“mum…I don’t feel well” this sentence instantly fills me with dread and admittedly a whole sequence of over reaction as I try to put on a brave face and keep it together. Caring for children when they catch the local bug doing the rounds, the flu, chickenpox or any other one of the many ailments that fly their way – is no fun! As a parent you want to guard them instinctively from any pain or sickness, we feel it’s our duty!
Whenever these words are heard in our house or we suspect one of our children is coming down with something this is what we do. Usually they will start acting out of character or be a bit more grizzly than usual. First off we do a visual check, a once over to make sure there is nothing alarming or strange going on, making sure there is no redness, rashes, sores, missing limbs etc. Once this is completed we check temperatures and throats. If we are in doubt we always get it checked out! As much as I like to think I have the knowledge of a doctor (with the help of Google & my ipad) the truth is I don’t! Even if it turns out to be minor, which thankfully most of the time it is, then as parents we have peace of mind. We will be able to sleep at night, knowing we have been to see a medical professional or two. The one time we decided to let it run it’s course, our little one ended up in hospital with pneumonia. I can tell you my heart broke into a thousand pieces that day as the guilt set in and the question replayed over and over in my mind “why didn’t we get to the doctor sooner?”. We have learnt, albeit the hard way not to hesitate in seeking medical attention.
Once we know what we are dealing with, we bunker down and get ready to ride the storm that will ensue. Being prepared with ample supplies of tissues, pain relief, ointments, prescribed medicines and anything else that will bring comfort and aid recovery during this time. Magazines, chocolate and ice blocks..oooh wait those are for me as I become a nurse and work the wards. (Well that’s what it feels like I’m doing!) Extra washing always seems to pile up during this time as more often than not sheets and bedding need to be cleaned. Cooking and dishes also take a hit at this time as one of us tends to the patient. This is where your partner can be really helpful. This presents a golden opportunity for partners to step up and help out a little more where they can. It makes the situation so much easier to cope with if you have a “we’re all in this together” approach. It is draining and exhausting and more than likely the whole family will get sick at some stage, but if you work as a team it makes everything less agonising.
Movies are encouraged in our house during this time, as it seems to distract our children long enough for them to take their medicine or have something to eat or drink. It also cheers them up – even if just for a little while. At such a gloomy time it’s nice to see them smile, and to know they will be back to their normal (hell-raising) selves in no time. We keep this routine up for about two – three days depending on how they are going. If our child’s appetite returns and is strong then we know we are on the home stretch. Being stuck inside can bring on a bit of cabin fever for all involved, so if at all possible getting outdoors for a bit of a walk or stroll in the fresh air works wonders!
It’s a bit of a negotiation with organising time off work and requires good communication between you and your partner, but the situation must be handled even though it can be straining. It’s all about knowing how to adapt&survive this parenting world. Having a sick child affects the whole family and disrupts the routine but knowing what you are in for and being prepared makes the experience slightly tolerable. It’s just one of those things that can’t be avoided no matter how much cotton wool we wish to wrap our children in!
How does your family adapt&survive to get through when your little one is ill? Have any advice for your fellow parents? Sharing is caring, be sure to let us know!