My daughter got horribly sick last Friday night. She had spent the afternoon with her grandmother, who had gone to visit her and she had eaten ravenously.
“She ate three slices of bread and tea and then later she had a paw paw. She ate like she hadn’t eaten for so long!” My mother remarked when I got home and found them bonding.
My girl did not eat supper and I assumed it was because she was still full from her earlier meal. We watched a bit of tv and went to bed at about 10pm. She was so tired, she dozed off immediately. I stayed a bit longer, browsing the internet and listening for sounds of a break-in (I am paranoid like that).
After about half an hour, my little girl stirred and got up on all fours. I was still awake and I heard a familiar sound, the sound of retching. Before I could do anything to save my bedding, I heard the contents of her stomach emptying onto our bed (we co-sleep). I switched on the light and saw my poor girl had messed herself, the bed, and was looking very poorly. After a short while, she brightened up and I thought that the worst of it had passed. I was very wrong.
Long story short, we ended up in the hospital about an hour later. She had to have tests done and was put on a drip while we waited for the blood test results. Getting a vein to put in the drip was a task. It took three of us to hold her down. Who knew a two year old could be that strong? Four needle holes later, the IV line finally got n through a vein in her foot.
We were sent home at around 4am with a lot of drugs and a sleepy, tired and drained child. As I walked out with the package of medicines, I knew the struggle had just began for me.
You see, my daughter has never liked dawa. Even when she was tiny, she would throw up medicine that had been forced down her throat. On Saturday, she refused to take the medicine and wouyld run away whenever she saw it. The whole of that day was spent in a cat and mouse-like chase to get her to take her medicine. I got tired and let her be. She vomited again that evening. It happened again in the morning. I realised that I could not wish the sickness away and that she and to take her dawa.
“Sweetie, do you remember how much the needles at the hospital hurt?”I asked her after I had sat her down and looked her in the eye. She said yes.
“Do you want to vomit again?”
“The only way you can get better and your tummy will stop feeling pain is if you take your medicine,” I explained to her.
She looked at me and said yes. I offered her the spoonful of antibiotic I had prepared earlier. She took it and put it in her mouth. She even licked the spoon!
This weekend I learned many a valuable lesson from this experience and I feel it would only be fair to share with you so that you will at least be more prepared when and if it happens to you.
The first thing I learned was that kids are tougher than we think. By the time she was getting the third unsuccessful jab in her inner arm, she had stopped crying and even said “Wow!” when the doctor managed to get the tiny tube in. It did not work, but the medics were shocked at such a reaction. They had never heard that from a patient before.
Parenting is not for the weak hearted or the weak stomached. I have always been squeamish at the sight, sound or smell of vomit. If you vomit around me, chances are high that I will join you. I stayed strong during the whole ordeal and even had guts (pun intended) to clean my sheets when we got back home. After
A lot of unpleasantness comes with having young ones. From throw up to bloody injuries, a parent will have to clean up a lot of messes before their children grow up and it takes a lot of grace to do so without complaining, because, it is primarily a parent’s role, anyway.
Children are more intelligent than we give them credit for. I have always known my daughter understands more than she communicates, but I did not realise to what extent this goes. The fact that we could sit down and talk and I could convince her that taking medicine is not a punishment but rather something that would help her get better opened my eyes to her mind.
I keep telling people to be very mindful of what they tell children as they are able to sense their sincerity and often absorb or react to the things we tell them. I discourage my house help from lying to my daughter and to instead giver her viable options. For example, instead of telling her that a monster will eat her if she doesn’t sleep, she should tell her that they will go for a walk after her nap.
I learnt that there is no love as unselfish as a parent’s love. I was not the only one awake during the whole ordeal. I had called her father and kept updating him on what was happening. My parents too were in the loop as they live quite close to us and should anything happen they would be the nearest people to help me out. Neither my daughter’s parents nor my own slept a wink that night. Sleep came after 5 am, when we were back in the house and the little appeared to be doing better than before.
Always have a contingency plan for medical emergencies. Illnesses come at the least opportune time, in fact when you least want to go to a hospital is when sickness strikes. Many insurance companies offer affordable covers for families and of course, there is the National Hospital Insurance Fund. Apart from medical emergencies, it is important to set aside some funds to cater for the unexpected. Keep some money aside in a tin in the house or in you mobile money wallet just in case, because one day, you will need it.