A sunny bank holiday Monday. The plan had been to take a drive to Foxley Wood which would be blanketed in bluebells. How wonderful!
Boo spent the day feeling unwell. Lethargic, nauseous and running a temperature, she stayed in bed.
All day she refused any medicine though. But I don’t tend to panic at the first sign of a temperature though. Not like Teflon Man, who seemed to time travel back to the 1950s demanding that we get a doctor to make a house call. He wasn’t impressed when I pointed out that doctors don’t do that any more and our options were a) to go through NHS Direct/Choices that will just tell us that due to her running a temperature she has a fever and to self-manage, b) to drag her to an out-of-hours surgery and wait interminably with other people who dare to fall ill on a bank holiday, only to be told that it’s a fever and to go home and self-manage or c) wait til our own surgery opens and get a callback from her GP. Who’ll say that there’s zip they can do.
Boo’s not ill very often, but when she is she manages to pull off a look not too far off Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rogue – all delicate waif that is; not so much the tight corsets and singing.
She wasn’t well, but she was fine sleeping it off. I kept a bedside vigil as much as I could. (A blessing as the night before had definitely caught up with me. Long gone are the days when a hangover can be shaken off, especially when there’s no bacon in the house.)
But the first rule of childhood illness is that things always get worse after dark.
At 7.40pm her temperature went up some more. The digital thermometer was missing, but an out-of-date forehead thermometer put her at around 39 degrees. She agreed to have some Calpol.
There wasn’t any.
There was an empty box in the cupboard, but no actual medicine.
On a normal day this wouldn’t be a problem. Sainsbury’s is 5 minutes away in one direction and shuts at 8.00pm. Morrisons is 5 minutes in the opposite direction and shuts at 9.00pm. But a bank holiday is NOT a normal day – they were both closed. (A fact I only discovered after walking first to Morrisons and then Sainsbury’s.)
Not to panic, there’d be a chemist open somewhere. I hopped in the car and headed to the one we’d always go to when I was a kid.
Yes, it’s been a while, apparently. It’s now a tattoo parlour. I kept driving.
(And by ‘kept driving’ what I mean is that I sat at every set of traffic lights on the way out of town.)
The small supermarkets were shut, but there are two big supermarkets on the outskirts of town. Both open til late – Tesco is 24 hours – and both have a pharmacy. Both were also closed.
For that matter, who decided massive supermarkets were a good idea? Without them and their umbrella of convenience, chances are that the small pharmacy wouldn’t have shut down and I could’ve actually got what I needed. Gah! Damn and blast big-name commercialism.
I drove back into town. There was one more chemist to try. As a last resort I decided I’d knock on a friend’s door and ask if I could borrow some Calpol from her. (Because surely I’m the only mum who doesn’t have a perpetual supply, even though I only use about 20ml of every bottle I buy. Do Calpol fairies then steal them back? Or do they disappear into the same black hole that sucks up one sock from every other pair and the very important piece of paper that you need RIGHT NOW, instead leaving behind a surfeit of pre-school scribblings.
But then, as I drove by, I noticed the Spar was open!
An hour after I’d set off on my 5-minute errand I was heading back home. Wouldn’t you guess it: more red lights.
I’m chaining the Calpol to the medicine cabinet for next time though. Those pesky fairies can keep their hands off. This time it’s staying as mine!