I'm going up to hospital today. They might keep me in.
The "might" part of that sentence is that they will almost certainly want to and I will do my best to wriggle out of it.
Oh, I'm not well. No doubt about that. I'm less unwell than my last admission, but unwell enough not to be able to get through a day. I can't look after my own children, my Mother-In-Law has been here for about a month doing school runs and making the dinner. She can't stay much longer - her own life urgently needs attention.
It's not the crohn's. Nope, this time it's some unspecified immune oddness. I've lost a shocking amount of weight, I'm weak and frail, I'm getting constant low grade fevers, I've had a cough since May and every few weeks it flares into some kind of full blown infection/flu.
My local hospital weren't interested. At all. Too complicated. Sent me home muttering something about it all being something for my consultant to look into (My consultant is 130 miles away in Cambridge and my local hospital still use carrier pigeon.) They didn't even recognise my chemo-shots until I told them the generic name.
That was 3 weeks ago. 3 more weeks of shuffling around the house, coughing, trying not to pass out when anyone's looking, aching and paining, basically cluttering up the place like a great heap of patheticness.
So the only option is for Cambridge to take me as an in patient and run all of the tests my local hospital should be running but haven't heard of yet. (**See why I think NHS localism is a really, really, bad idea?)
So why on earth wouldn't I want to go into hospital? Why wouldn't I want to find out what's wrong and get it treated?
Oh, you know, it's that little thing called "life" again.
Who will look after my children? While I brew a nice few PTSD attacks in a hospital bed 130 miles away, who will do the school run? Wipe away tears? Pack lunches and do cuddles? My 3 year old broke his arm pretty horrifically on Wednesday and is still getting used to the cast and the pain - who will help him up when he get's stuck on his back? Or make sure he has his medicine in the nice Toy Story cup that means he takes it? Seriously? Who?
How will I afford it? Dave will have to visit (only at weekends though) and that costs £60 a time in petrol, £70 for overnight stays, £15 or so in hospital parking and £70 here and there every time he has to take a day off for compassionate leave.
How will Dave manage? Will his boss understand? Again? Or will this be the time he loses his job? Will he make it through yet another bout of stress and worry or will he have another breakdown?
The only answer anyone has ever managed is "Well, you have to. Your health is at stake."
Hospital stays trump everything. Getting "better" always comes first. If I object, I get the "look" - "concern mixed with frustration mixed with impatience. It's so easy when it isn't you. It's so easy to say "something will come up" about money. It's so easy to say "Oh, people will all pitch in with the kids" (They won't and don't) It takes just seconds to say "You'll be fine" (I won't and it will show as I crumble daily, trapped in a Kafkaesque in-patient system I have come to loathe)
But actually what do I do? There is no nice number to ring, no-one I can appeal to. Social Services would just laugh, I'm so far away from needing a care package according my local authority, I might as well be an Olympian. I got refused DLA, which would at least have paid for some petrol and childcare. Soon, I will lose my ESA too.
Dave and I have been in this situation many times. Our parent's are getting older and less able to step in, take over, run a family popping with the boundless energy of two small boys. What do you do? There is nothing. I'm no longer classified as "disabled" I'm no longer classified as "unwell" I never was classified as in need of care or local support.
Which is odd, because I know that the next 4 or 5 weeks will cost us thousands of pounds. Money we don't have. If there is no-one to pick my child up, he just has to stay at nursery - and we have to pay for it. If I can't walk to the school gate, we just have to get a taxi. When I'm in hospital I just have to buy extra food - or I'll lose more weight and get more ill. You can die if you lose too much weight you know Mr Dunky-Smith. The petrol money will have to come from somewhere, but where? Who will pay for the B&Bs?
It's not just about the money though. Who will look after my children? Do the school runs? Get the shopping in and cook dinner? Who?
"It'll all work out" is no answer at all.