Yesterday turned out to be one of the most anxiety ridden, crazy day of my life. The GP left for his first overnight business trip since we got here, the night before. I stayed up really late, and went to bed, only when I just could not keep my eyelids apart,because that was the only way to ensure a good night's sleep, without frights and scares and ofcourse the dollops of self pity which comes easy. The morning, that followed, I did not even attempt to wake up, till the BB was up and all ready to go about his day.
This weekend was a long one, since Monday was a holiday, but there went my day of fun, with the GP gone. So halfheartedly I started off my day by serving the BB his breakfast, and told him to eat it, while I went about me day's work, expecting nothing more than some evening loneliness, and boredom. Obviously I did not know better. The BB did not have his breakfast, and since I told him he could not get off the dining chair till he had that single slice of bread, he decided to curl up on the seat and just lay there instead. Follow that up with me burning my wrist on the inner side, trying to clean my gas stove, not a big deal in itself, but its just that the location of the injury was a first timer. And this was the smallest thing to happen in the day.
I am very scared of flights, and I mean really really scared. For me taking a flight, whether myself or any of my loved ones, basically means a fifty-fifty chance of making it out alive. Blame it on the GP who made me watch a million episodes of Air Crash Investigations, instilling in me a lifelong fear of flying. And hence it is a firm rule, that the GP must inform me, as soon as he lands each time he takes a flight. Well, what do you think happened yesterday? His phones did not work when he landed, the international roaming did not kick in on either of his phones, he was in a rush to get to a conference with his colleague, and could not make a short stop call either, and I was freaking out beyond imagination. I left him text messages, kept trying his numbers, and eventually ended up even leaving him a mail. All this while the BB still did not have his breakfast and remained curled up on the chair. I finally take things into my own hands, and start feeding him, and he promptly pukes it all out. My mind is still busy wondering about the GP, and so I pick up the BB who seemed bored and tiered by then, make him drink some water, and put him down for a pre-lunch nap. I went back into the kitchen, and tried to cook lunch, but I was just too worried about the GP to concentrate. Somehow I manage to whip up something edible for lunch, bring the BB down for his lunch, he simply refuses to eat, so I leave him alone, and let him nap some more. Have my own lunch, get back to the laptop, and see a two liner from the GP telling me he is safe and sound, and just cannot call me. Though not happy, at the least I was off my worries on that front.
With the dipping mercury in the climate, a post lunch nap feels like a lovely option, with the BB wanting to nap, I just curl up next to him, under the cosy quilt and go off to la la land. We wake up, and I finally get some food into the BB, his first bits of the day. He seemed lazy and lethargic, but I blamed that all on his being without food since morning. He felt a bit warm, and I thought that was about being under the quilt most of the day. But at half past seven, a while after his meal, the BB's lethargy, did not quite leave me comfortable, so I thought I will check his temperature to calm my fears. Well, who knew, calm was the last thing I would be for the day. The thermometer in no time jumped to over a 102, and I was at my wit's end. I immediately called up a friend, who took us to the doctor in his car. The clinic was closing down for the day, and I had to beg them to have a look at the BB, and fortunately they did. The doctor checked up the BB a bit and simply asked me to give him some paracetamol, and get him back to the clinic in the morning if the fever did not go away. And I thought, my job was just to monitor his temperature through the night, and giving him regular doses of paracetamol. Apparently not.
A couple of hours after I administered the first dose of the medicine, the BB's temperature shot up again. I could not administer another dose for another hour and half atleast. The doctor had suggested sponging him with cool water to keep the temperature down, and I would have done that, had the BB not been shivering by then. It was close to midnight by then, and I was nonplussed about what to do next. I called up my friends again, and we decided to take him to the Royal Children's Hospital. We got there at midnight. The nurses, took down his details, I registered at the reception, and were told to wait, till his name was called out. Good enough, I thought, after all, how long could it possibly take in the Emergency Room of such a huge hospital. What did I know. It was way past 1, and not a single child had been called in. This was not looking good any longer. I asked the nurses again, requested them to check the BB's temperature, and it was a good 104 degrees, and he was sleeping peacefully in my arms. The nurse advised no medicine as long as he was comfortable. I waited. At close to two, I could not wait anymore, I asked, just how long would it take for a doctor to have a look at the BB. Apparently there were six other people waiting ahead of me, and the wait period was expected to be close to four hours, which the nurse exclaimed was a good thing, since in the day it is usually over six hours. What the hell does EMERGENCY mean, I wondered. My friends had office the next day morning, and looking at the way things were going, it just did not seem to make sense to wait anymore, so I decided to leave. Apparently a child with a head injury, had left just before we arrived after a long wait too. I am appalled at the state of health care here, and that is the least I can say post that horrifying experience. A little girl was howling in pain, falling asleep, and waking up howling in pain yet again, with absolutely no doctor to attend to her, nor a nurse or staff member who expressed even a hint of caring. When I spoke to the nurse and told her the BB had a temperature of over 103, she just coolly kept chewing her gum, and replied bluntly that she did not know what that meant. The reason, I am guessing, is that they use the Celsius scale. But her attitude, well, it was just amazing, and if you thought chewing a gum meant the nurse was a young girl, you are wrong, because she was atleast a good forty years old. I just came back home completely disgusted with the system, and lack of care and organisation, in a supposedly developed nation. If you cannot provide prompt health care services, in your hospitals' emergency rooms, I don't think the country has any right to call itself developed. It was scary enough with a burning up BB, in a new place without the GP, but the last thing I had expected was to come back from a hospital after waiting for over two hours, without a doctor even looking at my sick child.
Back home, I kept monitoring the temperature. As per the instructions of the nurses at the hospital, and the information sheet they gave me on children's fevers, I held back the medicine, for as long as I could. I was up till my eyes started to shut down of their own accord, and finally at 4am, I decided I needed to get rest, since I could not afford to fall off exhausted myself. The temperature was hovering around 102, and so I gave him a dose of the medicine, and then I prayed. Infact I called on God, as though He was my own father, and told Him, He had to, simply had to look after the BB while I get some sleep, and that the BB was His responsibility while I slept. At 5am, I woke up. The BB was sweating heavily, and his fever was gone. His clothes were damp with his perspiration, and his hair wet. I changed him, and slept again. I checked his temperature next at 9am, and it was hovering around 99. And that is the way it has been all day long today, hovering around 99. But the big deal is, that he has been happy and active all day, and most importantly has been eating a bit. Till the fever crosses, a 100, I don't give him any meds, so for all practical purposes, he is just fine. So I can thank the great Lord, for truly taking care of my son, when I actually handed over his care to Him. Breathing easier today, but checking on the BB's temperature every hour, who has suddenly started finding it very amusing and wants to be checked every five minutes instead.
I can only express my gratitude to God for making the fever go away, and hope that the BB is completely fine, before the GP gets back. And that is how my life goes, and makes me wonder if I will ever get back to working again, what would I do, when the BB falls ill, times when I completely lose my mind, and cannot think of being away from him even momentarily!