It's 7.30am on Tuesday morning and I'm hanging onto the overhead bar on the number fourteen tram with a slightly hysterical and impossible-to-repress smile on my face.
Sapphire's been sick for so long now. Five weeks. Our GP rang the hospital and referred her the day before and yet, after hours of waiting and telling her story to four different doctors, she was sent back home at 10pm. It was -2C as we stood shivering outside on the kerb, waiting for LC to pick us up.
More drugs to take. The final 'experiment' before ..... well, nobody is willing to say what happens if they don't work.
Nine and a half hours later I'm heading back to the hospital with Sapphire's latest stool sample at their request. They disagreed with the two test results obtained from the GP; said that they 'couldn't possibly be right, they've made a mistake.' I was too tired to argue and Sapphire drooped against my shoulder, even more tired. Who cares about the kid when there are numbers of pieces of paper that can be waved about, photocopied and discussed endlessly? Who cares if she's been sick for five weeks - she's not screaming, or pushing her spilled out gizzards back in with her own hands, is she?
A bunch of dodgy-looking beggars get on board at Servette, invariably accompanied by a bad accordion player with a repertoire of only three songs. They all reek of beer, BO and cigarettes and talk loudly in an attempt to intimidate the rest of us into giving a donation when the cup is walked up and down the aisle. Wallets and bags are known to disappear too, so I always grip mine tighter, the zips close to my hands and the inside of my body.
Today however, my blank face is replaced by a smile that gets gets wider, stretching the dry skin around my eyes and no doubt looking both out of place and insane on a workaday foggy morning. Aside from the gypsies, everyone else is dressed in work clothes encased in puffy North face jackets and fur-lined hoods in blacks, greys and browns. I wonder how they'd react if I broke the ear bud-enforced silence with this conversation piece: Am I the only one carrying a fresh poo here today?
The man with the begging cup makes eye contact with me. He gives me a dismissive flick up and down with his eyes. I'd obviously be an easy target if he wanted to bother. Go ahead buddy, I think. Pick my bloody pocket. There's a jar for you in here and it sure as hell ain't Nutella.......
They want Sapphire back at the hospital on Friday to see if the drugs have worked and to study the results that their lab ("It must be done through our laboratory; why has your doctor ordered this from Zurich?) produce. Family, friends and the school teachers ring for updates and there's none yet to give. Sapphire is still in pain, still weak, still poorly. We can't do anything but wait until Friday.
And all I can do right now on the tram is involuntarily chuckle out loud at having arrived at a time in my life when I'm ferrying shit across town in my handbag.