utero.

labour pains

It was going to be the perfect labour story. I imagined telling my daughter about the night she was born: “Your Gigi and I were talking on the phone about when you might arrive, when I felt pain in my back, spreading around to my tummy. It was good pain, exciting pain,” I would tell her every birthday. “I had a deadline to meet the next morning, so I hung up and worked for hours on a project I was really proud of, happily feeling little pains every so often. After days of weird Spring heat, it was cool outside and the wind howled wildly. Your dad was watching Cloud Control play at the Metro and I texted him to say I thought you might be on your way. He told his friends the news, and we were all so thrilled. I had peanut butter on toast for dinner, and late that night, I went to bed and cradled my tummy, nervously imagining the next 24 hours and how much our lives would change.”

That was Thursday night. Little Snorky didn’t arrive. On Friday, I felt really uncomfortable. I still felt twinges when I walked. It was painful walking the six blocks to the coffee shop and home again, but I was so excited. That night, we went out for what I was sure would be our last meal as a childless couple, and by the end I could barely move. We had to catch a taxi the four blocks home. I thought: This! Is! It! I even had J-man take a photo of what was definitely my final day of pregnancy. How smug I felt.

preGGo

On Saturday morning, her due date, Snorky was a no-show. When I tried to get up, I couldn’t, with a shooting pain ripping through my hip, my butt, and down my right leg. Every step I took was accompanied by an automatic wince or a scream or a cry. I spent Saturday on the couch in my dressing gown, with darling J-man tending to my every need. Before bed I tearfully talked to a midwife, who said the only cure for what she thought might be sciatica at this stage of pregnancy was to have the baby. I crawled onto our bed and cried in frustration. Today, Sunday, has been no improvement. Little Snorkel is in there moving around like it ain’t no thing, happy in her human spa bath while I grit my teeth in agony.

This morning I thought about how lucky I’ve been to have an incredibly smooth pregnancy, with no illness or complications. If this is all I have to endure before labour, then I should be thankful. And I am.

But so far, Snorkel’s labour story goes like this: “In the days before I had you, I was in so much pain that your dad had to do things like carry me to the toilet, help me bathe and put my underpants on. And that’s why he started dating men.”

my boo

I just looked up euphemisms for pregnancy, and my favourite is “in the pudding club”. So yeah, as 50 Cent would say: I’m in the club, bottle full of bub.

Also, you could say I’m growing feet.

Feet

In the grand tradition of lists about things I find weird (Europe and also Europe), I bring you a list of weird things I’ve noticed about being pregnant.

A list of weird things I’ve noticed about being pregnant:

It’s dark and nighttime: When not pregnant I close my eyes, and eight, nine, or sometimes ten hours later, I wake up in exactly the same position. Now suddenly I’m waking up at midnight, 3am, 5am and then when my alarm goes off. But I’m mostly waking up for strange reasons.

A couple of nights ago I woke up in a cold sweat because I had a graphic dream about autopsy photos. A few nights later I woke up in a marital panic in the middle of a dream about passionately kissing some dude. In the morning I realised the dude was a guy I saw very briefly in a lift at work. He was nice and all, but he had a rat’s tail, a paunch and bail papers. Then last night I woke up at 2am with my doona folded very neatly on top of me and lying on Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and David Marr’s Quarterly Essay Political Animal, both of which I remembered putting at my bedside.

Chalk and cheese: My culinary desires have reverted right back to childhood. Serve me a plate of boiled eggs, mac cheese, olives and musk sticks and I would gladly give you my first born.

Sick, sick, sick: I haven’t talked about sexually transmitted diseases so much since mine and J-man’s first date. Every medical person I talk to wants to know about any history of warts, rashes and goo. I look them straight in the eyes, cross myself and tell them the only sexually transmitted disease I’ve ever contracted is love.

Clap your hands: I am deliriously, unabashedly happy. And really in love with J-man. Super weird.

Free burrito

J-man likes to tell people he never gets hit on anymore because he “reeks of marriage”. I wouldn’t say he reeks of marriage: he is a dude who regularly stays out late without me (I like bed better than people), drinks and brews a lot of beer, and is a member of a naughty rap group that performs a song mentioning something called a “panty tsunami”.

On Saturday night, J-man offered to shout me dinner, dragged me from the couch and took me to see a band and get a burrito. He had been wanting to get a burrito since his birthday, when he went to a Mexican place in Surry Hills that helped him celebrate with a silly sombrero and a voucher for a free burrito. He was SUPER EXCITED about the free burrito and had mentioned it at least once everyday since Wednesday.

At the Mexi place, we had an exceptionally awkward encounter with the server.

Observe:

Joel: Hi. Could I have a chicken burrito, please?

Man: (Typing)

Me: Could I have a bean burrito please?

Man: Hang on please (Typing). Okay, a chicken burrito and a beef burrito.

Joel: Could I please have that weird green drink?

Me: Sorry, I said a bean burrito. Thanks.

Man: Yep, a bean burrito. You guys want hot or mild salsa?

Joel: I’ll have hot, please.

Me: Could I just have mild, please?

Man: Yes, the beef burrito comes with mild.

Me: Sorry, I asked for a bean burrito.

Man: The bean burrito comes with hot salsa.

Me: Could I just have mild, please?

Man: (Typing) Hang on … yes.

Joel: Could I please have that weird green drink?

Me: And could I get a Coke?

Man: Sorry, hang on (typing) … yes.

But this is where things got GREAT, and J-man handed over his voucher. As he pulled it from his wallet and unfolded it, it looked suspicious – it was just one of the shop’s flyers with a scribble of black texta on it.

Joel: I’ve got a free burrito!

Man: A free burrito?

Joel: A free burrito!

Man: (Looking at the flyer) This is not a free burrito. This is just a girl’s name with “FB” written on it, as in Facebook.

Joel: (Looking at the flyer) So it’s not FB as in free burrito? Ooooh … Facebook! Haha!

Turns out a sombrero must look really good on J-man, and the waitress wanted to get a little of that hot salsa. We sat down at a table where J-man declared “I’VE STILL GOT IT!” And flexed his muscles.

Man: Hey, man. You forgot your weird green drink.

sonnet

I am not living my dream.

I’m in a weird slump, and have been all year, where just about every day goes exactly like this: wake, frown, brush, sit, talk, bus, cook, cuddle, fart, sleep. Repeat. It’s just so sad, all that sleeping and eating and cuddling.

So I’ve been looking around to find people who are living their dreams. But the people I encounter tend to be taxi drivers (who have signs in their cars telling people not to spew or screw in their general vicinity), the guy who does overnight security at my building (he does overnight security at my building), the vending machine (is a machine) and a bus driver (who has to wear a fluro vest on a daily basis).

And then, as usual, I realised the answer was staring me in the face. And sometimes cooking me dinner. And spooning me late at night.

J-man is a dude who is living his dream, day in, day out. “It’s raining Joel,” he always says.

Observe.

He liked rap, so he joined a rap group:

He wanted some shelves in the shed, so he built some shelves in the shed:

He liked beer, so he learnt to make beer:

He was interested in running a beer festival, so worked his little nuts off and ran a beer festival:

He wanted to spend his 30th birthday in three time zones and finish it at Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn, so he spent his 30th birthday in three time zones and finished it at Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn:

He likes to chat, so he chats. A lot. With everyone:

He wanted scones, so he ate some scones:

He has a spirit animal:

It’s time to start making it rain Steve. Hallelujah.

to have and to hold

On Sunday morning as I was lying in bed, admiring the sunlight through the trees and trying to decide whether to have toast with peanut butter or fruit loaf with lemon curd, I heard an enormous gasp. I looked over to see J-man coming out of the bathroom rigid with pain and the colour draining from his skin. The twisted expression on his face was one I recognised – the bastard had just put his back out and completely ruined our Sunday. He’d done the same thing at Christmas and had a lot of fun on Valium.

J-man and I have an ongoing cold war over his illnesses. He accuses me of not caring enough, and I accuse him of succumbing too easily. I’ll concede: there was one time in a hostel in Dresden, Germany, when he had the beginnings of a tummy bug and I got shamefully huffy. But I paid for that by having nearly three straight weeks of gunk gushing from my trunk every few hours in the villages of eastern Europe (where the toilets are holes in the ground, the flush is a hose and the doors swing outwards).

This time it was totally impossible not to really feel for him when he was curled up in unspeakable pain on the floor, ghost white, gasping for breath and generally looking like we should have signed up for the $2.50-a-day funeral plan spruiked by Ian ‘Turps’ Turpie (may he rest).

But there are still some really insensitive mistakes I made in his care. Let this be a lesson for others who love someone with a slipped disk.

–  Do not watch them struggle. I felt a little hopeless and had no idea what I should be doing. So I just stared at him a lot. J-man had to tell me repeatedly to leave him the (beep) alone while he was trying to get his movement back via highly unflattering positions, often involving some level of butt-in-the-airness.

– Do not leave them shivering on the floor. J-man had just gotten out of the shower and only had boxers on, but I failed to notice frostbite setting in.

– Do not lecture about painkiller dosages. Just because you can read the packet out loud, doesn’t mean you should. Quit being a stickler for the rules, Steeeeve.

– Do not make a comforting baked bean jaffle with an entire can of baked beans. It turns out the bread goes really soggy, the bready-saucy package explodes, the jaffle-maker smokes and the patient is left wishing he had married his high school girlfriend.

–  Do not forget the injury and whip them with a tea towel as punishment for a joke at your expense, no matter how crude. Or its back to square one for you.