When smooth sailing hits rough seas you can’t jump overboard and swim away

By Shepparton News


Why don’t children and pets require medical assistance at sensible times of the day or week?

I mean, an easy-to-manage mid-morning on a Wednesday, or even a Monday afternoon.

No, they choose to get sick or injure themselves at 10pm on a Friday, or on a Sunday afternoon, or 2am on a Tuesday.

Or the night before (or morning of) leaving for holidays or school camp or some other can’t-be-delayed event.

As a parent, of course you want to get help and care for your child (human or fur). And you scramble madly to make that happen.

But you also have that shoulder-slumping moment when you think: “Why this, why now?” and a little bit of “Why me?”.

I’ve dealt with all the above scenarios over the years.

The Sunday afternoon was a sudden appendix attack — after-hours doctors’ clinic, followed by emergency department at the hospital followed by surgery at 11pm.

The early Tuesday morning was a trip to emergency with croup — a child struggling for breath at 2am is a very scary thing.

Then there was the vomiting the night before we were supposed to be flying to Sydney (we went anyway) and the broken wrist just before school camp, which the X-ray said wasn’t broken (so I sent her to camp anyway). A bone scan after camp revealed the fracture. I’m not allowed to forget that one.

Does all that make me a bad mother? I hope not — I think it just makes me human and fallible and struggling to do the best I can with the information available to me at the time.

Which is the best any of us can do.

And I’m incredibly grateful that my children haven’t had — and I hope never will have — any life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

So maybe that’s my karma — kids are ultimately safe and well, but fate just wants to irritate me with another broken wrist (cast off just a few days before flying to New Zealand) and a trip to emergency on a Saturday night (never again — what a war zone; those poor staff). Or broken fingers at school on the busiest day of the working week.

With the kids away, now it’s the dog who is making life medically difficult.

This time last year it was her snapped cruciate ligament — which she did on a Sunday night, the night before I was supposed to be in Melbourne for an important appointment with one of the kids.

Not knowing what she’d done to herself, I couldn’t get into the vet until 4pm on the Monday.

That was one of those shoulder-slumping, how-do-I-do-this? moments. I got myself to Melbourne, fulfilled my child duty and got back in time for the vet and my dog duty. Without breaking the speed limit.

Then there’s the latest dog medical issue, which is what got me thinking about all those old bad timing situations.

A long story short, it’s the late Friday night mentioned at the start of this column, followed by a scramble to get to the vet last Saturday morning (I work on Saturdays), followed by surgery on Tuesday and the removal of a lump in her neck the vet thought was something very nasty but turned out to be benign.

Thank goodness. Because the dog’s lump was a double whammy of bad timing.

As if the tricky timing of the weekend wasn’t enough, I didn’t want to have to tell the kids their beloved dog was critically ill in the middle of university exams (son) or on the first day of a new job (daughter).

Bad timing is a bummer whenever it happens — and it doesn’t need to be tied to sickness for it to wreak havoc on our attempts to lead organised and enjoyable lives.

It’s the two important social events (a wedding and a milestone birthday) on the same day.

It’s the holiday you’re trying to plan that you didn’t know would clash with a university graduation.

It’s the work Christmas party on the same day you have committed to moving your child out of their uni room for the year.

Or this year, it’s the stress of moving him out on the day his residential contract ends, because it’s the same day as his last exam (he’s doing an extra unit this year, which takes him up to the room deadline) — and it’s also the morning after the midnight screening of the last Star Wars movie.

Wretched timing. But it’s not going to be children 1, mum 0 for a change. This time, I’m going to have it all.

Even if it kills me.


Years and Years on SBS. Wow. This show came with rave reviews from its British screening and it deserves every one of them.

From the brilliant pen of Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for the Doctor Who reboot in 2005, this is a chillingly-real portrait of a family negotiating a very near-future world that could so easily happen.

A second term for Trump in the White House and escalating tensions with China, Russia invading Ukraine, the hazards of a post-Brexit Britain and the rise of a populist right in UK politics (an amazing performance by Emma Thompson).

Gripping television.


The shops are full of Christmas decorations/gifts/food/music already. I know it’s only six weeks until the Big Day — but how did the year go so fast?

And why do I have to run the gauntlet of tinsel/gift sets/mince pies/Michael Buble songs whenever I venture near a large store in mid-November?

Couldn’t we wait until December? Don’t get me wrong — I’m no Scrooge.

I love Christmas, but it’s all too much too soon. And highlights how poorly prepared I no doubt will be.

My daughter has just bought her first Christmas tree for her rented flat in Melbourne. Such a grown-up thing to do.


The cooler weather while I still can. Stop your whingeing, heat-lovers. Rejoice in morning doona snuggling and bed socks.

Those few (mercifully few) hot days we’ve had may have sent some people into raptures, but they just started me on my summer-long moaning.

I’ve embraced the return of mild — dare I say it — even cold conditions. The summery clothes I had released from their hibernation have been shoved back in the drawer while I joyfully pull the jeans and boots back on.

Although some mornings it is hard to tell whether it’s going to be boots or sandals weather.


New Order. One of my all-time favourite bands — and on my bucket list of must-see live acts — New Order is coming to Australia next March for two shows only.

And I have tickets to the sold-out Melbourne concert. Woo hoo! I am getting in the mood early and have the iconic British band’s music on a loop in the car — you can never listen to Blue Monday too many times.

I know founding member Peter Hook has acrimoniously split from the band, but the others are still together.

And if European gigs this year are any guide, they will also play Joy Division songs. That would be awesome.