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As I recently mentioned to a friend: it never rains but it's showering tidal waves during an earthquake. In fact you can also throw in a massive volcano eruption and a deadly comet, and some hurricanes for good measure.

Last Saturday, Tyl was readmitted to hospital. He would barely eat since his return home, and on Saturday morning he puked up everything he'd eaten half an hour before. So Mrs.B took him to the doctor, who said he'd better return to the children's ward.

Wolf had to go back to school, so we couldn't sleep over like we had done the first week of January. So Mrs.B rushed to hospital after bringing Wolf to school, and when school was out she took Wolf to Tyl. Then at five she got back home to make dinner for us all. When I got back from work I'd eat, and then it was my turn to go to the hospital. Tyl won't go to sleep before ten o'clock, so I'd be home around ten thirty. Very busy days, as you can imagine. The last thing we needed was for Wolf to turn sick too.

Yesterday Wolf turned sick too. We were at the dinner table, and he wouldn't eat his fish sticks - which he eats by the box normally. We wrongfully assumed he was faking it to get attention now that his little brother got all the focus of our love. Even when he announced that he had to throw up we were having none of it. Five counts later we were having a lot of it, as he puked over half the dining room.

So now I'm at home from work looking after Wolf, while Mrs.B is in hospital taking care of Tyl.

We wished you a spectacular 2012 a couple of weeks ago, and spectacular it is...

On Probation

Tyl is out of hospital since Tuesday. The question is how long he will stay out of hospital, because this morning he had a 39°C fever. Mrs.B stuffed him full of pain killer and took him to the doctor. Luckily, he wasn't re-admitted to hospital and this evening the fever was gone.

Always keeps you on your toes, this little one.

In Hospital

I'm writing this live from the Saint-Augustine hospital in Antwerp, tapping as lightly as I can on the keyboard because Tyl is sleeping right next to me. There's not much room here, in fact the two of us share a small aquarium. He's a happy little fish in his little bed, but if I stretch so much as a fin I bump into a wall.

Tyl is doing better, I think his gastroenteritis is as good as over. But he still is his usual skinny self; at seven and a half kilos he's too light for his age. So the doctors decided to keep him in for the weekend and give him the foie gras treatment. He has a tube going down his nose to force-feed him at regular intervals. I on the other hand give him lots of biscuits and puddings and so on. Puddings WITH super-nutrient powder added.

We'll have to watch him, before you know it he'll be overweight for the rest of his life.

And A Good Health To You - The Sequel

Tyl is in hospital. For the second year in a row. By that I mean we had to rush him at hospital last year too, in the middle of the night. This year the circumstances were less dramatical, he went in today for a routine check-up. He hadn't been his usual energetic self the last couple of days. He slept a lot and did a mega-puke once. And because he's already very thin for his age, it doesn't take much for him to get seriously under-weight. So the doctor decided to keep him in hospital.

That means that Mrs.B will spend the night with him, as she did last year (for a full week). But then she was still breast-feeding him, so she had no choice but to stay over. At least this time we can take turns.

And so 2012 begins...

And A Good Health To You

The new year is here, and everybody's wishing you a good health. Consequently, we spent the last week in hospital because Tyl was having a go for the world record 'Repetition vomiting'. The poor little guy was suffering from two viruses at once: one that took out his digestive system and another one that clogged up his head and chest with mucus. As a consequence, he didn't want to eat at a certain point and even when he got some food in, it was out before you could say 'supercallyfragilisticexpyallydocious' four times in a row.

So at four AM on New Year's morning - technically it was still night - Mrs.B drove him to the hospital while I guarded the castle and looked after his big brother. The physician that examined Tyl was adamant that he would be allright in a day or two - and kept that opinion all week long. So I spent the week driving up and down to the hospital, bringing essential supplies to the wife: underwear, baby clothes, frozen mother's milk to poor into the tube in Tyl's nose, toys, etc. etc. Meanwhile, I also had to entertain Wolf and I also ceased the opportunity of my wife's absence to tear down a large part of the kitchen.

But now Tyl is back home and although the kitchen looks like it has been redone by an Afghan warlord, we finally have a functioning second-hand dishwasher.

Things are looking up!

Toofff FFFFairey

Monday mornings are painful in any case, but especially so if you find yourself in a dentist's chair. On my last check-up, my dentist told me that my upper left wisdom tooth had to go. She couldn't do it herself, so I had to make an appointment at our local hospital (that is: one of our three local hospitals).

It was meant to be a first check-up by the surgeon, but one of his patients had fled the continent in sheer horror cancelled his appointment, so if I wanted, I could voluntarily submit myself to agonizing pain and terror in an hour or so.

So a short while later I was staring at the blinding light above my head, trying to think about lovely peaceful experiences while a masqueraded man drove a couple of needles into my palate. 'This last one stings', he said, and he wasn't kidding.

A couple of minutes later my mouth was numb enough to let the saliva drizzle freely from my limp lips. The nurse was happily vacuuming my mouth while I tried not to notice the breaking and crashing noises that surely must have come from road works outside and not from my mouth. 'You have twisted roots', the surgeon complained. I formulated an apology, which came out as an extra gush of saliva.

In the end, the separation was quick and painless, and I never got to see my ex-tooth again. The nurse pressed a box of gauze pads in my hand, to change that canon ball that stretched my left cheek to breaking point. I mumbled a reply, without understanding myself what I was saying, and went home. Luckily, the drugs didn't interfere with my capacity to drive. On a totally unrelated subject: people in my town have very good reflexes and can jump surprisingly high when they are truly motivated.

The sedation the doctor had given me worked so well during all of the morning that I even managed to move some of the furniture I was supposed to move that day. But after diner, the feeling came back and the pain hit me like a sledgehammer fired from a rather large piece of artillery. I burried myself in bed with an extra dose of painkillers and slept all through the afternoon.

The pain was still there the next day, and the next, and today, although it's not as severe now as it was in the beginning. Generally I feel fine in the morning, but apparently working is bad for me - I've always said so - and in the afternoon I really need some aspirin or LSD or dried rhino horn or something.

It's my birthday party on Sunday, so I hope I'll be able to chew something more substantial than yoghurt by then...

The Fallen

Just a quick word, to confirm that yes, we're back from France. I'd like to say we got back in one piece, but that would be incorrect.

We had a lovely time, two weeks of nothing but sunshine. We spent our time in the pool and on the beach, with the occasional excursion to nearby towns. But unfortunately some of these excursions were for medical reasons. We went to the local baby doctor twice to have a check-up after Mrs.B felt there might be something wrong. Luckily, both times it turned out everything was A-Ok.

Our third medical excursion was for an entirely different reason, but it did involve Mrs.B. It was on the morning of our departure, when she and Wolf went out to get some 'croissants' from the camping store. They had barely left when I heard screams and shouting from both my wife and my son.

I raced out and found both lying on the ground, Wolf crying and panicking while my wife was crying out in pain. It turned out she had stumbled and did something terribly wrong with her ancle. Wolf was Ok, but very frightened by the whole experience.

The local ambulance refused to come for a broken foot, so I had to haul Mrs.B in the car and drive her to the nearest hospital - which was 45 minutes away. Luckily-luckily-luckily I'd bought a GPS before we went to France, I don't know what I would have done without that thing.

A couple of hours later - the French medical care system is about as fast as any African country's - we got the verdict: the ankle was not broken but severely strained. Mrs.B got a plastic clamp around her lower leg and we could drive back home.

Easier said than done: with my wife in one chair and her foot in another, it was up to me to clean the bungalow, get everything into the car (luckily we'd packed the previous evening), return the key, get out the garbage, chase Wolf and his dirty paws out of the bungalow, etc. etc. But in the afternoon we could finally leave.

But it was not  the end of our troubles, because you try to drag a pregnant woman without crutches to the second floor of your hotel when there's no lift. Going to the restaurant alone was an endurance test in hopping.

So the first thing we did when we returned was go get some crutches. To be on the safe side, we made an appointment with our own physician. But he didn't need much time to conclude that something more serious was wrong with that ankle. A couple of X-rays later it was confirmed that a tendon (or part of it, I forgot) got loose and took a bit of bone with it. So recovery will take six to eight weeks, instead of three.

So ever since that fall, I've been running around like crazy. Not only do I have to take care of Mrs.B, but I also have to keep the house clean, do the laundry, do the dishes, get Wolf in and out of bed, get him dressed, bring him to the daycare centre, get him back in the evening, cook...

Six more weeks of this and I'll definitely need another vacation. Too bad that we'll have another newborn baby right about that time.


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