Photo credit to allthewhile on Flickr
Growing up I always hear people using this phrase – “Life is tough”. I am guilty of using it sometimes too during my teenage years, you know-lah, all the pressures in school, getting sucky grades, trying to be cool and what not. Then my parents will taruk me and say that we’ll know how it’s like to be an adult when it is time for us to be an adult; apparently that’s when life gets really tough.
Oh well, in another 5 weeks, I’m going to be 30 years old.
I wouldn’t say life is tough (not for me to say anyway considering how blessed we are compared to the less fortunate) but I would say my life has had a variety of challenges. For one, being a parent is tough. Taking care of the little one has been a challenge from day 1; particularly challenging when the kiddo is unwell.
The first time Zack caught the bug from my Mom, we didn’t know what to do. We were on a short getaway on Valentine’s day and we were staying the night at a hotel in KL. He got up in the middle of the night crying and I felt he was really burning up. I didn’t pack the thermometer with me, and I didn’t have any fever medication with me. We were panicking not knowing what to do, immediately packed up our things, checked out of the hotel at 2am, decided to drive straight to the hospital!! Halfway on our way to SDMC, we took some time to think about it and we decided to head back home to get him temperature taken first, give him some meds and then see how goes.
We got home, Zack took his meds, temperature went down, he was sleeping again. The next day we brought him to the doctor’s, found out it was the usual sore throat/flu bug, got some meds and he was on his way back to his normal self soon after.
Lesson number 1: Don’t panic, think of an action plan, and think of an alternative to the action plan. Oh, and always pack the thermometer and meds on trips.
Second time around, Zack caught the bug again, this time from David. He was cranky, crying non-stop, and just burning up quick. Every time his temperature hits the highs of 39.5°C and above, I go into a panic mode and can’t think straight. His endless crying prompted us to pack up his stuff, and head over to SDMC. I remember it was 3am-ish and we were driving halfway to the hospital, when Zack just stopped crying and started smiling at us. His temperature went down and we made a u-turn back home.
Lesson number 2: Remind self to not panic. Don’t co-sleep when one is sick. Always wait for the meds to kick in before panicking. And try other methods of bringing the fever down i.e. sponging
Third time around, we got another surprise. After our holiday in Singapore recently, Zack had very high fever that comes and goes, even after taking paracetamol. However, he was pretty much his usual self, eating his meals, drinking his milk, playing his toys. He only got cranky when the fever returned. Having learnt from previous occasions, we monitored his fever closely, sponged him, and kept him hydrated as much as we could.
Again, his fever spiked up and this time it was over 40°C!! Panic mode jumped in and being a weekend, our usual ped is closed, hence a regular GP was all we could consult. The GP mentioned that Zack’s throat was very inflammed, instructed us to immediately start Zack on Augmentin, a brand of antibiotics which is commonly prescribed to children and adults alike. I take Augmentin too, so I knew it was an effective antibiotics. We had some qualms about giving Zack antibiotics but we trusted the GP and gave it to him anyway. Giving meds to Zack was another challenge—we literally had to pin him down and restrain him to get him to eat the meds. So heart-breaking to see the little one struggling at every feed.
Two days after the antibiotics, a rash broke out on his chest, back and stomach and again we panicked, we brought him to see our usual ped who then diagnosed it as Roseola (in chinese refered to as fake measles). She also said that the fever will not come back anymore and we were to expect the rash to disappear in a couple of days. Our ped also told us to chuck the Augmentin, as Roseola is a virus and not a bacterial infection, hence the antibiotics is not required.
The ped was right and sure enough his fever was finally gone, and his rash disappeared but reappeared the next day this time on his arms and legs!!
Now, being a first time parent we just assumed his Roseola attack is probably taking longer than expected. Time passed and it’s been almost 10 days since his fever started, 8 days since has his first dose of Augmentin, 5 days since seeing the ped, 4 days since the rash disappeared and reappeared on the other part of his body.
He was scratching badly, and it didn’t seem like it was Roseola anymore. The rash was raised, reddish pink and was making him really uncomfortable. At one point it covered all of his legs and hands and cheeks!! Off again we saw the ped and *drumroll* it wasn’t Roseola anymore!! We finally found out that Zack is allergic to amoxicillin, a type of penicillin in Augmentin. An allergy to Augmentin apparently only appears 7-10 days after first consuming it!! I am allergic to ampicillin (which is closely related to amoxicillin) as a kid, so it was likely Zack may be allergic to it too. We found out the hard way
Lesson number 3: It’s a fact. Your kid will continue to be exposed to a host of other problems which is new and foreign to you.
Tough. It was so tough on David and I. Not only we were being judged by our own parents (that we suck at parenting), we were also suffering from the lack of sleep and rest in the last 2 weeks! It was so mentally and physically challenging to the point I couldn’t focus at work—I was constantly worried about Zack! The lack of rest made me really cranky too!
I know there’s more to come. I know that there is no way we can outsource parenting just to “have it easy”. I know Zack will always be depending on us to take care of him. I know we can learn from these experiences and grow from it.
So, is life that tough? I would say “a very small part of it, yes. The biggest part of it, no.”
The bigger part of life is just a journey of challenges that we need to confront and overcome as we experience the growing up process. So, hang tough fellow young parents, let’s keep learning and keep growing!