It is only after you become a mother you understand what they mean when they say - motherhood is a piece of your heart walking outside your body. Sometimes I feel as if my heart and soul are entirely outside of me especially when they fall sick. KB is prone to bronchitis and he had been sick the last four days. He had to miss school for three days in a row. He was sick in October of last year when he had to miss five days of school. It is not a big deal - it is just Kindergarten. But it feels so terrible when you know that the child is sick and you cannot send them to school day after day until they get better.
It is almost a high when suddenly after a few days of sickness, your child gets better and gets back to routine activities. Only as you grow older these cliched statements like, "Health is wealth" and "No news is good news" make so much sense. KB is finally better now after three days and just doing regular things like going to school, eating lunch etc. I feel so relieved. Parents who have children who are asthmatic or are prone to respiratory illness just know when it has begun. That horrible painful cough. I used to hate giving him Albuterol but I have learned my lesson the hard way - if I don't nip it in the bud, it escalates to an ER visit. So now I grit my teeth and just give that blessed (and yet damned) medication. I am thankful that we have these good medications to relieve them of pain but I am still so bothered that we even have reason to use them.
Three nights back, of course it all happens smack in the middle of the night, KB woke up in his sleep crying loudly holding his hand over the left side of his head. He had had very low grade fever all day that day. B was in the room with him and I was in the living room with my laptop reading something. Suddenly I heard B call out to me to come to the room and attend to KB. I ran in and I saw KB holding the side of his head, half asleep, crying loudly saying it hurt really badly. Somehow that scene just sent me into momentary panic - this child with fever crying in pain holding the side of his head. I instantly felt so light headed and I had to sit down on the bed for a second myself. B got mad at me for this was the second time this was happening - once before when KB woke up in the middle of the night with severe coughing, I had that same feeling - that it was bad and finally we ended up taking him to ER. I don't know which is worse - his suffering or me seeing him suffer. And this is just bronchial cough. Even this is makes me so sad. Anyway - within a few seconds, KB woke up some more and said it was his left ear that was hurting. I ran to the kitchen and got him some warm compress cloth and pressed it against his ear. I then added a few drops of olive oil and then called the nurse. I knew what she would say but just had to call anyway. B went in the middle of the night to get some Ibuprofen. The rest of the night KB slept fine. The following day, the two kids had a great time playing and jumping and getting on each other's nerves until I took KB to the doctor. She gave him an antibiotic for his ear infection.
KB had not eaten much that day - cereal, half an apple and two bread slices for the whole day. And lots of gatorade. But without much food intake, that night he took Albuterol, Ibuprofen and the antibiotic. He was tossing and turning all night complaining that he was feeling too hot. I kept giving him cold towel rubs on his back and forehead every now and then. All those medications in that little frame that too with so little food. God knows what it was doing to his system. I have been giving him honey with ginger for the last 10 days or so. For KB who is such a picky eater, this is such a big deal. But he mentally trained himself literally on this one because I told him it would help him with his cough issues. And yet this happened that very same week. It is very disappointing. Although may be because of it, I ended up giving him Albuterol only twice a day and not every four hours. I feel so desperate to somehow prevent these sort of cough episodes. The ear infection came out of the blue - he has hardly had any ear infections. This is the reason why when I read blogs about kids traveling in trains in India etc it seems so adventurous to me. That kind of heat and dust coming in, if the coughing starts, I don't know what I would do in the middle of some random place.
I was talking to a friend today and she told me that one of her family friends had something terrible happen to them. Their only child, a lovely four year old boy suddenly developed high fever. A couple of days later, when he was coming down the stairs, he cried because his head was hurting unbearably. They rushed him to ER and found a tumor in his brain. It is in a place that they cannot even operate on. He has been in the hospital ever since and has not come back home. How can life change so rapidly for people?! It seems so grossly unfair especially when it happens to children. Even imagining their pain, I feel like my knees are becoming weak. If there is a hell, this must be it. Seeing a child suffer through pain, tests, treatment, confinement. Big or small, honestly, it is so hard to see children go through anything more than a mild cold. I don't know how the parents of that child (the one with the tumor) ever come to terms with it. How do they even carry on with every day duties, work etc? I don't know, I don't ever want to know. I have been feeling so sad all evening thinking about them even though I don't know them at all.
How do you feel when your child falls sick? I have become better at coping with all this but I still feel that wrenching feeling when I get that feeling that the sickness has begun, it will last 2 or 3 days, the coughing, lack of food, sleep etc and it still makes me feel bad. I cannot stop taking the kids to the park. I can only make sure they wash their hands well after they get back . I try to give them good healthy food, natural preventatives like ginger and honey. KB is just prone to it and there is only so much I am able to do to really prevent it. Has any magic potion worked for you? Do share!
And let's make a wish for that family - to give them strength to get through this terrible time.