For now though, there are FAR more pressing matters to deal with. A crisis befell the Williams' household on Tuesday this week...
Let me paint the scene. It was early morning. We were both chilling in our pyjamas… Dad’s School wasn’t scheduled to break up for the Easter holidays until the next day, but at the last minute Dad decided that the staff team had worked bloody hard this term, and so being the enigmatic school leader that he is he decided to treat them to a cheeky little INSET Day. What a guy. The Boy was happy, it meant that if he kept under the radar Dad might even let the teeth brushing slide for a day. Life was good.
We were sitting in the lounge, having a discussion about whether the Power Rangers is a documentary or not (to be fair, it was me trying to convince The Boy it was), when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. “What’s that on Skye?”, he asked, pointing at one of the guinea pigs.
She had “a patch” on her side where the fur was missing. “What is it?”, The Boy asked a second time, the emotion and anxiety rising in his voice. “It’s nothing”, I replied calmly, forever the voice of reason. And inside I was screaming “TUMOUR!!!! The guinea pig has a tumour!!! On an INSET day!!!! This will all end badly and we now have to sit here watching her slowly die a long, painful, wretched death!!!”.
“Don’t worry mate, it’s fine”, I smiled, “I'm sure it's nothing, but we'll take her to the vet, just to make sure… I’ll make an appointment”. We’d never been to the vet before. The demise of the hamster had been far too quick for medical intervention. I did a Google search, found one, and made the phone call. I couldn’t voice my fears on the phone since The Boy was now listening in, his anxiety levels rising, that so-called lack of empathy that so many experts like to spout on and on about is mysteriously nowhere to be seen when you need it. Despite the gravitas of the situation it wasn’t appreciated by everyone, I’m sure I heard the receptionist snigger over the telephone when I described the guinea pig’s symptoms as “a patch”, but I ignored her. This was serious.
We made poor Skye a portable home out of an old shoe box, filled it with hay and kale (oh, we’re never without a spare bit of kale knocking around in this household), said goodbye to a lonely left-at-home Fluffy and made our way to the emergency room. And for the whole drive all I’m thinking is please-please-don’t-put-this-poor-bloody-guinea-pig-to-sleep-in-front-of-The-Boy. On arrival, I’m slightly disappointed that we aren’t rushed straight through to Resuscitation, but instead we’re handed a clipboard to fill in our details.
“No”, The Boy shouts indignantly, “It’s S-K-Y”. (See how Dad’s School is always educational, even on an INSET Day?) All this time I’d spelt it wrong…
Colour? Black and white
Date of birth? -
I almost felt ashamed for not knowing her exact date of birth, but I took a chance that it might not be a deal breaker. I handed the clipboard back together with Sky’s address, email and phone number, and we took a seat. After a few minutes, a door opened, and a nurse appeared.
“Sky Williams”, she called out.
Me and The Boy looked at one another. Neither of us moved. She’s talking to the bloody guinea pig.
“Sky Williams”, she repeated. Without saying anything we nodded, and the three of us filed into the consulting room behind her...
The vet was very friendly. And Sky was ever so brave. She was weighed. Perfect. Then out came the stethoscope to check her vital signs. Her heart and lungs were in fine condition. I began to relax a bit. The whole time The Boy didn’t look at any of us, his eyes were transfixed on a door at the far-side of the room. The vet continued, she checked her eyes. Clear. Ears. Clear. Then, after seemingly forever, she looked at “the patch”.
There was a pause. Maybe not quite as long as I’m trying to make it now for dramatic effect, but it was definitely a pause. “It looks like an abrasion”, she said, “she must have caught it on something. I’ll give you some cream.” Then I think she felt a bit guilty, “her nails are quite long, I’ll give them a trim”….
That was that. An abrasion. A graze. I’d wasted an INSET Day and brought a bloody guinea pig to the vets with a graze. The Boy couldn’t even share in the relief of all this because he was still transfixed on the door at the end of the room. Eventually, he spoke.
“Is that where the dead animals go?”, he blurted out.
We said our goodbyes and left to go and pay. Fifty four pound. Fifty four painful, hard-earned pounds. £32 for the trauma appointment, £22 for the cream. So there you go. And now The Boy has gone to his mums for the Easter weekend, and I am spending mine applying £22 cream twice a day to a guinea pig graze. I told you I was busy.
Happy Easter to you all. I won’t leave it as long next time, promise. Oh, and if the Easter Bunny has a little fall on Sunday morning and catches his knee while delivering your goodies, I’d just leave him lying on the ground if I were you…