Gareth is sick… again – which is why I haven’t been blogging. I have spent the last few nights as a human pacifier and lovey. The moment I move away from him, he would wake up. During the daytime, we’re a pair of Siamese twins, and I get the privilege of watching marathon re-runs of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. There was one brief respite today when Gareth insisted on watching the opening sequence of Hi-5 over and over again.
The first signs appeared around about mid-to-late last week. Before that he had an ulcer on his lip (the result of a head-on collision with Gavin while they were playing one evening) which he was complaining about. However, he continued to complain about his mouth even after the ulcer was healed so I thought he might have had a second ulcer inside his mouth that I couldn’t see. Then I thought he was teething because the upper and lower right canines were just emerging (I saw the white bumps pushing up against his gums). His appetite had diminished almost completely which was extremely unusual for Gareth who always eats even when he’s sick (quite unlike his brother).
On Saturday night, I woke up and discovered that he was feverish. The fever continued all through Sunday. Sunday night, he was complaining a lot about his mouth and he was clearing his throat a lot. There was no mucous but he sounded like he was about to throw up. Monday morning, he threw up in bed. I took him to the doctor and he threw up again in the doctor’s waiting room. He threw up a third time when he came home and in the evening before bed time.
The doctor’s diagnosis was a Strep Throat infection. Unlike regular sore throats, a Strep Throat infection requires treatment with a course of antibiotics. Additionally, Strep Throat infections are very painful so the doc said not to worry if Gareth wasn’t eating as long as he was continuing to take in fluids. However, Gareth being Gareth, was determined to eat even with his dagger-throat and managed to down a bit of rice and soup for dinner.
The fever has been on-going since it started and has only started to drop on its own today (with continuing spikes of temperature rises). While we have been controlling the fever with paracetamol, I have discovered another reason why it is advisable not to treat fever below 38.5 degrees celcius with medication. Fever induces lethargy which is good for getting sick children to give their bodies the required rest needed to recover. Whenever his fever was under control, Gareth would zing back into his hyperactive state and resist sleep at all possible costs – hardly helpful in the fight against the infection.
Because of his inability to eat as much as he normally does, Gareth hasn’t been pooping. As a result, he has been unleashing a reign of chemical warfare so toxic that it could kill entire cities. Thankfully, we managed to flush out whatever there was with some prune juice. I’m sure clearing the blockage would have helped alleviate some of the stomach discomfort he has been suffering.
It looks like the worst of it is over (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get away to write this) so lets hope for a bit of a break from the TV tomorrow. That’s another part I hate having to deal with when the kids get sick – I have to break the excessive screen cycle and the expectation that all demands should be met once they get better. There is usually an increase in temper tantrums right after a recovery when Gareth suddenly realises he isn’t allowed all the privileges he received when he was sick, such as the marathon TV sessions, and having every whim attended to.
Oh yes… there is always this misconception that when a child throws up, there goes everything you strived so hard to feed him. It might be hard to believe, but we never throw up our entire stomach contents. There will always be some of it that remain behind – I forget whether it is one third or two thirds that remains. One of my lecturers explained this in Uni when he was teaching us about eating disorders. He explained that the reason why Bulimics may not appear skinny like Anorexic patients is because they can only expel part of the food they binged on while the rest remains to be absorbed by the body. So even if your child throws up, don’t worry, it’s not a wasted effort.