I think I have mentioned before that the body fluid I hate the most is snot. I hate the look of snot, the texture of snot, but what I hate specifically is the sound of snot. When I applied for my first junior doctor job the rotations that included ‘respiratory medicine’ went right to the bottom of my list. Ironically I then ended up on an endocrine rotation that shared a ward with the respiratory patients.This was basically a four month exercise in torture listening to people who had spent their lives lunging on 50 Bensons a day hawking up their last few breaths in a cloud of green phlegm.
And now my child has a cold. And holy mother of god, the rattle of snot in her little nostrils is excrutiating. And loud. Good god it’s loud. I text out desperate cries for help to my fellow night dwellers on the mummy network. The word on the mum street is you squirt saline up each nostril to loosen up the mucus. And then you suck it out.
Suck. It. Out.
Even in my darkest hour, when she sounds like a genetic splicing of Darth Vader and a baby hedgehog, I can’t bring myself to put my mouth to her nose and hoover up her nostrils. I text the boyfriend (who is away working and getting regular sleep in a hotel room – grrrr) and he suggests a baby nasal aspirator. It’s 2am. Thank god for online shopping. £10 later and I’ve bought a piece of plastic tubing and a small plastic chamber attached to a nozzle. Nice work nasal aspirator sellers. I bet that cost you 5 1/2p to make in your factory in Korea.
When it appears through my letterbox 2 days later, I’m initially horrified by the thought of sticking it in her nose and sucking on the other end of the tube. But come 2am I’m desperate enough to try. And the deep sense of satisfaction when I catch a little green slimey pellet in the small plastic chamber is up there with a successful arrest call.
The only good thing about cold season, is it coincides with Christmas party season, so I am, with some legitimacy, getting slightly sozzled on mulled wine most evenings. And I can justify it to myself by explaining the subsequent effect on my breast milk as the equivalent of giving her a hot toddy. A tactic that my retired GP stepdad would approve, that being his standard solution to any minor illness. In fact, not just a minor illness. When my brother failed his driving test for the umpteenth time, my stepfather suggested he have a shot of whiskey to calm his nerves prior to his next test. He followed his advice and passed. So clearly advice worth pursuing.
However I may have taken things a little far when I returned some babygros to M&S and exchanged them for a couple of bottles of mulled wine. Quite literally removing the shirt from her back and using them to buy alcohol. Oh dear.