Thursday, September 05, 2013

Picture of health

So guess what I was doing at 3 AM this morning?

Nope, not club-hopping to relive the days of my teenage. Nope, definitely not that. I was down on my knees, cleaning the floors of KK hospital. Before you think I just had a mid-career switch, I have to clarify that I was merely cleaning up after Xena who had thrown up for the tenth time last night. The poor baby has not been well for about a month now, visited by not one, not two, but an assortment of illnesses. First, she had the usual cycle of cough/fever/breathlessness which lasted much longer than usual, followed by the roseaola virus, and then followed by a fall that has sprained her ankle, making her limp, and then she was throwing up most of last night because of a stomach virus. We rushed to the hospital at 11:15 pm, and she was given the first set of rehydration solution which took an hour (it's four doses, 15 minutes apart). She could not keep it down, so they gave her some medicine to stop the vomiting, followed by another set of the rehydration solution. It was really hard to manage a limping, coughing, puking, crying, cranky and sleepy child (as soon as she'd doze off, it would be time for the next dose, so she didn't get any sleep either). I cannot describe how heart-breaking it was to see her like that. We managed to catch most of what she threw up in a plastic container which we always kept at hand, but some still fell on the floor. Of course, the cleaners would get to it as promptly as they could, but we cleaned whatever we could because the hospital was crowded and there were kids walking everywhere.

We were there till 4 am, by when she was not only okay, she was bringing the hospital down with her chirpiness. In fact, when we went in to see the doctor after the final set, she barged into the office, looked at the jar of candy that the doctors give out to their tiny patients, gave the doctor an incredulous look and loudly declared, "SO MUCH CANDY?!" as if that's what the doctors did - sat in their offices all day and all night, merrily chomping on "SO MUCH CANDY" while their patients suffered outside. The doctor smiled and said, "I knew she was fine already. I could hear her chirpy talking from here!" Xena then proceeded to ask for three candies, with a "One for mommy, one for Poppy, one for Xena." The doctor was really amused. So was I. Because she doesn't eat anything. Not even candy.

She's going to be resting at home till Monday, and it's a little sad because she had prepared these teachers' day cards which she was supposed to give out today. Basically, we'd made some pictures using fingerpaint on the outside of the cards. As for the inside, I just gave her a pen and asked her to go nuts and she did. I wrote 'Message from Xena' on top of her 'art' on the left side and on the right side, I wrote 'Translation by Mommy' and sent our heartfelt thanks to each teacher for taking care of her and especially trying to make her eat (she stills eats an average of two spoonfuls at lunch). We added a tiny notebook and a giant animal-shaped paper clip to each of the envelopes, and there, our teachers' day gifts were ready. Well, she couldn't give them in person, but Viv dropped by the school on his way to work to hand them over.

Sometimes I cannot believe how jinxed all my plans relating to her are. Every time her school has an outing that she's looking forward to, she falls sick. Every time there is something exciting about to happen (show and tell at school, friends' birthdays, teachers' day, mothers'/fathers' day celebration, picnic, play dates, etc.), she falls sick. Like clockwork. Even teachers tell me they understand why I don't sign her up for any more school excursions. From the time she joined the school, she has missed every single excursion because she was in the hospital. Sometimes I feel she's in the school less and in the hospital more. And the damned insurance folks wouldn't give her health insurance because she was born a preemie at 32 weeks weighing only 990 grams.

I have thought many times whether she should be in school at all, and every time I conclude with a yes. Her doctor and dietitian certainly think so, and even though it's painfully slow, her eating has improved after she started school. Besides, I can't protect her forever from the germs by means of a house arrest. She needs to experience what's out there and learn to fight it. So we chose this middle ground of half-day play school.

When you're in a hospital in the wee hours of the morning, waiting for something (the queue number to be called, the receptionist to register your child, the nurse to do the preliminary check-up, the doctor to see her, the clock to tick faster so you can finish the last dose and go home if she can keep it in, the pharmacist to finish her calculations, the cab to take you home), your mind wanders. You think about why your child keeps falling sick. Much much more than regular kids. You wonder if there will suddenly come a turning point after which she will stop having to go to the hospital, and if so, how far away that point is. You think about whether you'd EVER be able to go back to a full time job, an office, colleagues, lunch with team mates, and what not. You wonder why her immunity is so low and where the benefits of breast milk went. Were the 16 painful months of pumping breast milk worth it? (In case new readers are wondering, I couldn't nurse her directly as she was taken to the NICU immediately upon birth and spent the first two months of her life there, drinking pumped breast milk through a tube). And then I tell myself, yes, it was worth it. Without it, her immunity could have been even lower. Now when she gets sick, she fights hard. I see it. Maybe she wouldn't have been able to, if I had given up on the breast milk. Maybe she will get stronger eventually. Once she starts eating. And this will pass. Until then, we just gotta be prepared for whatever else is in that bag of illnesses and shrug and say, "Bring it on, yo."

Someone once told me that I wrote too many fun and happy things about her on the blog and on Facebook. That if I stopped blogging and Facebooking about her, she wouldn't fall sick anymore. The whole 'nazar' theory. Evil eye and all that. Well, guess what? Tried that too. Just to see. And she still fell sick. So of course, I am back to blogging and Facebooking about her antics. The happy moments that intermittently but regularly happen between the spells of sickness. I am not going to stop living and sharing these moments.

Much as I try to be positive, motherhood has not been an easy journey so far. And I am not going to hold back on expressing my thoughts, and especially documenting and sharing the fun things related to her growing up. Because every now and then, I go back to read all that and remind myself all over again how these moments of togetherness and happiness far outweigh all the stress, pain and exhaustion that come with being Xena's mommy.


TMaYaD said...

Eating works for normal babies. What Xena needs is more sunlight for photosynthesis.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sayesha,

I don't comment here often but felt like doing so today... just to tell you that you are such an awesome mom! I'm sure Xena's immunity will pick up with time... it's a bummer that she's falling sick so often, but hopefully she's picking up immunity each time too! Lots of love to the little one!

Ranjini said...

I totally understand how you feel about the jinx. My son missed out on all school excursions till the age of 6. Thankfully that phase is gone now. The frequent illnesses could be because of her not eating. Hang in there, things will look up in time. And ya you are doing an awesome job as her cheer up :)

Varsha said...

:) Hang in there, it will pass is all I can say.
You don't know how much I can relate to this, though Vihaan did not fall sick this often.
But pumping of the breast milk, cleaning his white stools (he had jaundice till he was 6 months old). Watching his Yellow face till he turned 6 months. 5 to 6 tonics for everything he missed being a preemie i.e. Vitamins, iron, calcium... and the numerous pricks to his palm for blood testing (I can still see the prick marks). Blood transfusion, a couple of times, since he ran out of blood due to blood tests.
He is fine now being 5.5 years. But yes, myopic from the age of 2.5.

Bit Hawk said...

I have been a long reader of your blog, but somehow never got around to commenting. Not sure why! You are one strong woman and Xena is very lucky to have a brave mommy like you! Three cheers to the bar, and may the jukebox never stops! :)

Butterfly Thoughts said...

Hi Sayesha

I have been reading your blog for 4 years or more now. Have read almost all posts as old as 2006 or 2007. When you posted on your pregnancy days i was really moved.

I am really happy to see Xena grwoing and doing well and becoming a chirpy and bubbly baby.

She is ver lucky to have a mom like you and I am sure she is going to be stronger and all this troubles will definately pay off.

Hats off to you you have been an exceptional mom. I am not sure as I myself get irritated at my 3 year old when she gets cranky or demanding.

Wishing Xena and you more such happy days and moments and memories together.

May god bless her and get wellsoon Baby.

VM said...

hi sayesha....wish you all the good luck and i wish xena recovers well soon

Sri said...

Hi Sayesha

Just the same advice-Please hang in is tough but it will wont even remember the days later...reading about your post reminded me of my pumping family called me a cow then!I used to feed my daughter using a dropper was a slow, slow process.the doc had banned bottle feeding to reduce, my daughter is going to be 4 and the challenges we are facing are completely different now...

All the best and a big hug to you!:)

Shoonya. said...

ahh ... hang in there. Xena will grow out of all the sickness soon. My sister would fall sick very very often as a kid and suddenly it stopped happening. It might take time but it will happen!

Horizon said...

You are an awesome mom and so is baby Xena said...


Anubhuti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anubhuti said...

Hi Sayesha,
my daughter is exactly nine months younger than Xena and trust me when I tell you that I am facing same issue as you since we got her admitted in a day care. there hasnt been a single weekend when we haven't visited the doctor. Hospital has become the weekend getaway for us :). I can totally relate to the stress you feel especially when you see other kids (i know it is wrong to compare but at times you cant help!) and dont even get me started on her food intake!
so take heart in the fact that you arent alone and this too shall paas :)
much love and wishes to Xena!!!

Anonymous said...

aap standing ovation lo!!!
I am a reglar reader here, and now a mommy too. All my good best and bestest wishes to Xena, I am sure its just a matter of time ..and she will be strong and healthy soon....:) You are an awsome mom, needless to say...:) loads and loads of love to little Xena...cheeers

Pen my thoughts said...

Hi Sayesha!I totally get it how it feels!I breastfed my son for 2 years and 8 months!!! But he has all sorts of allergies and stomach bugs and what not! He is always on medicines,nebulisers,doctor visits!as someone wrote,it's a weekend getaway for us too! But you know what, both of us emerge stronger after the storm!I think it's a passing phase.I am sure Xena will be perfectly fine in no time!!

Take care and stay strong!

Jina said...

Ok..I cried..
But right after that I smiled with a sigh of relief. Because I know its going to be alright soon. How?
Like I told you I was a premie too (40 weeks). And I turned out alright. I had my fair share of illnesses when I was a child, but I am hale and hearty as I am marching into my third decade soon.
This too shall pass...Hugs..

Prathima said...

Xena baby....loads of love. Get well soon. This is just unfair.

Alice said...

The poor baby.

And to each his/her own, but you know what? In your case I think the positive of writing about her far far outweighs the nazar(if any). There are so many people out here who know your baby through this blog, know the ups AND downs in her life and yours, cheer you through it and maybe even pray for you all, that I think it's more than enough to overwhelm any bad nazar. It's beautiful how you share your life's moments so willingly and candidly. And I have never been on the other side so can't give you advice or tell you that I understand, but as a blog follower I can just hope you go on and never stop :)


vijayaraghavan said...

I feel tired by just reading the on and off, happy and sad emotions regarding Xena in your blog. You are one tough mom to be undergoing the same in real life. This shall also pass. The finish line is just around the corner. Hang on.

Kanan said...

As you say gotta make a big deal of the fun important stuff. Happy and inspired to see you take the challenges as part of life. I know it's so much easier said than done and have to say you are doing an amazing job! May the buri nazars stay miles away from you guys, if any. Love to baby Xena! And more stamina to you parents. Way to go!!!

parikrama said...

More strength to Super Dottie & Super Mom. Take Care & God Bless.

rt said...

Take care! Every moment is worth it!
She will be fine sooner than you think!
She is awesome and so are you..

Unknown said...

nice post...

Sandhya said...

Hope Xena is feeling better now. Viv and you are awesome parents and Xena is a warrior princess. With your support, she has surely learnt to fight back. God bless her at all times.

Unknown said...

Jaadu ki jhappis to all of you naari. Reading this made me realize how lucky lil M has been.

When I show her A's pics she loves her antics. It was such a nice thought to dothe teacher's day cards. It has been tougher than normal for her and you both. I am sure life has a good reason for it too.

Having those questions is but natural but I admire you for having made a choice and abiding by all related consequences.

So more jaadu ki jhappis and in the words of our mutual love

"Zindagi ki yehi reet hai
Hagar ke baad hi jet hai
Thode aansoon hai thodi hasi
Aaj gham hai toh kal hai khushi"

Arun said...

Kabir: (from the web)

Dheere Dheere Re Mana, Dheere Sub Kutch Hoye
Mali Seenche So Ghara, Ritu Aaye Phal Hoye

Be Slow O mind, Slowly everything happens
Gardner may water garden a hundred times, When the Season comes, there is fruit

Sayesha said...

Dear bewdas,
I started out replying to each comment and realised that I was writing the same Thank You message to everyone. Figured I might as well write a single detailed one. Xena is now doing much better *touchwood*. Thanks for all your good wishes for her and your encouraging words for me. This too, shall pass. After all, life is never so bad that it can't get worse. :)

Stupidosaur said...

Don't ever stop writing about the fun times on blog and Facebook. If someone says it brings the 'nazar' (hands a rolled-up newspaper) you know what to do!

I think if she starts eating well, immune system will get better, no? How can immune system work without nutrients? Immune system isn't some one time permanent think that remains for lifetime if breastmilk was fed. It needs constant maintenance.

Of course I am not doctor, but I see a strong hope of reaching a 'turning point' like you mentioned. It should likely be around the time she starts eating like regular babies, or maybe even some more to compensate for the time lost.

How do we know said...

on days like this, i am soooo glad for ur strength dear mommy, and also, remember, this, too, shall pass. heres sending u a hug. will pray for u when i go to sikkim next.

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