Posted in Parenting

Not Such A Holiday

We’ve just spent the long Labour Day weekend at the hospital. One of those viruses her daycare buddies shared with her caused her asthma to flare up on Saturday. From oh-its-just-a-nose-block to should-we-see-the-GP to taxi-take-me-to-the-emergency, it was a matter of a few hours.

We left home at 5PM on Saturday and were checking in to the children’s ward at 9PM. They did all the usual stuff – nasal swabs, throat swab, blood test, chest x-ray, oxygen saturation check, pulse, temperature checks. It never ceases to amaze me how long everything takes once you are in the Emergency Unit. Isn’t it called ‘Emergency’ for a reason? As I watched the doctor and her staff struggle with inserting the canular and extracting blood from my poor little baby who was terrified, sweating and screaming with tear-filled eyes looking at me to save her, I realized (for the 100th time) how much I loathe the idea of the EU not having experienced doctors. Why does the Emergency have interns and less experienced doctors? Why don’t they have someone who can be swift and efficient? The ones on Grey’s Anatomy are so good at what they do.

Staying at the hospital is such a hit and miss experience. There are nurses who are grumpy and make you want to hit them for being rough with the baby. Then there are those lovely ones who go as far as asking if mum & dad would like some real coffee, “I’m just off to the coffee shop, if you’d like something”. The food itself isn’t half that bad, as hospital food usually is. I’m not saying it’s great but it isn’t bad. Hubby reminded me about whinging on Friday night that I wanted to get out of the house and go somewhere where we can have catered meals and a bed, without chores to do. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t what I meant! Be careful what you wish for…

This isn’t her first time. She’s been through this about 5 times this year but she was much younger and her worst moments were when the nurses were poking and prodding her. A cuddle from mama or a quick comfort feed at the breast was enough to make her happy. At nearly 20 months, not having the use of a hand that was taped up with IV tubes was extremely frustrating for her. She couldn’t turn the pages of books we tried to distract her with and couldn’t eat on her own! The prongs in her nose, held in place with more tapes on her face, were no less bothersome. Sometimes, she would wake up at night and try to yank the bandage off her hand when she realized she couldn’t rub her eyes with that hand.

At the hospital

It doesn’t stop there. Administering medicines is another ballgame altogether. Rulide, the antibiotic to fight any bacterial infection (“just in case”), is extremely bitter. Giving her half a tablet involved two people pinning her down, while a third squeezed her cheeks and passed the crushed tablet, dissolved in water, through a syringe, into her mouth… gently blowing over her face so that she would swallow it. She may be a baby but she was surely old enough to feel violated by such exertion of force. It broke my heart each time we had to do it. As I said earlier, some of the nurses weren’t exactly kind or patient. They had to do their job and move on to the next patient. I wanted to punch their nose in.

Boy, was I glad to be back home on Monday morning! I’ve never been happier to come home to chores. It was exhausting, watching her go through the frustrations and trying to keep her engaged. The IV, the tubes, medicines, puffers… it was all too much. As soon as we got home, I chucked all the germ-ridden clothes in the washing machine and we all three showered. An hour later, we were knocked out on the couch. Beaten by exhaustion.

In the evening, we set 3 chairs in the balcony and sat there for a long time. Just watching the trees sway in the breeze, aeroplanes flying past the white cirrus clouds in the blue skies, and listening to the voices of neighbours enjoying the beautiful warm Spring evening. It was good to be home.



I used to wonder whether I could ever be a parent. Then I became one. I was handed a delicate little bundle that I was terrified of bringing home. I didn't know how to be a parent and I was sure 'winging it' was not the right way to do it. Little did I know at the time that there is no right way. The baby knew what she wanted and all I had to do was figure it out along the way. As she grows up, she helps me learn what I need to know... I just need to pay attention to her.

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