Sunday, August 23, 2009

Never-again transition from 9- to 10-month-old

I've had less than rigorous updating of this blog as the past few days has been a hectic blur...

We came back from our Zhengzhou trip (more pix and details soon enough) on Thursday night (Wayne was due back on Monday), and everything was a-ok on Friday in the day time - the nanny and I even brought Rosabelle to Carrefour after her afternoon nap, and when I took her down for her evening walk after, I found that she was quite warm and whiney when I carried her. Thinking it was a low-grade fever developing, I brought her on back and measured a 37.9 temperature, going up to a high of 38.9 after her bath and dinner, so I quickly started her on a dose of paracetemol after consulting with my brother-in-law. That knocked her out early before 9 pm, and we let her sleep on the big bed with me since it was more airy, and so that I could monitor her closely.

What followed during the night was really bad - we had to do a cold towel on her (soaking cloth nappies in tepid water and wrapping her in it and putting towels around her neck) - she obviously cried from the cold, and I had to hug her to keep her crying from worsening. It was very painful for me to hear her go 'Mama, mama!' and reach her small hands out to me, she even slightly quivered the first time as her warm body touched the cold towel, and we had to keep telling her throughout the five minutes that we were doing this for her own good.

The nanny and I took turns to apply cold towels to her neck as she slept, as her temperature rose to 39.2, and we had to carry her up from her sleep to keep to her regular 6-hour dose of paracetemol. The fever only went down slightly after the medicines, but would slowly creep up again. We fed her the medicine and her water as she slept, and she at times resisted us putting things into her mouth, but very soon cooperated by drinking the water and medicine as soon as she woke up - what a sensible child.

I was very tempted to bring her to the emergency department of the local children's hospital, and enquired with the hotline at 6am that it was usual for them to receive babies even with a mere 38.0. I had prepared the bag the night before, to be on-standby for the worst, and called home in Singapore to get a second opinion of my brother-in-law: he advised me to just keep giving her the medicine and cold towel if need to, as China's hospitals just give injections and put children on drips, which is unnecessary. So it was a blessing in disguise that (1) Wayne wasn't around to drive us to the hospital - though I admit it was tough not having him around as I had to make the call on poor Rosabelle's condition, and the nanny was so 'heart pain' that she cried whilst carrying her as the poor girl went 'oooh, ooooh' in her sleep from the discomfort, and (2) that I did not manage to book a cab at 6 am in the morning.

Wayne booked himself on an express train home on Saturday, forfeiting his plane ticket back on Monday night. During the day on Saturday, we had to do another cold towel treatment and her temperature rose to the highest ever of 39.8. However, whenever she was awake, her spirits were up, and she would play/smile normally, wanting to go out of the house (pointing to her stroller and the door), though we could see she was too weak to crawl/stand around much, wanting to crawl to me to carry her all the time. She was basically queen for the day, with us giving in to everything she wanted, having access to never-before items like my pen, the Drapolene cream (just short of giving her our slippers that she always wants to touch!)...

She also obviously did not have too much of an appetite, though I'm glad she still wanted me to nurse her. The nanny made barley water for her, which she enjoyed drinking, and could still enjoy her favourite grapes, finishing off 20 of them at a go.

Surprisingly, from Sunday, her temperatures went down and remained quite stable, and I even had to stop giving her the medicine after the last dose at night as I recorded temperatures of less than 36.0 in the wee hours of Monday.

So, today, we were actually quite glad that her temparatures are pretty much back to normal that I even took her out for a morning walk, but got quite worried that she was coughing slightly during her afternoon nap, not eating much of solid foods (wanted only watermelon juice, and not chewing on the fruit itself, and taking only 3 spoonfuls of her bowtie pasta lunch). I was afraid that she had developed a throat infection as these are symptoms of a painful throat that makes her hate swallowing. So we finally made the call to go to Amcare for a consultation this afternoon.

The paediatrician heard some heart murmurs, though she thinks it could be due to her sickness, but this is something we need to monitor closely as even though the last few check-ups did not show anything, the last check-up in KKH in Singapore also found the same problem.

Rosabelle's left side of the throat was reddish, and it was deduced as upper respiratory tract infection, and the doctor asked if any other of us have developed any sickness as we had just gotten back from the trip and thus exposed to alot of congested areas. Well, the nanny and I both have a sore throat (and I also have a runny nose), but we just dismissed it as something we both got due to the lack of sleep and worry about Rosabelle's condition. The doctor advised us that Rosabelle should go get checked for H1N1 (!!!!), but said that if her temperature does not rise over another day, it should be ok. She then prescribed some Western and Chinese medicine for the throat, but I'm quite hesitant to give them to her, as I'd rather she get well on her own terms, and with us giving her cooling foods, rather than something as unatural as medicine...so...let's see how she is tonight before we decide if she needs to be pumped with the medicine.

They also did a blood test on her - the brave girl did not shed any tear at all during the prick and drawing of blood, making all the nurses and assistants comment how brave/obedient she is. She is found to be anaemic (!!!!), with low white blood count levels in three areas! The doctor asked if she was weaning well, and if she was exposed to a variety of meats, livers, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. I'm surprised she is deemed as slighly malnourished, as we make sure she has the best mix of foods every day...hmmm...Vanessa said our variety could be the problem as items like red dates/gouqi/Chinese yam root etc should not be eaten on its own, but made as soups to drink...Anyway, the doctor also mentioned anaemic children have a loss of appetite (but I still think this is caused by her sickness than anything else as she eats pretty well every day prior).

So, the past few days has been really mad for me, both physically and emotionally. I'm glad I have the nanny and Wayne around, and my family in Singapore have been giving me alot of remote advice and concern as they are also worried and praying hard for Rosabelle. The nanny and I have also cried either individually or together, as we feed poor Rosabelle her water and see that her reddish lips are slightly cracked from the intense body heat, and see her helpless cries as we do the cold towel treatment on her. We also take courage and strength from Rosabelle, as she has been most obedient, sitting quietly as we placed the towels around her neck, eating her medicine well when she's awake, drinking alot of water whenever we ask her to, not moving her head whenever I take her ear temperature - it's like as if she knows we are helping her to be better and being most cooperative. And the only 'fortunate' thing coming out of all these is that she did not take ill during the Zhengzhou trip, and will hopefully be well enough before our Singapore trip (also, more on that later!).

The nanny and I shed tears of joy today when Rosabelle took the ear thermometer, the wrong way up, and placed it against her cheek, onto her ear, as if wanting to take her own temperature. We can laugh now, but I never will want to go through this again - Wayne tells me all kids will go through sickness, and I remember crying when I saw Marianne whimper at the cold towel application when she was sick - but I would rather all the suffering and high fever befall me than to have poor Rosabelle go through this. Even an adult experiencing a fever of 39.8 would be weak and uncomfortable, much less our 10-month-old.

Happy 10 months old, our brave Rosie Rose, hope your vigour and appetite will return with a vengeance after this horrible period!

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