Oops! I had a Hiccup. Sorry about Suicide Bunny being my last post before dropping off the radar. I promise I didn’t put my little head inside the hole inside the bit with the circle cut out of it that pops out of the dvd player for you to put the dvd on. I didn’t then point my furry little toe towards the remote. I didn’t then close my eyes, gulp and push the little triangle and dash.
I just went to hospital.
In French, to have the Hiccups is to have the Hockey. And though I was due to return to Australia on Friday, I’m still in France. So I had a Hockey.
The Hockey was Kiki. A bit like Algy and the Bulge.
Kiki saw the Hockey
The Hockey saw Kiki
The Hockey was dangerous
The danger was Kiki
We’ve recently been calling The Lady ‘Kiki’ because she is so kicky. She’s a very feisty young miss. So feisty in fact that she already has her own ideas about how and when she might like to join us out here in the outside world. She likes Paris, there’s no doubt – she gave us her very first kick on the day we arrived and ever since, through Berlin, and especially on our arrival back in Paris last week, she’s been in training to become the next Ultimate Street Fighter. There were moments sitting in restaurants when she was so excitable I felt she might just shoot out of me on to someone’s plate like a mis-pinched escargot.
She likes Paris. I know the feeling. So I didn’t think much of it.
Until I got the pain and that was pretty bad so after two full days of teeth-gritting I went to the hospital and luckily I did, as Kiki was actually, quite seriously, threatening to make her début on Earth at just five and a half months baked.
Menace d’accouchement prématuré.
Such an awful thread of words. Menacing. ‘Threat of premature delivery’. Early labour. Contractions and stuff. Kiki’s directions were all messed up. The little bun. The little fighter. She wouldn’t have even been able to pull a basic kickboxing manoeuvre for some time if she’d joined us now. She may not have even survived. Trust Kiki to want to hold her breath and dive bomb to earth just to see the Paris winter light. I can already feel she appreciates the lovelier things in life.
But she needs to spend some more time in the garden first, picking flowers.
So I spent nine days in the Hôpital Franco-Brittannique. My friends were so shocked to find me in a Paris hospital again they giggled – but fortunately this was no Salpêtrière, the nurses didn’t hide my buzzer or huff ‘Eh alors c’est quoi cette fois?’ when I called them, hands grumpily flaccid on their hips. The nurses were nice, especially Gwen the Irish one who bought me big cups of love-infused tea with a wink - sisters in anglo-hood. She pulled the folding barrier out to give myself and the lady in the bed next to me some privacy - a gloriously ripe Arabian lady called Gaby who looked like a big juicy grape in her slinky purple negligée as she ducked back and forth to the bathroom past her husband sleeping black as night on the squeaky vinyl chair. We talked through the divide and my morphine haze about péridurales and episiotomies and la ventouse and she told me how this was her third baby and she’d be having the works – beh oui, c’est normale - and then in the night she was wheeled out of the room and then back in at the same time as my breakfast with a perfect, silent baby boy called Kurdy in her arms. She smiled at me. And though the house of horrors images we’d discussed the night before had terrified me, I saw that it didn’t matter – Kurdy was here. He was an angel. He made a strange bird-like squeak when he woke.
Then they wheeled me into what I had been promised by Gwen would be a private room, alas it was the dark corner of a bleak double room featuring a massively pregnant black lady called Dee with a delight for loud, trashy French television and big bustly visitors. I defied the tears as they manoeuvred me into the corner, which just made them spurt out with more frustrating vigour and the more furious I was with my princessy-self, the more and more they came. I needed to be alone – to understand what had happened, to get better. Gracious Dee just kept watching her awful tv show until my selfish little tears ceased and we became best friends for the next two days. I didn’t shower or do a number 2, because I just couldn’t share that with a stranger, even Dee. It was her space. I just lay there.
And then finally I got my own room. I waved to Dee as they waved me out, feeling awfully guilty for being a primadonna and leaving her, and sorry about her diabetes and contractions, but comforting myself with thoughts that at least she’d get to be alone herself for a while.
My own room was great. It had a view over the street and a window that actually opened at which I could stand in the icy air and take weird pleasure in imagining the lunatic picture passers by must be witnessing at my ghostly, fluoro-lit appearance in the window, all wild hair, hospital gown and television-set IV pole with god knows what running through the plastic bags down plastic tubes into my arm. The nurses eventually took the tube out of the vein in my left arm and put it in my right, then they took that out too and my arms swelled up like Hulk, but that was ok, at least the dreaded things were out. And I lay back and devoured Franzen’s delectable ‘Freedom’ and puzzled over cryptic crosswords and The Love bought me dinners and the food ladies gave me frowns for not eating their questionable trays (which included such as camembert, smoked herrings and liver) and then I had a shower which was the loveliest thing I could ever have imagined and spent as much time in my own toilet with Vanity Fair as I wanted and then, after another week and lots of examinations and scans, they said that though the situation was extremely fragile, Kiki was stable and so was I and that provided I remain horizontal until she arrived and very very careful, I could go ‘home’.
Meaning Paris. I was absolutely forbidden to travel. Even to the shop. No cafés. No cinema. And certainly, absolutely, no Australia.
So Kiki had her way.
The Love knew how to deal with Insurance Companies and so managed to arrange for us a lovely apartment for the Horizontal Experience with lots of soft furnishings on which for me to float and now here we are, on the Rue Francoeur in the prettiest, quaintest little quartier on this side of the hill of Montmartre. In the taxi on the way here I could see all the dormant Christmas lights strung up in the trees of the little cobblestone streets, awaiting December 1 when they will all light up. I won’t see them. But at least I saw them dormant so I can imagine it.
And we’re comfortable here. And we’re safe. And Kiki’s still bouncing around in the pink cushions of her little Jeannie bottle. And there’s a kitchen with an oven. And we put all the lady’s awful African artworks safely away in a cupboard so it feels a bit like ours. There is a TV with lots of stupid channels. And windows that look out over the pretty street with people walking down it and into the windows of a kid’s play room with lots of jumpy little beans inside.
And like a good Incubator I will get horizontal with her and watch them play through the lovely big window. And maybe snow will fall.