The Tiger Who Came To The Walk In Centre

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when your child finally sleeps the sort of hours you have dreamed about for years, you won’t sleep a wink and will be utterly convinced something catastrophic must be wrong which will result in a call to NHS 111.

My son (three) just hasn’t seemed right for a few days. He’s been as emotional as me watching a John Lewis Christmas ad, he’s suddenly terrified of everything, he hasn’t been eating and he looks as white as a sheet. His neck seemed to be stiff and swollen. Then last night he slept from 4pm to 8am.

So at eight o’clock this morning we (myself and grandma) shivered into the walk in centre with our little soldier to wait for two hours to be told we were wasting their time.

The walk in centre on a Saturday morning is a lovely snap shot of life. Simply lovely. If you didn’t feel ill before hand – it’s sure to make you come down with something. There was a one year old toddler walking about in his slippers and dressing gown, ever so often letting out a ridiculously loud battle call. His exhausted mum was trailing after him apologetically nodding at everyone, especially the elderly gentleman clutching his chest with his hearing aid on maximum.

There was a tiny baby who wailed every time his poor new mum tried to pull him off her breast. I remembered that feeling. I nodded at her in solidarity.

There was a little girl in the corner clutching a cardboard bowl. The dreaded cardboard bowl you’ll all know about if you’ve ever been to A&E of a night time. I remembered it well from my first labour as I vomited throughout the entire three days of it. I remembered my husband pretending to use one as a hat to try and get me to smile at ten centimetres dilated. Nice try mate.

I prayed she wouldn’t be ill both for her sake and for mine – I started to feel queasy. I shot her mum a sympathetic smile. I assumed if she had norovirus we probably all would soon.

My mother leaned over to let me know she could smell poo, making a disgusted face before asking me what veg I would like with my roast later. Not now Mother. Not now.

Last time I went to a walk in centre I had to sit next to man in a high vis with a nail through his thumb, and sitting next to my Mother for two hours was a close second to that kind of torture.

“Grandma, will you read me Tiger came to Tea?” he said in his tiniest sick voice.

“Yes Darling.” She said and in the middle of the house of plague my mum read aloud The Tiger Who Came To Tea. 

The room fell silent as we all listened to her Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet if you please) voice reading the familiar story.

The baby being breastfed fixed his eyes on us, the Gladiator toddler sauntered over with his mum, the ladies behind us stared, even a burly drunk looking gentleman in a tracksuit looked over and listened. The audience of sick people united as the Tiger made his way through all the food in Sophie’s house. Everyone was captivated till the end. The baby fell asleep. My mum in the centre of the room like Mary Bleeding Poppins.

Everything felt nicer, safer. I felt less nauseas. Maybe this is all the divided world needs to unite – a grandma reading us all a nostalgic bedtime story.

We were called in after an eternity to be greeted by a rude Doctor who told us there was nothing wrong with him (my Mother’s instincts don’t seem to work).

So we all put our coats on and we walked down the road to go to a cafe. And all the street lamps were off and all the cars didn’t have their lights on but the little boy screamed that he hated cafes. So we walked down the road to a Sainsburys where we had to buy a toy for the poor (milking it) lamb.

And we got a very big bottle of calpol in case the cold should come again. And it did.

And Mummy got a very big bottle of wine because that’s what she did. And it was just right.

The end.