Category Archives: Sick and medicines

Making the most of a sick day


After complaining about having the immunity of an ox and never being able to take a sick day, I got sick. So feeling rather sorry for myself, I left work early on Tuesday afternoon, fetched the kids from school, handed them over to Zoleka, and jumped straight into bed. Zoleka cooked supper, bathed the kids and sorted everything out for me until the Husband came home and took over. I stayed home yesterday and the boredom of being bedridden hit at about 9h05am. I watched some TV, read my book, played on my phone, tried to have a nap, and that was enough. I made myself two soft boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, had a shower and laid down to watch more TV. My body was actually sore from all the laying down. My mother in law arrived from Durban around lunch time and she went straight into the kitchen. She made sugar beans curry with roti for supper. She also made beef stew for the kids. Then she made a massive pot of butternut soup. YUMMY. Then she told me to take out chicken so she could prepare a few other meals. I obliged obediently, thanking the Lord for a good mother in law. Not to be outdone in the kitchen, I decided to bake.

Ok it was more out of boredom and keeping her company in the kitchen, than trying to impress anyone. I baked my regular butter biscuits – these bad boys are so tasty and are always a hit. I’ve tried different variations like adding nuts or flavoured essence, but the basic recipe is always the most loved. And it’s literally just butter, flour, castor sugar, an egg and vanilla essence 🙂 Next time, I’ll double the recipe, you see that cooling tray below, it took about an hour for that quantity of biscuits to be HALVED!

cookies

 

cookies cooked

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Not how I imagined my sick day at all.


So I never get sick. I like to tell people (and I’ve probably written it here too) that I have the immune system of an ox – strong, sturdy and impenetrable. I can’t remember the last time I took a sick day, or the last time I went to a doctor for myself. So on Sunday when I woke up with a scratchy throat my first thought was please let this last into Monday so I can take a legitimate sick day. Anyway I came to work on Monday because I didn’t feel that ill, and besides taking a sick day on a Monday just doesn’t look good. Yesterday I decided that I was ill enough to call in sick BUT so were my kids. Choosing to keep them home on the same day that I was calling in sick was a silly silly rookie error on my part.

Firstly, they thought it was bloody marvelous that we were to spend the school day at home together. So spritely did they appear, that I wondered if they were faking their illness just to stay home? But you can’t fake snot, now can you? When Zoleka came into the house and I heard HER cough, I sent her back to bed with a saucer full of meds. So it was just the kids and I. Sigh. The first demand came in at 7h02am for cereal. Followed by yoghurt and then juice and ALL accompanied with various degrees of annoying whining. Then it was medicine time… yipppeee! My kids love medicine, even the yucky ones, I mean have you seen a baby who takes Vidaylin without pulling a face? Well I have two of them in my house. After all that medication, I was hoping that they would nap for about three hours. Nope. After the admin of getting dressed (we had to because Hannah spilt milk down the front of her pjs, sighhh) and brushing teeth, I had two beady pairs of eyes staring up at me with the excited anticipation of what was coming next. Nap? Nope again. So we played with Hannah’s birthday presents which were unwrapped but still unopened because I have a strict rule about new toys (especially expensive ones) – we all play together so that I can explain how it works, and then you can play it correctly without fear of breaking it because you don’t know what the heck you are doing. So we played, then we read. Then it was snack time. So I juiced 12 oranges which made about a litre of fresh orange juice – nothing like a Vitamin C shooter to ward off the flu germs. I love my food processor, fresh orange juice in 5 minutes. They sat on the verandah with their orange juice and biscuits while I watered my flowers. Back inside, they wanted to draw and I wanted to sleep. I opted to clean out the old and broken toys instead. WHY I do this to myself is beyond me. But I cleaned up good – threw out a big bag of junk and put everything back in its place and found forgotten toys which brought much joy and elation to the non-sleeping two. Like seriously, I thought medication is supposed to induce sleep? My medication was making me feel drowsy, how come it wasn’t working for them? We watched a movie – Cat in the Hat for the thousandth time, and because I couldn’t sleep through their shreaks of delight at the same scenes that they’ve seen a thousand times, I went to make lunch and start prepping for supper.

food pro

We had butternut soup and rolls for lunch. When I say “we” I mean Liam and I. Hannah turned her nose up at the yellow goo in her plate and opted for slices of cucumber, tomato and cheese instead. Sighhhh, some days I feel like I run a restaurant with all the different menu options I whip out of my hat. But their stomachs were still grumble-y. For what? I asked. For a treat! They replied. So yes there may have been chocolate and chips for dessert, ok.

I made butternut fritters, pork chops (boerewors for the kids because they don’t like pork), savoury rice, roast potatoes and steamed mix veg in white sauce for supper and by that time it was bath time (still no nap for anyone – even after lunch time meds). The kids pottered around me while I cooked and helped me stack the dishwasher – their new favourite thing to do and then we filled the bath up and had a long leisurely bath while we had competitions to see who’s cough was the “baddest” (can’t get Liam to stop saying this word!). Liam won. And then Daddy came home and he was like “and how was your relaxing sick day off?” Sighhhhhh.

I do feel better today, but I think this is because I am happily back at my desk and not at home keeping up with the “sick” kids. Or maybe it’s the Hot Toddy, ACC 200 and Flutex which my husband has been forcing down my throat? I still want a sick day where I just stay in my pyjamas all day and drowsily flick through mindless day time TV in between long naps. Next time, I won’t coincide my illness with that of my children’s.

meds

The one about medical aid


I know and understand the value of a good medical aid. My father is a senior manager at Old Mutual, I know about insuring your life to death (literally and figuratively), insuring anything and everything tangible, and how you can’t put any monetary value on receiving good medical treatment. I get it ok. Totally. BUT with medical aid prices increasing dramatically year on year, while the benefit decreases or stays the same, one has to question how much “aid” we’re getting for our buck.

Granted my company is paying 55% of my monthly instalment, I still feel the amount I’m spending on medical aid is exorbitant for the benefits I am actually using day to day. This year, I can count the number of times we, as a family of four, went to the doctor, on both hands. Other than the doctor, Liam and I went to the dentist once. The rest of my MSA was spent on OTC medication “just because” – on things like head ache tablets, cough syrup, pain and fever meds for the kids and vitamins. Our savings ran out this week, which in itself isn’t bad, with only a month to go before the end of the year (don’t you dare, Murphy’s Law, don’t even think about it). Although MOST and I mean 95% of the families are know, ran out of savings in the first quarter of the year and have been paying cash PLUS their monthly instalment, desperately trying to close the self payment gap. It’s CRAZY!

It’s this time of year when your medical aid starts sending you advisories about next year’s plans and price hikes and I got speaking to some of the moms and dads at work. Many of them  have been successfully surviving on a hospital plan WHILE putting away that additional instalment they would have been paying to the medical aid on a higher plan. This means that they pay cash for medicines or doctors visits if and when the need arises from the funds which they are diligently putting away, and in turn are making a huge saving on the months where no medical attention was required. I did a rudimentary tally of our doctor’s visits, including possible medication, added in three specialist visits – all at the cash price and let me tell you, I’d save thousands a year if I did this.

I’m not trying to be a scrooge, putting my kids health at risk because I don’t want to pay Discovery. Not at all. However, in these current economic conditions one has to be savvy, and we need to be looking for ways to cut back in every area. I’m currently looking at hospital plan options; surprisingly you can get a decent hospital plan which gives you access to any hospital nationwide, without huge co-payments at a very reasonable monthly fee.

NOW here’s the crux. How disciplined am I? The saving here is not instant. I will still need to set this money aside for day to day medical expenses AND have enough to cover any specialist visits. Based on our current trend, this is easily doable but who can tell what next year holds? (Or if I won’t spend the money on shoes.) When I look at the amount I am paying every month for medical aid, this would cover doctor’s visits, and the usual meds and then some. When I consider that there are sometimes months when we don’t go to a doctor at all, this would even out the need for a specialist visit, if need be. I mean people are doing it, and saving, so why can’t I get a piece of that pie?

This weekend I am meeting with my Dad to discuss this issue, to get his professional opinion. Of course I have my reservations, without wishing ill health upon my family people do get sick, someone just has to sneeze on your kid and they need an antibiotic. What do you think? What’s your medical aid like? What do you think of the rates versus the benefits? Are you happy? Would you consider this?

Tonsillitis, sinusitis and an ear infection


So Liam’s been coughing for about two weeks, a wet horrible cough, but that’s it. No temperature, eating well, not particularly miserable. Just a cough. So I was self medicating with the usual suspects. I didn’t think it was anything too serious, granted his nose started running and his cough wasn’t improving, but I thought (like Obama) that I had this.

This weekend he started to complain about a sore throat and his snot started to turn that delightful opaque colour – the first sign that things are not getting better, but worse. But like Mary Poppins, I just continued with a spoonful of EVERYTHING that looked like it may work. I upped the ante with vitamins in every shape and colour and I hoped for the best. On Monday morning he woke up crying and seriously miserable, I accepted defeat and phoned the doctor.

She wasn’t impressed, she said his ears and tonsils were so inflamed that his pain must have been quite severe. I told her that clearly my son must have a high pain threshold because he didn’t complain about any pain until the day before, or else I wouldn’t have dilly-dallied over seeking medical attention. And besides, aren’t fevers supposed to alert a mother that something is wrong? I was waiting for a darn fever, ok.

695 South African Rands worth of medicine later, and two days off school and I can’t say I’ve seen any difference. Granted he isn’t complaining about his throat being sore anymore, but his cough still sounds exactly the same, although I do know the cough is the last thing to go. He isn’t a child who really gets small-man-flu; so when he is ill he is generally pleasant and still talks nonstop so it’s difficult to gauge how sick he really is. Today he demanded to go to school, so I let him go. He is such a trooper, this kid.

You’d think with over three years experience at this, I’d know when my children are sick, how sick they are, and if they are getting better right? Um…yeh…not really.

Either my instincts needs an overhaul or my mom-intuition is broken or my 6th sense is senseless. Not sure? Perhaps it’s just the fact that the medical aid is kaput and I stall as long as I can with having to pay a medical person out of my own pocket, even though my child’s poor body is riddled with illness. Whatever it is, I did have a moment of guilt over poor Liam’s inflamed tonsils. But I had some chocolate and got over it. Oh well.

So I’ll just follow doctor’s orders, finish the course of antibiotics and expect him to be well by Friday when the five day course is over, right? Right.

Look at him, does this look like a sick child to you?

Allergies Smallergies


On Sunday morning, Liam woke up with what I thought were lots of insect bites on his body. The more he scratched, the bigger the welts became, until his body was pretty much covered in angry looking red lumps. I took him to the pharmacist who said it looked like some type of dermatitis and gave me a cortisone cream. We fumigated his room, I put one of those insect repellant plugs into the wall and I scoured his bed for bed bugs or eggs or anything foreign looking. The redness cleared during the day.

On Monday he woke up and although the redness wasn’t as severe, it was there. Yesterday he woke up and they were back in full force, he came home from school and they had cleared up. Last night I was cooking and the kids were in the yard with their dad, raking up the cut grass. I called them in to bath and as Liam walked passed the kitchen towards the bathroom, I yelled for him to come back. His left eye was almost swollen shut, he had big red splotches all over his face, behind his ears, down his neck, I took his clothes off and cringed at the sight of his body which was littered with these red lumps. The swelling on his face was definitely getting worse, and although he was showing no other signs of discomfort – no fever, no listlessness, not even scratching – I was afraid because it seems to be getting worse very quickly. We bathed him and I took him to the doctor, he was thrilled for the nighttime escapade. Doc took one look and said it was Urticaria (hives), an allergen either to food, chemicals or pollen / grass. After many questions and what felt like an interview for a job, he deduced that it was most likely something in our garden. It made sense: it comes up after he has been out in the garden, it’s only started  since we’ve moved to our new place, his diet, body products or washing powders haven’t changed at all, and last night in particular it was at it’s worst after he was picking up grass and trimmed plants. Now if you haven’t seen our yard, there are more than 10 different trees, there are plants and flowers galore – I don’t even know their names. To narrow down WHICH plant or tree is causing the allergic reaction is virtually impossible. It would be easier to keep Liam inside or cover him in bubble wrap before he goes outside, than to establish which plant(s) he is allergic to. The next solution is a daily dose of an antihistamine, probably for the rest of his life. Doctor thinks that it will calm down once pollination/germination season is over. I don’t want Liam on drugs everyday for the foreseeable future, I want to consult my most trusted doctor, Dr Google, to see what other parents are using for their allergy prone kids.. natural remedies maybe?

Liam was allergy prone from birth, he picked this up from his dad who suffers with hayfever, allergies and mild asthma. He practically came out of the womb sniffling, coughing, sneezing and with watery eyes. But I didn’t think this would mean he is allergic to EVERYTHING! Doctor says that he is most likely genetically allergy prone and we should watch him for other allergies as well, especially his first bee sting. He didn’t recommend the allergy testing which is expensive and not really conclusive other than defining if your allergy is food, chemical or pollen based – but that we could look at the testing if his allergies persisted and also the severity of the attacks, maybe from about age 5.

He woke up this morning, hale and hearty and his skin was clear. Both my kids have never really been sick. They’ve never been hospitalized, or suffered with serious illnesses or had to have grommets inserted or any of the “normal” illnesses that befall most children. So when I discovered that Liam has quite a serious allergy which needs to be monitored, I felt a twinge of something – powerlessness, guilt, fear? I’m not sure?  I think when your kid is sick, in whatever way, it makes you sad! Well it makes me sad anyway. Is there anyone else dealing with allergies in children – pollen and grass in particular? Other than putting Liam into a bubble, are there other useful tips for dealing with it? And no, I am not selling up and moving house. Never ever! Look at this poor kid…

About winter baby blues and home remedies that work…


Every mother, at one point or another, has experienced that moment when your kid is so sick and you have no idea how to make it better. I have experienced many of these moments, and last night was no different. Both Liam and Hannah have had runny noses and mild flu symptoms for about a week – nothing major and definitely not worthy of a doctor’s visit and yet another round of Augmentin (I DETEST antibiotics). Liam had a slight cough but again, nothing major. I had been treating their symptoms with the usual suspects: Dime.tapp, Demazin, Cor.enza C for kids, Flu.sin and the list goes on. Don’t get me started on the OTC cough mixtures… Bron.chese, Bron.coped, Ben.ylin, Pro.span, and that list goes on too. And not forgetting the antihistamines from Tex.a to Des.elex to Aller.gex and so on.

None of the above have worked. Their noses are still running during the day, and are blocked at night. Liam is still coughing and Hannah is still raspy. I think I was hoping that their flu jab was working and that the symptoms wouldn’t get any worse, but last night Liam’s coughing was horrible. He was coughing literally every five seconds, almost with every intake of breath, and in between this he was wheezing and his chest sounded like a truck starting up on a cold winter’s morning. I walked into his room and he appeared to be asleep, but coughing and wheezing in his sleep – which was weird – how can such crazy coughing not wake a kid up? So I shook him awake and then of course he cried, and that of course made the coughing worse and I knew that the vomit would come soon after so I was rushing around the room trying to get myself prepared, mentally kicking myself for not fetching my humidifier which I had borrowed to my sister in law for her sick baba a few weeks earlier. He didn’t vomit but the coughing continued, and I just held him in my arms and had that sad sorry moment where I had no idea what to do. I yelled to my hubby to get the Aspelone hoping that the corticosteroid would ease his chest, and I prayed HARD. I messaged my mother to ask her to pray too, I rubbed his chest and feet with Puma Balm and we gave him the Aspelone while he cried and coughed (I was actually visualising the projectile vomit at this stage, but nothing, sjoe!). After about 10 minutes, his coughing eased and I left him to sleep. At precisely 03h12, I bounced out of bed (bad mother who sleeps like the dead when her kid is sick) and went to check on him and Hannah and he was out cold and his breathing, although a bit raspy, was definitely much better than it had been. Hannah was still fast asleep.

Needless to say, I have booked them both in to see our doctor today at 5pm.

Point of this story, I have this amazing home remedy which our family has been using for years. Primarily for coughs, but I usually keep it up throughout winter because I believe it helps with all the winter nigglies that our kids fall prone to. I ran out about three weeks ago and have just not had the time to buy everything and make the mixture again. I can kick myself in the head (but I’m not double jointed) for not keeping it up, I can almost guarantee that last night would not have happened and that the kids would have been a bit healthier, and I would not have to put them on another round of antibiotics which I KNOW my doctor will prescribe this afternoon.

It’s a simple, cheap recipe and it’s more or less natural – using mainly Lennon’s Dutch medicines. The main ingredient is honey, so you may only want to use this in kids over the age of 12 months.  I give Liam and Hannah a teaspoon full every morning and night.

The ingredients:

  • 500ml of honey
  • 1 x Lennon’s Borsdruppels
  • 1 x Lennon’s Turlington
  • 1 x Lennon’s Peppermintdruppels
  • 1 spoon Olive Oil
  • 1 spoon Vinegar

I bought a plastic shaker from the Crazy Store but you could use any container that is easy to dispense from. Pour all the honey into your container, add half the bottle of Borsdruppels, half the bottle of Turlington (tastes really VILE), the olive oil, the vinegar and peppermint to taste – usually about a ¼ of the bottle. Mix it all together. That is it. It doesn’t taste horrible, but your kid isn’t exactly going to ask for more. The most horrible ingredient is the Turlington, so if anything, don’t be heavy handed with that in particular.

I am going to make our mixture today – even with the antibiotics – and get my kids well again. Heaven knows I can’t have them ill when I’m about to send them off on a two week holiday in precisely 13 days! They won’t enjoy their holiday and I most certainly will not enjoy mine, knowing they are not their usual bouncy selves.

Give the recipe a try, based on this mixture for two children, twice a day, we usually see results on around day four or so, consistency is key – like most natural remedies, it takes time but works well.

Hoping my babies bounce back quickly!

xxx

Wordless Wednesday: Bumpity Bump


 

My Hannah,

Last night you nearly gave me a heart attack. Even as I write this my heart speeds up, at the memory of the loud THUD I heard as you took a tumble. One thing that moms of toddlers are able to discern is the “THUD.” And I knew it was bad, really bad, before I even got to you. I’m sorry you got sore *insert very very sad face* and I wish I could make it all better.

So this not-so-Wordless-Wednesday is dedicated to you and your bump.

Don't worry, she's alive!

Hard lessons learnt this week…


This week has been tumultuous to say the least. There have been high highs and then some real low lows. I experienced a level of disappointment that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. And of course, when you are that disappointed, other things that happen alongside that disappointment affect you more than they normally would. And eventually you feel so low, that even a silly thing like not finding a matching pair of socks can send you into a flood of hot angry tears. Anyway, all is not lost. Thank goodness for a warm strong hand on your thigh and birthdays – all which are helping me to get through this patch. So here’s my week (and a bit) in bullet points:

 

  • The husband and I have been looking for a house for over a year. People think we are crazy when I tell them that we have been looking for a home for so long. There have been a few callous remarks about how fussy I must be, how I need to lower my standards and how I will never find the perfect home and there will always be something that will need to be “fixed” up to my specification. This is, in fact, not the case. Currently we live about 539 kilometres from where our lives are actually played out every day. Not that far, but that’s what the car ride feels like every morning and every afternoon. We both work in Woodmead, we go to church in Sandton, Liam goes to school in Wendywood. For those of you who don’t have a clue about Johannesburg geography – these three places are all within a 10 km radius. And it is at these three places that we spend most of our lives. YET. We live in Ruimsig, on the Westrand, which is a good 30kms away. So it makes sense to move closer. Right? Now let’s consider my family dynamic. I have two small children who require some growing space as well as a garden/yard to be let loose into. I have a live in helper who I will most definitely, never ever ever, live without. So at a minimum we need three bedrooms, with a servants quarters (that’s just what real estate call it, Zoleka is by no means considered a servant in my house!), with a yard big enough to kick a ball in. That’s it. Not that hard. But finding what we need, and more importantly, in our price range, has proved VERRRRY difficult! It’s not about being fussy, it’s about finding the right house at the right price. Anyway, to get to my point of this bullet point… last week I found my dream house. It was beautiful, I fell inlove with it the minute I stepped over the welcome mat at the front door. I don’t need to describe it, suffice to say that I could see myself and my family in this house. I wanted to live there so bad. I would have sold my wedding ring for that house – not because of its monetary value but its emotional value to me. I.LOVED.THAT.HOUSE. We put in an offer and we were so very convinced we would get it, even the estate agent assured us that our chances were good. We even met the owner! This week we learned that the house went to someone else. I was devastated. You know when the right house comes along, at the right price, in the right location and you can’t find one single fault with it and it just FEELS like home – and all this after looking at about a gazillion houses in the last year – and then you don’t get it. It HURTS!! Now we are back at square one, scouring the internet and newspapers, chatting to a host of estate agents as if they are old friends. It really was disheartening.

 

  • This leads me directly into bullet point number two. By mistake, we learned this week that out current place of abode would be going up for sale in August. We are renting in complex which was built and is owned by a company. Not one man. A company who are interested only in money, and not people. Every unit currently for rent, will go up for sale in August. We have no intention to buy, so this means unless we find a house REAL soon, we will be homeless by August. This would not have stung so bad, had I not just lost out on my dream home of course, but you know how easy it is for a mountain to form from a molehill when you’re feeling tender!

 

  • I don’t like to talk about work on my blog for many reasons. I know there are people at work who will read this and I do not, in any way, want to elicit a written warning for saying something that may be deemed inappropriate and not in line with the “company’s” policy on certain issues. Serious. So I best leave them out of my gripe, suffice to say that I’ve had to leave my desk to go and cry in the toilet more than once this week. Again, it probably wasn’t that serious, but I’ve been a little tender this week and as I said, every little fart does add to the mound of poo that we sometimes find ourselves in.

 

  • Then the absolute cherry on my pity party cake – both kids contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease this week. When I received the notification about the outbreak from Liam’s school, I was terrified. It sounds serious, doesn’t it? After Googling, calling my doctor (yes, in that order) and chatting to the school principal, I learned that it was a common childhood illness, highly contagious, but not life threatening. It manifests itself in a rash and little blisters appearing on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and in the mouth. It can be accompanied by fever, and of course loss of appetite due to the obvious pain in the mouth. In fact, the bigger concern with this illness is the possibility of dehydration in little people due to not eating or drinking, rather than anything associated with the disease itself. But of course, after the week I had been having, this hit me like a bomb over Hiroshima. ALSO, I had been having a real tough time with my kidlets this week – Liam has just been extremely difficult and I KNOW, I KNOWWW its jus the age he is at, and the incessant questions and disagreeing with everything I say is more his way of asserting some authority – not authority – asserting his independence, yes that’s the right word. Hannah will be two in a few months and needs no further explanation. It’s the start of the Terrible Twos in every way, shape and form. Sigh. So, with all this plus the “disease, ” I really felt like my life was over. Yes, that’s a bit dramatic, but you’ll understand that due to the chain of events, I was really feeling fragile.

 

Right. Now that all that is off my chest, let me just state that I am a reasonably cheerful, positive person. I try to find the silver lining in every cloud and for the most part, I do find it. I am also fairly rational and know that things happen which you have no control over, but that you have absolute control over your attitude. I believe that you play a big part in creating your own happiness and that although circumstances don’t always play in your favour, you choose how you deal with the situation you find yourself in. Reminds me of a book title from our Pastor at church: Pain is inevitable, misery is optional. But this week, what really got me through was my little family. My husband isn’t good with words, but he does this thing that immediately relaxes me, like a shot of morphine must do for a person in extreme pain. He puts his big warm hand on my thigh… not in a seductive way at all! In a warm, protective, don’t-worry, kind of way. It makes me feel like things aren’t so bad, that we’ll get through it together, it may seem silly, but that’s our thing and it works. There was a lot of hand-on-thigh moments this week. Then, of course, Liam had a birthday! I’ve said it before in a blog post and I will say it again, there’s no way that a cake with a few candles, with people singing out of tune, cannot make you giggle. It’s virtually impossible to be grumpy around a cake with lit candles. Liam had a birthday and it evoked all sorts of happy memories and it just warmed my heart to see how happy he was and it reminded me that amidst all the other sad stuff going on, there’s still full and complete joy in the really simple things in life. I believe that our perfect house is out there, perhaps getting a touch up, perhaps getting a paint or two, who knows, but I have no doubt that come August, we’ll be happily in our new home. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease will go, and other things like Mumps and Measles will come, but even with sick babies and sleepless nights, we’ll still have birthdays and play dates and cuddles at the end of every day to make things better. I am glad this week is over. But I guess I needed it, for God to give me a swift kick up the rear, to remind me about what’s really important. This weekend, we’ll be homebound, trying not to infect anyone else with the “disease” and I intend to enjoy every moment with my disease-ridden family in our less than perfect home.

 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xxx

We’ve been HAVING it!


It’s been a week of good food, good company, and good learning… and it’s only WEDNESDAY!

This morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast at the fabulous Saxon Hotel, thanks to Newmark Hotels. It’s five star from the moment you pull up to the entrance, but we’ll leave that part out, and skip straight to the dining experience. A nice lady pulled my chair out for me, she offered me something to drink before I had even put my phone down on the table. I dumped my bag on the floor next to me, and another nice lady whipped it up, and fetched my bag its own little stool next to my chair. Imagine that. A menu was placed in my hand and my eyes were immediately drawn to the price tag: R250 per head. So we ordered off the menu, and while we waited for our hot dish, we could entertain ourselves at the buffet. Bad idea. From fresh fruit, to breakfast cereals and yoghurts, breads and cheeses, cold meats and oysters (for breakfast? Is this what the rich and famous eat for breakfast?) and a fabulous selection of pastries. Had I remembered that posh places are all about quality and not quantity, about how your food looks on your plate, rather than how it tastes; I would have entertained myself further on the buffet, but because I was expecting my hot meal to look something like a Wimpy breakfast with bacon spilling over the side of my plate, I didn’t want to overdo things on the first course. However, I was a tad disappointed with my Top Billing-esque plate of food, purely because I’m probably more of a Wimpy girl than a Saxon girl.. as the saying goes.. you can take the girl out of Wimpy, but you can’t take Wimpy out of the girl. On a side note, a nice man came up to my friend and I to let us know that we had left the lights on in the car, and asked if we’d like him to go and turn them off so as not to disturb our breakfast. I thought that was pretty cool.

While on the subject of food. On Saturday I had my school friends over for what should have been brunch. I call them my school friends, even though I have been out of school for more than a decade, but you know how you categorise and compartmentalise your friends.. the school friends, the soccer wives, the friends-by-marriage, the friends-you-hide-from. JUST kidding, I don’t have that category! No really, I don’t!! Anyhoo, my school friends came over for brunch which turned into lunch, which turned into dinner, which turned into coffee and donuts. It was way past everyone’s bed time by the time we called it a night. But it was awesome to spend time together, I love those girls and their families. Little Samuel, who belongs to Corinne over at Maiden to Motherhood walked for the first time YAY! Liam and Hannah also had a ball, Liam spent most of the day naked, jumping in and out of his splash pool. Hannah, who normally takes time to adjust to new people in her space, all but sold herself to my friend, Merese. If Merese had offered to take her home and be her new mama, I think Hannah would have packed her nappy bag herself. And later she showed the same kind of fatal attraction to Garth, to the point where she was in his car and waving good bye to us, and proceeded to scream blue murder when we yanked her out of the car.

While on the subject of my babies. Hannah has had a running tummy for over a week. Don’t all gasp at once at how I could have let this go on for so long. First I thought it was related to teething, so I let it go. She was eating and drinking well, if not better than she has been for the last few months, so I wasn’t worried that she was dehydrating or losing weight. On day three, I dug something out of my beloved medicine chest, I couldn’t find an expiry date and it looked and smelt ok, so I gave it to her. It didn’t seem to work. So on Sunday morning, as I lay in bed waiting on the alarm to buzz (I always beat the alarm, why I bother to set it, I will never know), I had a horrible MG (Mothers Guilt) moment, you know the kind when your mind turns a molehill into a mountain. What if this diarrhoea wasn’t teething related, what if my child had a terrible bout of gastric and she was severely dehydrated and she needed to be hospitalised and put on a drip and I’d have to sleep on a horrible green chair covered in leftover vomit stains from the family before me. Babies DIE from gastric-related illnesses, how could I have let this go on for so long, what kind of a monster mother am I…. AAARRRGGHH!! Anyway, once I had regulated my blood pressure, I got up and decided that I’d pop out to the pharmacy after church and get some advice. The pharmacist didn’t seem perturbed in the least, he asked about her eating, her sleeping, her temperament and of course the usual questions related to the poo itself. He gave me some medicine and told me to take her to the doctor after three days if there was no improvement. What I failed to realise at the time was that this medicine was almost IMPOSSIBLE to administer to an 18 month old. I had to dissolve the powder in 50 millilitres of water and get Hannah to DRINK this disgusting concoction. Now unlike a two year old who I can bribe, or a newborn who I can basically force feed, an 18th month old.. MY 18 month old has a will of her own; if she doesn’t like the taste, no coaxing, no disguising in her juice or milk, no promises of sweeties, NOTHING will make her drink it. After wasting about five of this awful sachets I gave up altogether and went back to the thick, gloopy not-sure-if-its-expired medicine. Seems to be working, but we still not there. And no, I still haven’t taken her to the doctor.

So yes, it’s been quite a week, we HAVE been HAVING it! Can’t wait to see what the downhill to Friday has in store for me 🙂

The Trauma of Trauma


I always thought that Liam’s first scar would be the result of something amazingly awesome he had tried to accomplish – like a failed attempt at diving off a piece of furniture, or a tricycle accident or falling out of a tree while trying to save a kitty stuck up there. Something noteworthy that would make for good conversation at kiddies parties or his 21st birthday celebration. So I was somewhat disappointed that our first trip to Casualty was because Liam ran into a wall – what a letdown.

It started as a normal Saturday morning, we had just returned home from  our monthly grocery shopping expedition, an abominable exercise – so already tensions were running high. Liam was helping his Dad unpack the groceries and I can’t say for sure what happened, but I knew by the loud thump and the wail that escaped his mouth, that it was serious. Moms are pretty good at deciphering the different cries that their children make and before I even got to him, my heart had all but jumped out of my chest and I knew that this was not the kind of booboo that I could kiss better. My fears were confirmed when I found him laying face up, blood pouring down the side of his face and looking like he was holding a golf ball in his mouth; his cheek was blue and swollen. The husband and I tried to assess the situation, while I poofed around his open wound with a dirty dish cloth – the first thing I could fine! I was reminded again that my husband and I do not handle emergency situations well – we first argued over various things like whose fault it was, whether it was serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, who would stay with Hannah who was asleep and who would go, why was I using a dirty dish cloth to wipe his face, what does it matter, etc, etc… you get the picture! Liam’s every increasing shrieks shook us back to reality and it was swiftly decided that I would take him to the hospital and the husband would remain with Hannah. And just like in the movies and just like good ‘ol Murphy predicts –  every traffic light was red, I was stuck behind two pensioners taking their cars for a walk, the short cut actually turned out to be the long cut, and when we eventually arrived at the hospital, more than a little frazzled, I couldn’t find a parking bay. With the effect, I had to park 5000 kilometres from the entrance and lug my big boy with his bloody dish cloth all that way, while trying to balance my purse and phone and car keys in my hand  – I forgot to grab my hand bag in all the mayhem and the husband just threw the necessaries at me.

 

We were third in the queue; could they not see my child was having a medical emergency, how could they let that infant coughing up blood and that old lady who was going blue in the face from lack of oxygen, go before me? I was livid. I was giving the husband a blow by blow account of everything that was happening, while Liam relayed the whole incident to the blue faced old lady, shame she was very sympathetic, but not enough to give us her place in the queue. Eventually we were called in to take his vitals, his blood pressure and heart rate were good which indicated no trauma to the head, hallelujah! All this time he was quite calm, more intrigued with all the machines, gadgets and the bed on wheels. But when the doctor appeared in his white coat, pandemonium broke out. Ever since Liam was old enough to understand that his childhood immunisations were administered by a man or woman in a white coat, he goes slightly barmy at the sight of well..a white coat. He wouldn’t let the doctor near him, he was clawing at me like a cat high on cocaine, the doctor had to yell instructions to the nurse who verified that the wound needed to be stitched up. I felt like I was going to break down from the stress of it all, but I had to hold it together – not for Liam’s sake, he was too far gone to worry about me, but I didn’t want the doctor and nurse to see me blubbering like a big baby. While they prepared the trolley with all the items needed for the mini operation, I had to administer pain medication orally and I had to drown the wound in some anaesthetic liquid in order to numb the area – all this while Liam was yelling like a banshee. I felt like I was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I wondered if they were going to make me stitch him up as well because they were too scared to come near him. I heard the doctor yell something and out of the corner of my eye I saw four big scary looking ladies coming towards us. They weren’t really scary looking, but I knew this wasn’t going to be good. They proceeded to wrap my son tightly, too tightly if you ask me, in a sheet in an effort to keep him still, I was horrified, as was he. He was screaming and looking at me as if to say save me and I could feel the tears welling up behind my eyeballs. They asked if I wanted to leave the room and as much as I wanted to run as far away from the situation as possible, because I couldn’t bear to see the pain my child was going to further endure, I couldn’t leave him on his own, in a room full of strangers in his most frightening moment. So while the five of us tussled with him, the doctor painstakingly stitched his face up. I thought I was going to pass out, as I watched that needle pierce his skin and the doctor sow it all back together again with the precision of a master tailor.  When he said “all done” I wanted to rip that sheet off Liam and pick him up and RUN. But I calmly gathered my stuff, even though my knees felt like they were going to give way at any second, the nurses ooh’d and aah’d over him and he even managed to bat his eyelids and give the ladies a smile. I felt emotionally and physically drained as I walked out of that hospital with my bloody dish cloth.

Back home, Liam bounced back quickly, he was proud of his wound, he even let Hannah touch it. By the evening, he had picked out one stitch – I mean really, after ALL that??? We need to take him back on Wednesday to have the remaining stitches removed. I already know what a palaver that’s going to be, but I will be more prepared this time, I will take my Prozac and Valium beforehand. I’m considering phoning the doctor and asking if Liam can’t take them out himself, he did a pretty good job with that first one.

Yes I know that children, especially boys, get themselves into these situations and I have no doubt that this is not my last trip to the emergency unit, but I do hope that as I age as a mother, I will have more control over my galloping heart rate and my knocking knees every time my babies get injured. In hindsight, I honestly don’t know who was more traumatised by this whole experience, mother or child? The scar that will be left behind once the stitches are long gone, will serve as a reminder of the day my son got his first real booboo, and his mother almost wet her pants in fear.