Diary of a busy practitioner, juggling work and family somewhere in England. This week: looking after sick children. 

Deceptively Angelic Looking Child 1 (DALC1) went to bed with some spots on the back of her legs last night. I decided to wait and see what they developed into overnight. During the evening I went back through the mums’ Whatsapp group photos to look at the numerous photos of rashes we have sent each other over the last few years to see if anything looks familiar. A grim task if ever there was one. 


My friend Rachel messaged to say Hand, Foot and Mouth started on the backs of her little girl’s legs. I googled said disease and discover it has nothing to do with sheep and is actually a very mild (if very contagious) illness. Before I had the chance to tell him this my husband suddenly leaps off the sofa and goes to grab a glass. 'We didn’t do the glass test!' he shouted as he ran upstairs to disturb the sleeping child. 'Noooo! Don’t wake her up!' I shouted back as the thought of having to start Bedtime Hell from scratch totally outweighs the risk that my perfectly well child with a few spots on her legs won’t pass the glass test. Don’t judge me until you’ve done the bedtime.

This morning DALC1 was still perfectly well but the spots were slightly worse. 'Don’t worry Mum, I haven’t got PE today so no one will see them' she said.

At work, a colleague hasn’t been able to come in because her child is unwell. Outspoken Secretary is almost angry. She actually says the words 'I should get myself some kids, you get loads of time off work'. (!!!!!)

Perhaps despite appearances in this blog, I love my children so much I would rip my own eyes out with just my fingernails if they asked me. I would rip someone else’s eyes out if they asked me. I think I have this in common with most parents. Them being in pain makes me physically hurt too. 7 or 8 years ago I don’t remember the conversation between me and the man I love being 'let’s have a couple of kids so we can have a few extra days off work when they are sick!' And what a disappointment those days would have been if that had been the reason - no sitting around having coffee and cake whilst watching Holly and Phil. You may well get to sit down, but you and your sofa are likely to be covered in someone else’s vomit, and you are likely to be pinned down on said sofa under a slightly floppy and oddly hot child who insists on watching the three 5 minute episodes of Woolly and Tig currently available on Catch Up for TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT.

And more to the blooming point, in this situation NO ONE ELSE WILL TAKE THEM. Grandparents, if you are lucky and not too worried about the frailest generation of your family catching something awful. Schools, nurseries and childminders certainly don’t want them.

I’m just glad that today it’s not me being moaned about.

In the afternoon I saw a client who I know from a local charity I am involved with. Just before I got up from my desk to see her I looked at my phone. One new message:

'Got spots all over hands and feet and ulcers in mouth. Thought only kids and sheep got this. Been sent home.'

I took my client’s instructions without really listening at all as I tried to work out how this is all going to pan out, how I am going to avoid missing any work, how, really, a good wife would have asked or at least thought to ask how her husband is feeling, and all the time surreptitiously examining my own hands. My client tells me that she is off to New Zealand the day after tomorrow and as she leans in to kiss me goodbye I dart to one side and kiss the air about nine inches away from her face in the hope of not infecting her and a whole plane full of holiday makers. At least if my husband is at home he can look after the potentially sick children, surely? SURELY?