Home Sweet Home
It was a little over a year that the intensity of the nightmares from going through that trauma subsided. I still heard new-born babies crying in the wind normally, but it wasn’t tormenting me as before.
After the procedure I decided on the ‘Injection’ as my contraception which needed to be administered once every three months which suited me just fine, plus it stopped my monthly cycles.
Ken really looked after me, I know he felt it too and the only way he seemed to cope was diving into caring for me and the kids. He was such a good dad, the children screamed in delight every time he put the key in the lock when he came in from work. The first thing he did was drop his keys, take off his jacket and drop to the floor to give them horseback rides. There was always a mad fit of giggles. Everything was great, I guess.
In the summer we’d spend most of our Saturdays down at the local cricket club watching Ken play. I even started making their cricket teas for the players and learnt how to score. Things were hard but we were comfortable and just went with the flow of life.
I went out with Bernell, Toni and Kacee occasionally and Ken went to see his crew every other Friday. It was what kept our sanity and to make us feel we were still young and could have some fun outside our four walls.
The apartment was becoming claustrophobic as the children were getting bigger and accumulating more toys. We decided to go ahead and buy our own house with the help of a grant given to us by the local council. It put a pep in my step, finally more of my dreams were coming true, married and now a prospective homeowner. It made me feel so mature over my peers. I had a proper little family, imagine me, an actual homeowner.
Obtaining a mortgage was quite stressful but we finally got one. Ken had a friend that worked in something to do in credit checks and was able to tell us which companies to apply to that didn’t do a credit check using a system that picked up our bad results from somewhere else as they were all connected somehow. I don’t know, it was something like that!
Looking at houses were so much fun, but the stress came when one after the other they fell through. Either the other party in the chain pulled out, or another buyer offered more, or the surveyors disapproved of the worth of the property.
Finally, we found our dream three-bedroom house. Fitted kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms, two fireplaces, one in the sitting room and dining room. The garden was huge with a swing for the children and we had a garage at the end of it.
I had gone back to work to help with our income and to get me out the house to interact with other adults for a change. Ethan was with a lovely childminder that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, Nadia started school and Rishon was in nursery. Our family was stable, and life was good.
I got a job in a private day care nursery which hours were ideal to work around our children’s school hours. They all finally went to the same school and our routine was now very straight forward.
My duties were to create menus and cook lunch and afternoon tea for children aged three months to five years old and the staff team. It was an enjoyable job and so rewarding as I was to bring new ideas and created themes to coincide with traditional holidays from around the world and different faiths.
Before long a new position was created within the company for me as a Senior Cook, I was to oversee the food health and safety records of eight other of the company’s nurseries around the M25 area. Making sure they were correct for environmental health inspections. I was also a mentor for the other cooks, their go to person to help them with alternative dietary requirements ideas for their menus.
Ken would often call me during the day and occasioally I’d prepare lots of great finger foods, he would pick me up from work and we’d go pick up the kids from school and have a picnic in the park for dinner. Oh these were certainly the best times.
The kids had some really cool friends and they were quite popular. I took pleasure in doing themed birthday parties where I would do everything from handmade invitations to party bag fillers all in the chosen theme and party games and homemade party food. Their cakes always personally made, not shop cakes, they had a Mickey Mouse cake, a Magic Hat with a Rabbit at the top and sparkling candles, a Sports Car, and a Teddy Bear cake for the teddy bears picnic party where all the guests brought along their favourite teddy. That was a few to memory. The kids always had the best parties and their whole class was always invited as they didn’t want to upset anyone by leaving them out. For so young they were so considerate and were not mean to anyone.
Ken got promoted and after going for a degree and graduating, he got promoted again. With his income I really didn’t have to work but it made us live well. Kens salary did the mortgage and bills and mines done shopping and all the other things, school dinner money and trips, haircuts, clothes and shoes etc.
Our hours got a little more at work and school term holidays were a struggle. Ken had an Asian friend from cricket that arrived from India with his wife and we agreed that they stay in our home and Tandreema Ari’s wife became our Au-pair. I was then able to do longer hours. I also worked as a Silver Service Waitress and a Commis Chef for an events company that catered for V.I.Ps, the royal family and celebrities. I worked as and when there were events so not every night or weekend, maybe three nights a week and every other Saturday as I still wanted time for the kids, plus being busy kept my mind of the baby I lost which bothered my mind. Sometimes a stiff drink cleared my mind.
There was always spectacular decorations at the events, funny enough it was my dad who got me the job as the head butler and him became good friends. The company did quite a few dinner parties for the 9th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley at Apsley House where my dad was head of security. Dad always brought home the leftover flower arrangements that they gave away at the end of the evening, they were so elaborate.
I also had the privilege to do the same at some functions… and there were many grand affairs such as state dinners at the Guild Hall for heads of state hosted by the queen and captain Mark Philips, cocktail parties for princess Diana at the National History Museum, cocktail parties hosted by prince Charles and princess Anne at St James Palace. There were also fancy dinners hosted by princess Margaret at Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court Palace, parties for album launches, the cast of the tv series Eastenders, Jewish bar mitzvahs and weddings of the elite…I saw it all and it was amazing until pains started to cripple me in my arms and it became too hard to carry the amount of covers expected in Silver Service, and my arms grew too weak to lift. After a good few years of service I had no choice but to throw in the towel. It was hard as I enjoyed being around our clients and their guests but that’s life I guess. My work hours were cut at the nursery also as I started to walk funny if I was on my feet too long and my hands would freeze in pain if I were to cut or chop for too long. It had gotten worse and after tests were done, it was found I had Fibromyalgia. It was crippling but it was manageable to a certain degree with anti-inflammatory meds.
Summer holidays and Rishon and Ethan had a joint Action Man birthday party. Their birthdays were close to each other and with one income less, it made sense to just have one, Rishon was turning seven and Ethan five, they both loved the same stuff so it was easy.
Nadia seemed quiet and I wondered if she was feeling a little jealous, but every time I asked what was wrong she just said I got a headache and sat quietly with her dolls whilst the boys played outside.
My brother Teddy’s girlfriend had given birth to their son and she was out of hospital so I decided to take a train ride with the kids to go see them. It was a nice summers day, Ken was working until late and Tandreema had the day off, it was a nice day for some family time.
The train ride was enjoyable and a little long being as Teddy lived in the South East. The baby was so cute and looked a lot like Rishon. It was nice having another boy in the family, the boys were coming to catch up to the many nieces. The children played in the garden and a little while after Nadia came in as she was tired. The rest dribbled in and then they decided to play some cards, nothing beats a good game of snap. They were all in a fit of giggles then out of the blue Nadia threw up on the floor and everyone froze. I didn’t know what to do first, what I really wanted to do is run as I had such a phobia about vomiting, Ken was the one that dealt with the kids being sick but there was no Ken here!
Teddys girlfriend was so good and helped me clean up the floor and Nadia. Her eyes were red and she complained her tummy and head hurt. It seemed a beginning of a dreaded stomach bug. The boys got very quiet and seemed concerned as they really loved each other and didn’t like when one of them were unwell or told off.
After a couple hours making sure Nads was ok to journey home, we got ready to leave. Nadia slept for most of the train journey and Ken picked us up from the train station. It was late and the kids went straight to bed. In the morning Nadia was looking normal with no signs that she was sick the night before and the boys were also fine. I had a couple more days at home and then went back to work.
I got a call from Tandreema the day after returning to work that Nadia had been sick and she was complaining of a headache. I called my gp for an evening appointment and left to go home early. I called Ken at work as I started to have a bad feeling about this.
When I got home Nadia wasn’t herself at all, she was lying still in a dark room. The doctor examined her and asked a few questions regarding our family health background. Given I was a migraine sufferer, it was diagnosed that she too had a migraine as it was hereditary. He prescribed some medicine and advised for her to keep of certain foods such as cheese and chocolate for a while and see if that helped improve her.
Nadia was sick again the next day and I wasn’t convinced it was migraine but another trip to the gp gave the same diagnosis. I felt uneasy and decided to keep a diary. She was sick again twice over two days, her eyes seemed to bulge when she threw up as her head hurt at the same time, and after a week had passed the vomiting stopped but she looked so weak bless her. The kids summer holidays kind of went on hold whilst Nadia was unwell. The boys played outside with their scooters and bike with the neighbours kids so it wasn’t all bad.
Nadia seemed a little better and Tandereema encouraged me to go back to work, that she could look after her. So I did. A week passed and Nadia was ok but started to get a little quiet by the end of the week. It was hot outside and I told myself it was the sun and she was sensitive to the light. I was so nervous but I couldn’t think why.
Ken reassured me the doctors had to be right as two separate doctors diagnosed the same thing. I know I was a worrier but there was something that wasn’t sitting well with me. Nadia was always tired, her head always hurting and the whites of her eyes constantly pink.
It was a Friday, I left early to go to work. Ken was home for a much-deserved day off. Around lunch time I was called into the office for a phone call, It was Dr Hargreaves! ‘Hi Mrs Sajor I have another prescription for your husband to pick up.’ ‘Huh… what? Sorry you’ve lost me, what prescription I thought we had all of it?’ ‘Yes this is the one from this morning.’ I was puzzled, I said ok and that he would pick it up. I rang home straight away, Ken answered the phone ‘Ken, what’s going on, Dr Hargreaves just called again about a prescription!?’ There was an awkward silence then he explained ‘ look, Nads was sick again and she looked really unwell so I took her to the doctors’ Ken spoked and my head swirled, in a moment my head seemed to spin like a top. I dropped the phone and dropped to the ground sobbing. My manager came running into the office, ‘My God Maria what’s happened?’ I screamed ‘SOMETHING BAD IS WRONG WITH MY BABY AND THEY’RE MISSING IT… SOMETHINGS WRONG SUSAN’ and I cried and cried. She got one of the staff members to drive me home. I asked her to drive me to the doctors first. I calmed down and took my diary out my bag and marked down an ‘S’ by todays date. And looked back over the last few weeks and staring back at me was a distinct pattern of events, I froze.
I rushed out the car and asked the receptionist to please call out Dr Hargreaves. They knew us very well and saw how unwell Nadia looked that morning, she called her out.
I showed Dr Hargreaves the diary of Nadias headaches and vomiting. I wasn’t going crazy, there was a pattern, she saw it too… five days vomiting in the morning once a day, then six days vomiting twice a day then a couple days nothing then it would start again. She took the prescription back and gave me something else. ‘Now Mrs Sajor, listen carefully, give Nadia this medicine after her meal tonight. If she still vomits tomorrow morning then it’s not migraine, take her straight to A & E they’ll be waiting for her as an emergency. ’I was shaking and tears were streaming down my face as my work colleague Alyson drove me home.
The boys were home and if I knew them I know they’d be anxious and Nadia scared and poorly so I had to wipe my face and compose myself and act as normal as possible. I explained to Ken all what the doctor said and he held me in his arms saying it was all going to be ok I closed my eyes and held him tight back. The evening was spent as normal as possible playing with the boys whilst Nadia rested quietly with her dolls on the sofa after taking her medication.
The morning came and with it our greatest fear, Nadia was sick again. We called the hospital to say we were on our way.
She was admitted straight away and annoyingly all her obs were fine. We couldn’t understand it, Ken and I was at our wits end now as after showing Ken my diary, he then agreed it wasn’t my mind, something was wrong. The rest of the Saturday Nads was fine, she was fine on Sunday and her obs were also fine. The doctors and nurses all joked she was a mystery child. After talking to the doctor he said a CT Scan was booked for the Monday and there was no harm in still getting it done and we can then see about going home, that maybe it really was a case of really bad migraines. In my mind I was like no way.
Just after breakfast on Monday morning Nads was sick again and part of me was glad, only because she was so well in hospital and I needed them to see her sick.
She went for the scan in the afternoon, Ken left to take the boys home for lunch and I told him I’ll call him to pick us up later as I was sure we were going home regardless.
About twenty minutes passed and three doctors came by Nadias bed. ‘Mrs Sajor? Hello, I’m Dr Parker the registrar and these are Drs Reynalds and Simmons specialists in neurology.’ All that sounded foreign to me… ‘Where is Mr Sajor we would like to speak to you both?’’ He’s gone home to get the boys some lunch’ ‘Can you call him back straight away please we found something.’ My heart pounded like a bass drum I swallowed hard and looked at all their faces trying to read each one. ‘Yes I will call him but I need you to tell me straight away as I can’t wait, I cannot stand not knowing a moment longer please tell me what is wrong?’ They led me into a room and told me to take a seat as they closed in the door. I felt I was in a tv documentary it was so surreal.
Dr Parker allowed Dr Simmons to begin… he took out a pad and began to draw what looked like a walls sausage and another long shape a little thinner than a pencil. He begun to explain… ‘There are ventricles in the brain that carry fluid called cerebrospinal fluid, your daughters ventricle is the size of this…pointing to the large walls sausage shape… but they should be smaller than this one…pointing to the thinner one… its blocked somewhere at the base of her skull it’s a term called Hydrocephalus, Fluid on the Brain. Its common with babies born with Spina Bifida, she’s eight years old now so that’s highly unlikely, Has she knocked her head?’ I was in a daze, I answered ‘no not that I know of, she just started having lots of headaches and vomiting and it was put down to migraines until I noticed a pattern, I kept a diary.’ ‘We’ve couriered her scan down to Great Ormond Street Hospital as we haven’t got the equipment to look at it in detail for a tumour, you do know what a tumour is Mrs Sajor? As she hasn’t knocked her head it could be what’s blocking the fluid.’
This was too much for me, where was Ken? The nurses had called him and he was on his way back, but it felt like hours. Dr Parker informed me that they were organizing an ambulance to take Nadia to Great Ormond Street which is in central London. I went back to Nadias bed and watched her play with the toys, she looked so normal, nothing showed on her obs, temperature, blood pressure, we were facing a secret killer.
Ken arrived and the boys went in the play area. The drs again repeated all what they told me, and Ken crumbled to a chair, he fell apart and cried ever so deeply. I held him in my arms and whispered gently ‘Come on darling the kids need us…shhhhh we gotta keep it together so we don’t scare them. It’s going to be okay, they finally know now.’ And with that, after a few minutes, Ken composed himself and excused himself to go wash his face. I couldn’t cry. I needed to be of sound mind and understand everything the drs were to tell us.
Work, I had to call work, only that morning I rang and said she was going for a scan but we’ll more than likely be home that day and I should be back tomorrow.
Susan answered the phone, I began strong ‘Hiya, ummmm we’re not coming out, they found something, we’re being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, They’re looking for a tumour on in her brain, there is fluid blocked.’ As the words came out my voice began to shake, and I broke down. I heard Susans voice but yet heard nothing, my world was in a glass bottle with deep cracks appeared out of nowhere. It was about to shatter.