Monday, April 26, 2010

Notes From the Brat's Sickbed

Ayaan gave us quite a scare over the last few days. It started with a cough but come Friday night, his temperature shot up to 104. Paracetamol gave brief snatches of respite but it kept coming back.

We took him to the doctor on Saturday, who said it was a chest infection and started him on some antibiotics. He also advised us to get blood and urine tests to rule out malaria and a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. The results came in yesterday - negative for malaria, positive for pneumonia. Pneumonia. Scary Word Number One. I know pneumonia is fairly common and, in many cases, mild and easily treated but in my mind, I always associate it with its scarier symptoms and outcomes. Anyway, the doctor said it was the early onset of pneumonia and the antibiotics we had already started would be able to make things right. And then Dottie sent me this link to walking pneumonia and that pretty much describes what has been happening with Ayaan, and this too makes it sounds less scary. 

We asked the doctor about the recurring fever and he said that if it continued to be high, we would have to hospitalise him. Hospitalise. Scary Word Number Two. There's something about the very thought of children in hospital that gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach. The idea of their small bodies in those immense hospital beds and their sunny little personalities in the cold, clinical environs of the hospital doesn't even bear thinking about.

To avoid all these depressing eventualities, I have been monitoring his temperature almost hourly and sponging him down every time it starts getting high, along with the prescribed dose of paracetamol. It usually responds to paracetamol but 6-8 hours later, it starts crossing 102 again. We need to wait and watch today as the antibiotics take 48 hours to take effect but if the fever does not start to break by this evening, we go back to the doctor. Fingers crossed.

Thank God for grandmothers. My mother, on hearing that her precious grandson was sick, dropped everything and took the first flight to Mumbai. It wasn't really necessary but I heaved a sigh of relief when she got here yesterday. I could really do with some downtime, not having got much sleep between the fever watch and the night feedings. The mother-in-law, who happens to be a doctor, too was a great support with medical advice, especially when we saw 104 on the thermometer at 4 a.m and needed some reassurance and tips on how go get the fever down.

Of all the challenges that motherhood has thrown my way, sick kids is the the one I feel most ill-equipped to deal with. To start with, it just breaks my heart to see my bouncy little boy lying listlessly in bed and looking at me with dull eyes. To add to that, there is a feeling of utter helplessness that I can't make it better instantly - because hey, I am the Mama and I should be able to fix this, right? And then at some points, there is a flash of irritation, deeply regretted but undeniable. It happens when the sick brat won't let me leave his sight for even a minute or when he has been coughing non-stop right into my ear and I really have to bite my tongue to keep from saying (to him and the universe), "Enough already!"

The standard advice you get when your kid is sick is to make sure they get enough rest. The problem is that there is no way to get kids to understand this. Their approach to illness is exceedingly short term. When the fever is high, they will lie down listlessly and maybe even sleep, but let the mercury drop even a little and they are ready to take on the world. Telling them that this will make their fever shoot up again is of little use. Ayaan, for example, was threatened and bribed yesterday with everything possible to stay in bed but he managed to pack in a fair amount of activity in the confines of the bed, repurposing some hangers lying nearby into rockets, shouting '3...2...1... LIFT OFF!', leaping through the air with them, landing with a thud and then repeating the process repeatedly...

Sickness makes clingy kids even clingier. Ayaan is happy enough to hang out with Jai and/or my mom when his fever is down. But the minute it starts coming back, no one but Mama will do. Even an attempt by Patti to sponge him simultanoleously or by Dadda to, God forbid, talk to him can set off a major meltdown. It can get a bit stressful because these phases often coincide with when I am needed by Tarana. This feeling of being torn is one of the not-so-nice things of having two kids. The other day, I had put her in her cot fast asleep and gone to tend to a feverish Ayaan. Then just 20 minutes later, she started bawling. I had to make a choice (Jai was travelling) and I decided Ayaan needed me more so I decided to finish putting him to bed before tending to her. It was ten minutes before I was done and she had cried herself back to sleep by then. :(

The boy got smacked. Yes, he's sick. But I was sleep deprived, my patience was wafer thin and he had it coming. At this particular point in time, he didn't have fever and had asked to watch cartoons. The show he wanted to watch had been recorded but it happened to be a re-run he had seen only recently. So he got upset and sought to express his rage by picking up his (full) glass of water and flinging it across the room. Thankfully, it was a steel tumbler but it still drenched everything lying on the bedside table. Like I said, he had it coming and I felt less guilty about this smack then I have felt about smacking him when he has been hale and hearty...

Anyway, that's it for now. Shall update on Ayaan's health. 

Update - 27th April: The fever still keeps coming back every 6-8 hours, though it is reducing in intensity and touches between 101 and 102 degrees. The doctor ordered another x-ray, which we took across to him this afternoon. He says the situation has not worsened but has not improved much either. He has added another antibiotic to the already heavy cocktail of medicines (2 antibiotics, paracetamol, expectorant, decongestant, vitamin syrup...)  and we need to go and see him everyday till he takes a turn for the better. It's either that or hospitalisation and I prefer the former. The man in question is currently between fever bouts and is bouncing around like a bunny on speed! 

Update - 28th April: There's been a marked improvement today. The doctor was pretty positive and the H-word (hospital, in case you are wondering) wasn't mentioned. He said that the phlegm was loosening up so there would be a lot of coughing but that's a good thing. He even said we could go ahead with our plans to travel to Bangalore this weekend. We need to see him again on Friday and then repeat the x-ray a week later to be a 100% sure that everything is back to the way it should be.


  1. thanks for posting this...arhaan went through something similar and in florence no less...they ran chest xrays and blood work , though the chest was clear , his WBC was high and they said if we were not flying out they would have suggested keeping him for a day. in the end they gave him an antibiotic shot with a follow up the next day in milan. his fever disappeared to return when we returned to dhaka. the dr here discontinued the antibiotics as he suspected a viral, methinks he had the "walking pneumonia" as rest and antihistamines brought it down. we had a mysterious rash a couple of days afterwards as well.
    i guess all these superbugs are benefiting through globalization as well. a friend in bulgaria went through something similar with her kids.

  2. Take care, Rohini. Hope Ayaan gets well and is back to being his sunny self soon!

  3. god, i hope ayaan feels better soon! all my sympathy with u too... :)

  4. ill kid, esply with a baby, is TRICKY.

    hang in there.

  5. hugs Ro! hope he feels better soon. yes, sick children are so heart breaking and a really testing time for parents.

    you guys take care!


  6. Awww... poor kid... (poor you too but somewhere he scores more :)) ... loads of hugs and kisses ... I am sure he'll be fine and out of his cribby mode soon... he must be in so much irritation *tsk* *tsk* ...Get well soon kiddo.. Muah!

  7. No denying Ro, that the toughest part of motherhood is sick kids. Reading your post also made me realise how very lucky I was, when my children were growing, to have a large family around, ready and free to help!
    Here's wishing Ayaan gets well real soon.

  8. Hope Ayaan is better now. Big hug to him. I was really stressed when Sumedha was unwell so can totally understand the mom being helpless feeling.

  9. Big hugs to all of you. Can u/s why that smack was necessary...glad you caught it and am sure he'll recover well. Take care of's really terribly difficult with 2 kids when they get sick.

  10. Preeti12:25 am

    Hey Ro... hope that Ayaan feels better soon... A friend of mine went through something similar and in fact her child was also hospitalised just to be on the safe side. But fortunately, he was out in a couple of days, and is doing fine since then.

    It's testing times for sure... and like u said, sometimes u just need to make the (tough) call on which child to respond to first. It's pretty difficult on everyone.

    Hope that things get better soon. Take care.

  11. your call came in the moment i opened your blog. your "ayaan is not well coincided with me reading pneumonia!!!" i think i am still hyperventilating!!!

    hugs to all of you!

    get well soon ayaan

  12. I know what you mean about feeling guilty about the irritation that comes with a constantly needy child, even though you know that they simply cant help it. Nothing anyone says can really lessen the guilt feeling...but I hope you do realise that you're not the only "nasty" mom aroun:). I for one have been there several times before and am sure will be there several times again in future!

    Hope Ayaan feels better soon. Our prayers are with you. Hugs.

  13. awww... get well soon, Ayaan. and Hugs to you Ro! I SO understand what you talk about kids being up and about the minute their fever goes down from 104- 101 types. Enough to fray nerves that are already worried over the little dull eyes.
    And I don't even have a Tarana! That name has such a musical lilt to it, I tell you :-)

  14. Yeah I totally agree --seeing your sick child is the most helpless feeling I have felt ..

    And those guilty pangs never ever leave us .

    Hopefully Aryan will be become hail and hearty pretty quickly ..:-)

  15. Having gone through the horror of hospitalising the YO a couple of weeks ago, I know exactly what you mean.

    I'm so relieved to hear that A's better. Get some shut-eye, you! And hugs!

  16. Thanks for the good wishes everyone...

    [Aneela] Goodness! The only thing worse than sick kids is travelling with sick kids!

    [Choxbox] Doctor has asked us to be on high alert for the slightest of fever in Tarana

    [HGM] I can imagine. Just having my mom come over made such a difference

    [Sur] Breathe, ok? :)

    [Lawyeramma] Thanks for the company in the nasty mom corner :)

    [JLT] :) I obviously love the name :)

    [M4] Gosh, you did? I am hoping we can avoid that...

  17. i age one year everytime the kids go through fevers and this...

    firstborn is in the midst of one such bout.

    he's sick enough to stay in a spot.

    but my baby param is blithely jumping up and down on my very absolutely last nerve

    aaaaaaaaargh. motherhood.

  18. Hey Rohini,
    Im glad I'm not alone in the tough journey of motherhood..just browsed the net and chance-read your blog!its pretty interesting to know you have the same feelings like most mothers around the globe!:) Im sure you're a great mother and you have lovely kids!! Good luck!!


  19. - Hugs
    - I hate having a sick child at home....hate being helpless
    - happy you have a support system in place
    - Hope Ayaan recovers real soon
    - My prayers with u

  20. Ro, I hope Ayaan is doing well now. May God put him back in the pink of his health soon and God grant you the strength to deal with it. Huga and best wishes.

  21. Hang in there.

  22. [MiM] I hope firstborn feels better soon and your grow some more nerves :)

    [Ruchi] Thanks

    [Gayatri/Sscribbles] Thanks for the wishes

    [Sue] Hanging :)

  23. I hope the worst is over and life gets back to as normal as it can be with two young kids around!

  24. Having seen a lot of sickness in the boy in the last one year, I can imagine how tough it must be on you. Hope things improve quickly and you can take a break in Blr. Get well soon, Ayaan.

  25. Hope Ayaan is all better now, Ro. It's really tough when kids are sick. Hugs to Ayaan and you. It's been awhile since I bloghopped, so lots of catching up to do.

  26. Hi Rohini, I read somewhere that parenthood is an extended state of terror. And I think you never feel that more acutely than when your kids are sick. My 2 year old recently had back to back gastro infections and wouldn't eat the whole day, just poo and vomit and lie down listlessly.I can only begin to imagine how worried you must have been, especially when the doctor mentioned hospitalisation. Im so glad that Ayaan is now better and that the doctor had positive things to say. Hope he's back on his feet soon!