A stitch in time…

Things not to do when in post-op recovery: Watch Pauly Shore and laugh until your sides split literally. I broke through my stitches. Who knew?


In the wonderful morphine haze that accompanied my post-operative state I neglected to clear up a few salient points with my esteemed surgeon. For example the 6 weeks referred to. Is Week 1 the week of hospital or the first week out? My mother maintains the latter and I am holding out for the former. Then again, she was sober and took notes. According to her schedule this week I can walk around my garden for 10 minutes. According to mine, I can go out for lunch. I know in my head she is right, but in my heart I wish it were me. I have paid the price for pushing too far over the last week. I overdid the exercises, I’ve been outside and I’ve suffered the excruciating pain associated with your guts trying to escape your body. So this week I will try harder.


The father of my offspring was finally released from hospital last Friday. I think they became afraid he was harbouring Prison Break fantasies and would upset the other inmates. They still have no clue what alien lifeform lives within him, but sent him home with much relief. He does not fit the profile of The Good Patient. He reads his file (who does that?) and then Googles from his hospital bed. He admonishes the nurses when they don’t give him his meds (quite rightly) and can wield a drip stand like a warrior with a lance. So, when he could eat jelly they sent him home. Much thinner if none the wiser as to what caused him to become so ill in the first place. Like many men who do not quite understand the silent and deadly fear women have of being fat, he has happily pointed out to my mother, my friends and some women who fight daily with eating disorders that now he weighs less than them. Don’t gloat. It is unbecoming. What you do is when commented upon, say breezily, “Oh yes, it was horrible! I lost so much weight when I was ill and was horrified by gaunt I looked.”


As for me? During that week my sainted mother looked after me making up for a childhood of leaving me with the maid every time I got ill. I adore her. She cooked for me. You know, those wonderful childhood meals only your mum can ever make right? She fluffed my blankets, she arrived at 6am to ferry the kids to school and brought them back in one piece later on. I don’t know how to thank her properly, but without her I think I may have gone mad.


On his release from the white walls of Morningside Clinic Marc packed a tent and took the boys camping as part of the Dads and Lads Camp Out. How twee is that name? Nonetheless, off they went in Bella, the 1976 VW Kombi, comfortably ensconced in a mountain if duvets. After yelling at the boys to pack their pillows and duvets, Daddy left his behind. Good thing Mummy pressed an extra blanket on him before they left. I don’t know why I packed so many clothes for them, or soap for that matter. They arrived back on Sunday in the same clothes they left in, just a little soggier.


Apparently at these events there are three groups of fathers:

Group 1: The avid outdoorsman

Group 2: The man child

Group 3: The (How to put this nicely?) organic metrosexual aka pussy whipped husband


Group 1 has every outdoor gadget known to man. They are the Camel Man, the Marlboro plan and the boer that maaks a plan. They expect the same of their children. During the week they are doctors, lawyers and CPAs, but in the bush… they are the hunter. Their kids are rough, tough and ready. They take turns on guard duty through the night and eat freeze dried army food.


Group 2 form the largest grouping. These are guys who remember going camping with a six pack of beer and a tape mix of Tones on Tail and David Bowie. They know how to light a fire and stare into its flames. They like to give the truth scope and share stories and tall tales of back when. Their kids run around unfettered on bikes with glow sticks and a boerie roll. If they go to bed at all they tumble into it fully dressed and emerge only at the smell of bacon frying in the morning before they disappear off again.


Group 3 are the ones I feel for. Even far from the watchful eye of their wives they desperately try and force organic celery sticks down their sons (who just pop over to Group 2 for a quick bite of meat anyway). Bath time is at 6pm sharp, dinner consisting of soya and a nice organic salad served at 7pm and in bed by 8pm. Not a chance. These guys battle it out for 48 hours and instead of coming home energized with masculinity, crawl home to their wives and whimper.


Now you also have the outliers. These are those who provide entertainment on a nouveau riche scale. The dad who arrives with a rented motorhome and toilet. Not a porta-pottie. A whole bathroom in marble and gold. I should just explain that the camping ground they go to in on the banks of the Vaal. There are bathrooms and mowed grass and no-one has to kill an impala for supper. It is very civilized. After all these boys go to a very civilized school.


Nonetheless my boys arrived home on Sunday morning, sunburnt, grubby and exhausted. They had a marvelous time. Small boy aged 8 (almost 9) dragged himself through the door, flopped on the couch and tuned into MTV. Small boy aged 6 joined him. Man dragged himself to bed and watched Grosse Point Blank. Conversation was held in grunts until the return to civilization kicked in with mother threatening to physically throw small grubby people into a bath. Not that I could have done it, but the threat was real enough. I could have called ADT as it was a family emergency.


The best thing was getting them up and dressed and off this morning and then falling back into bed for another hour. Blissful and decadent. Now if only I can get the cats to stop kneading my stomach…


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