How Are You?

(*Just putting this in context now. I wrote this post back in the spring, when times were harder and I was getting a lot of How Are You texts every day…)

I get asked this a lot at the moment, by lovely friends, who I miss. I’m so grateful that you care enough to check in and enquire. I would be asking that too; it’s the obvious question. But it’s a pretty difficult question to answer in a text message. How can I casually mention in 140 characters that Joshua was sick all over the breakfast table. Or that he was over-dosed in hospital and I felt paralysed as a parent. There are multiple difficulties going on, it’s hard for me to reply. So I either don’t answer the message (which causes worry) or I’m forced to say: “we’re ok.”

A kind lady asked me if I had someone to talk to. But to be honest, I don’t need someone to talk to. Being asked how I am, feels like having to rake over this sorry saga again and again. It’s not like when your relationship is in trouble and you really need to chew over it relentlessly with a long-suffering friend, because how you choose to behave might influence the outcome.

I am resigned to a journey that we can’t back out of. There is nothing to discuss or debate. We are just getting our heads down and getting on with it. You need to go to hospital? Right. Well that’s what we are going to do. You want to scream for an hour at 3am? Well, here’s my lap.

I will keep this site updated with our news for everyone who wants to read it. But I’m in an emotional coma. I fully expect to be prone on a therapist’s chaise longue in a few years time, when I finally get a break to lie down and deal with it all. But right now, I just need to feed the kids who are whining.

Obviously I am worried about this horrific pandemic that’s ripping through our communities. I am sad that I won’t see my parents for months. Or any friends for that matter. I’m worried about medical family and friends who will be working at the covid-coalface. And of course, Joshua being particularly immunosuppressed is deeply concerning. But we are doing all we can to limit his exposure to society. He has to visit the unit to get intravenous chemotherapy which we can’t do at home. I’m just praying that the nurse who wasn’t wearing her mask yesterday (while breathing over us) has been as isolated from wider society as we are.

By the way, I’m so grateful to live in a city where people are flexible enough to turn their thriving café/bakery into a contactless delivery service so I can keep local traders in business. You can’t even flog a kidney to get a bleddy Ocado delivery these days. And thank you friends and neighbours who leave bananas, broccoli and bottles of wine on my doorstep.

I love hearing from you all, but perhaps don’t ask: “how are you?”. Tell me something amusing about your struggles; that you had to lock yourself in the toilet for a few hours to escape the children. That you’re glugging wine in the kitchen cupboard at 11am. That you can no longer stand your partner’s breathing. How your batty 70yr old parents are casually swanning off to Tesco’s at peak time. Send me a funny meme. Or some political satire that exposes our hideously inept government. I love that shit.

So. Where it is possible… let’s just try to laugh our way through this demented year of 2020.

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