Jane plopped into the kitchen chair, blew her hair out of her face, and heaved a huge sigh. She listened to Mick and Mhairi playing in the tub, a ploy that kept them from going to sleep just at supper time (and which would keep them awake until late in the evening). Their happy voices, singing and giggling, made her smile - they knew that if they got quiet, she'd call to them 'I can't HEAR you!!' Jane sipped her tea, while the chicken dinner sizzled on the stove, and reflected back on the day. It had been incredibly busy. Now she wondered how she had got through it all, and how she was going to stay awake until the twins were in bed for the night.
The morning had started as usual - awake at the crack of dawn, 30 minutes of ballet exercises so necessary to keep at some kind of fitness level, shower, dress, make the bed, head down to the kitchen to put the kettle on and start some breakfast. The children generally woke themselves up - if one was out of bed first, the other followed very quickly and the race was on to see who could get to the table first. This morning was no different and soon Mick and Mhairi were settled in front of their bowls of hot cereal and orange juice. At three years old, they were independent enough to feed themselves with just a little supervision, and Jane could appreciate eating her breakfast too while it was still hot. And the cup of tea after they skedaddled upstairs to get dressed was so welcome, and such a nice start to the day.
In short order, the little family was out the door. It was Jane's day to work at the office, and the twins were used to accompanying her with a bag of toys, books, crayons and coloring books. In the office door at 8:30 sharp, Jane got the twins settled into their corner, and proceeded to get computers up and running, lights on, make sure that all the medical supply jars in the examining rooms were filled with cotton balls, q-tips, and tongue depressors, supplies of gowns and blankets were topped up in each room, magazines were returned to the waiting room and all was tidied. Then the patients' charts for the day needed to be pulled and organized, any new diagnostic results on the fax machine put into the correct chart (setting aside those not needed for the day to be filed later). By the time the door was opened to the public, Jane was almost ready for another cup of tea.
But it was a steady run of patients, Jim arriving right behind the first one from his rounds at the hospital. As much as they tried to keep on schedule, and avoid having patients waiting for their appointment time, they were behind by lunch-time. This of course cut the lunch-hour short, and Jane had just a half-hour to take Mick and Mhairi to the park. They'd wonderfully kept themselves occupied in her little corner office, getting their snacks when they were hungry, but were certainly ready to get out and about for at least a short while. Plans to also pick up a few groceries had to be delayed until the end of the day.
Mid-afternoon, while doing a blood-draw on a patient, Jane heard a sudden cry from her office. Finishing up as quickly as she could and bustling the chatty elderly lady out the door rather abruptly, she went to see what was happening. It was unusual to hear much from the children, and they generally were happy enough with their own company, and she only had to poke her head in the office in between patients to reassure herself that all was well. It was Mick - tears running down his cheeks, he was trying to be quiet as Mhairi admonished him to not 'deturve the patients'. Jane sat in the desk chair and pulled him onto her lap asking, 'what's the matter, honey? Does something hurt?'
Mick nodded and snuffled, and held his right ear. Oh dear, thought Jane - another ear infection. Mick was prone to these, but Jane hadn't seen any signs that he was feeling unwell through the morning. Maybe the cool air outdoors at noon had caused a coming infection to flare up a little more quickly. She found a baby aspirin, which Mick was more than happy to take, enjoying the slightly sweet taste, and then when Jim was free she asked him to look into the ear. Sure enough, an inner ear infection - well at least they were in a doctor's office with antibiotics handy, and they got Mick started right away. The aspirin did its trick, and soon Mick was happily playing again. Jane made a mental note to be sure to give him another one in a few hours.
This little interval disrupted the flow of the office, and the last-minute appointments didn't get finished up until quite late. A stop at the grocery store, Jane added some snack bars to the cart to be able to stave off the twins' hunger until supper would be ready, and keep them from falling asleep on the trip home. It worked, and now they were having their 'busy-bath' while supper was prepared. ....
Jane started awake. Oh, no - how long had she been asleep? Then she felt a splash on her cheek. She looked up and held out her hand, already wondering why the twins were so quiet. Another drip of water, from right beside the light fixture, landed in her outstretched palm. Glancing at the clock, she saw it had only been a few minutes - but she knew already as she sprinted up the stairs, that the peace was over!!!