So where have I been for the past week? I have been locked in a war with both my children against gastric flu at the same time. I want to share my experience with you as it opened my eyes to three interesting things.
1. How very differently my children handle vomiting.
Jack, when he is about to be sick gets quite panicky and fearful of the imminent onslaught of nausea, sick, burning throat etc. He stands there at the loo and stomps his feet and wails at me to make it stop before it comes. Once it’s over, there is a bit of a lament of how dreadfully sick he is but his recovery is fairly quick from there on and it’s back to sleep but in Mum and Dad’s bed. The drama is slightly more elevated and drawn out of he is sick in his bed and on himself but his clean-up to be brief. Lucy on the other hand is not fearful at all but rather keen to get the business over and done with as quickly as possible. If I manage to get her to the bathroom before she is sick then into the loo the sick goes, a quick wipe of the mouth and a sip of water and it’s back to sleep. Not so much as a moan through the whole episode. Different story if she is sick in her bed and on herself. She is visibly horrified at the presence of sick in her mouth, hair, bed, clothes etc. There is nothing for it but a hot bath, wash hair, change clothes, dry hair. It’s quite a slog at 2am in the morning but she stops crying as soon as she sees the bath running. She just wants to get properly clean and comfortable again. A bath for Jack in this situation would be completely out of the question, even running a face cloth over his face is problematic. A fundamental difference between boys and girls or just a personality trait?
2. Tab and Sugar mixture is better than anything.
A table-spoon of sugar to one litre of Tab. The sugar takes the fizz out of the Tab which is a better alternative to Coke as it is caffeine free but flat Coke is the next best thing. If they manage to keep it down then the sugar offers some energy but if they do sick it up, it is the easiest thing in the world to vomit. There is no acid burning or awful aftertaste and a sip of it after being sick is very soothing.
3. How easy it is to ignore your instincts amongst the maelstrom of doctors, medicines and remedies.
When you are faced with a disaster like this you want to win the fight and quickly. It’s awful for the kids and it really takes its toll on you too. My first visit to the GP I made it clear that I wanted this problem solved now so I was not interested in half measures, “let’s nip this in the bud now!” My house was turned into a mini chemist and I was administering medicines and remedies left right and centre. When they didn’t work I persisted, hoping for a result. I coaxed, bribed and got the medicine down and still nothing. With hindsight, I would have told myself to be calm, stop throwing medicine down little throats that just bring it up half an hour later. Focus on keeping the children comfortable, cosy and hydrated with the Tab mixture. Offering bland, easily digestible foods on an all-day platter for them to take as they wish would have been better than fretting about them eating something so that there tummies had something in them to ease the dose of medicine I was so persistent with. In the end, on the fifth day, it took at VERY expensive visit to the pediatrician to tell me that my kids would be fine, they did not need to be hospitalised and neither did I. Stop all the medicine, continue with my method of hydration and within 2 or 3 days we would be out of the woods. The thing is, just as we were getting ready to go to the pediatrician, I thought to myself, “I’m, sure I just need to stop all this crap and just ride this one out with them.” Turns out that, that is exactly what I was told to do. Could have saved myself a whole lot of hassle and stress and money if I had just trusted myself a little more a little earlier on. Lesson learned. Most of the time, YOU are the best person to know what is best for YOUR children and that even though you have never been in this situation before, you are still the best person to handle it.