And just when I thought I knew everything

Annie hospital

Sometimes I know everything about parenting. Everything. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt kind of everything. Bedtime routines, traveling with children on planes, keeping vaccination records when your child has lived in 4 different countries by the time they’re 6 months old. An old hat, a veteran of children’s affairs if you will.

And then there are the unknowns. The spanners that fall amongst the cogs and wheels of every day machinations. The mystery illness, the tantrum, the unexplained reaction. The what in the hell just happened?  Those not so gentle reminders that we don’t actually have it under control. Hey sucker you thought you knew how this worked? Buddy, this game is ever-changing, there’s a plot change waiting at every corner.

Perhaps this is why I lock on to the things I know to be true. This is a sure thing. I’ve got this. I know how this works.

Yesterday when the second little traveller checked into the hospital for ear operation number seven, I walked with a confidence I’ve often seen in others. We’ve done this shit before, yes yes you don’t need to explain the process to us, we know how this works. The orderly will take us to the room, we’ll be asked a series of questions, paperwork will be checked. The anesthetist will drop by, entertain us, speak gently of raspberry flavoured gas and beautiful dreams. The orderlies will return with a knowing look and a cheery disposition. And as you watch your baby be wheeled down a hospital corridor you will push the unthinkable from your brain. You will experience the saturation of great relief upon sight of your ENT who will announce that all is well. Balloons will be given, icecream served and bad morning television watched while you wait to be released to your normal life again.

My only excuse from this point is that it was 5am when the forms were filled.

I handed them over at the front desk while the usual questions were asked.

“Are you aware…”

“Yes” I cut in. I knew that, I knew everything, this was our 7th time.

“Can you…”

“Yes, I can, I know that, this is our 7th time.”

When we got to the room the nurse arrived with a set of instructions.

“Here’s a…”

“Yes, we’ve done this, I’ll make sure it happens, this is our 7th time.”

A veteran with nothing new to learn. I was making sure they knew they didn’t have to worry about me. I imagine they were probably waiting for me to offer to perform the surgery myself. I knew how to do it. This was our 7th time.

As the nurse made her way through the forms she stopped at previous surgeries. She then looked at me, looked at the little traveller and then back to me again.

“Umm, six previous tubal…”

“Yes.” I cut in “this is our seventh time”.

“Yes, but six previous tubal ligations?”


I paused, hang on, that didn’t sound right. I took a break from knowing everything while tubal thoughts made their way in and out of my mind.

Tubal lig…. oh shit, tubal ligations are when you have your fallopian tubes tied. No. Our eleven year old daughter was yet to have her tubes tied, and I guess seven times would possibly be a little extreme. I imagine once would do the trick.

“Oops, tubes, in her ears, she’s here for tubes in her ears.”

The nurse giggled at my medical faux pas.

“That’s going to have me giggling all morning. I can’t wait to tell the others.” she snorted.

“Your welcome.” I grinned. “Always happy to provide the entertainment.”

I gathered they would no longer be expecting me to assist in the operation.

And just when I thought I knew everything.

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