Ride with me on this.
Faith was hospitalized late Monday night because she had very high fever, which only suddenly started that afternoon.
She cried so much, placing a palm on her hot forehead, saying yayay (it hurts) over and over. Ta & I managed to calm her a bit and she fell into a fitfull sleep. At eleven, Faith suddenly sat up, eyes still closed, and vomited on the bed sheets. Ta had told me that she also vomited that afternoon but there wasn’t any fever then so he had thought it was just indigestion.
Yet by that hour Faith’s temperature has spiked to near-burning. Her breathing was coming fast and I could actually feel her tiny heart beating like it wanted to escape from her chest.
Visions of nasty mosquitos, malaria, dengue, african jungles and delirious bodies came and stayed with the fear rising in my heart.
Ta immediately bundled her in a thick blanket and under the star-strewn inky sky we made our way from our mountains to a hospital in the city.
Faith vomited thrice on the way to the hospital.
Ta and I were both fearful. We didn’t want to say anything that could jinx the diagnosis of any physicians. We haven’t experienced anything like this before… stand-in parents that we are. We didn’t talk with each other, just took turns saying comforting things to Faith to distract her from the yayay she was feeling. Just took turns fielding questions from the orderlies, the hospital admitting staff, the nurses (who by the way mistook Faith for a severly malnourished 13-year old), and the pediatrician on duty in the emergency room that night. Just took turns holding Faith down so she could have her blood tested, so she could be injected with antibiotics, so she could be hooked to an IV tube.
The poor kid was already very sleepy, scared, and in pain. How could we convince her that what those people in hospital scrubs were doing were meant to help her get better when she was in pain more than ever because of the way we held her down and because of the needles piercing her skin? Even the scale meant to weigh her was already menacing.
It was already 2 in the morning when we carried Faith to a waiting
cage crib in a small room crammed with other kids who had varying degrees of fever and malaise and their attending family members in various stages and positions of sleep. The room was hot and smelled of sickness. Ta and I were doubtful that this is a place where people get healed. We were banking on the opposite of a hospital’s role in a person’s well-being.
Faith was still crying, but in soft sobs. Every once in a while, she’d cry for her mama, her real one, whom we’ve just informed of Faith’s hospitalization thru SMS. She had just given birth to her new baby three weeks ago so of course she can’t just come to the hospital ASAP. She promised to come that morning, when there was light in the horizon already and after she’d found a caretaker for Faith’s younger brother.
Meanwhile, everything was up to Ta and myself.
Those three days and three nights that we were in the hospital were probably equal to one childbirth and one toilet training stage in the life of a developing parent.
Ta and I couldn’t sleep properly. Faith was such a bundle to watch and besides, there was no room in the hospital for the attendants to feel comfortable. Hospitals should really rework their interior decorations.
Faith was uncomfortable in the hot hospital ward so she cried ever so often. Cried means thrashing her feet and waving her arms and rolling in bed and bawling her lungs out. Pretty good vocalization exercise for a three-year old.
And she may have inherited her mother’s stubborn streak coz when she set her mind that the medicine for her was bad-tasting, she clamped her jaws whenever it was already time to drink her analgesic. No amount of brute force or creative persuasion could make her open her mouth for the drug. I can’t blame her… the medicine, no matter how it was laced with fruit flavors, still tasted like the failed tastebud tickler analgesic(slash)paracetamol that it was.
But we made it through… Faith’s fever subsided. There was no danger of dengue. There was only some slight infection and gastroenteritis, hence the vomiting.
Thursday morning dawned grey and cool. The doctor informed us that Faith could go home. We did… relieved a hundredfold.
She’s fine now, gamboling with her new kittens and puppies she missed during her hospital stay. She is still wary each time I hand her something in liquid form, perhaps thinking that it was laced with that bad-tasting paracetamol.
Yes, we made it through… Ta and I are recovering our sanity as I write.
One moral lesson learned from this roller coaster ride: patience is the virtue