The past week has been strenuous, to say the least. But being a parent means having the ability to be flexible and to always place the needs of your child above all else. It also means having the ability to somehow forget all feelings of fatigue and tiredness and instead, churn out a miraculous source of energy, just so your child can have anything he or she needs.
We were in KL for 2 days last week to visit my MIL, who had just had a surgery. Hannah was already slightly coughing when we traveled there, and during those 2 days, her cough had worsened. In fact, she had thrown up on two occasions due to forceful coughing; and when we returned to Penang on Thursday night, she was running a high fever of 38.5ºC. Paracetamol only brought the temperature down temporarily, and the following morning, we knew we had to bring her in to the doctor’s.
The doctor diagnosed Hannah has having acute bronchiolitis, which was more severe than the last time when she had bronchitis. This time, the wheezing was more pronounced and we could tell that our poor little sweetheart was breathless. Because Hannah would need the nebulizer treatment more regularly and also throughout the night, doctor advised us to admit her in hospital, which meant I would need to stay with her too.
We then took Hannah for a chest x-ray, which the doctor had ordered. And when the results came in, there was a slight indication of pneumonia in her right lung. Since we were going to be warded, the doctor prescribed an intravenous antibiotic which would be administered to Hannah via the branula IV tube (i.e. a plastic tube inserted intravenously) 3 times a day. This was a stronger antibiotic than its oral counterpart and would possibly not cause diarrhoea. At the same time, the doc said she would be taking a blood sample from Hannah.
I was ushered out of the treatment room while the doctor and nurse administered the branula IV on Hannah, presumably because it would cause the mother of the child some distress. In any case, I had to settle the hospital admissions procedure at that time too. (Pete had to leave the hospital then to fetch Ethan from school)
When I came back to get Hannah, the nurse was carrying her and I was told that Hannah did not shed a single tear throughout the entire procedure! Amazing!
Here’s what it looks like:
…and then later on in the evening, after she threw up and I had to change her:
See what a champion my brave little darling is?
The antibiotics was given intravenously using a syringe which is inserted into the tubing intravenously into Hannah’s hand. This was administered three times a day, and can also be given when she is asleep.
Throughout that first night, Hannah’s fever fluctuated, and she could barely keep her milk down. I only breastfed her a little bit at a time, and I was very wary whenever she started coughing. Still, nothing could be done to stop her from throwing up then and again, and we had to go through several changes of clothing. I remember once I had to call the nurses to take her temperature again because even after a dose of paracetamol, I could feel her body still warm. My instincts were right. Her fever had shot up to 38.8°C and they had to give her a dose of Nurofen (a different type of fever medication) to bring the fever down. Good thing the Nurofen had a sweet orangey taste.
The next morning, doc said her throat looked slightly red, and that could possibly have caused her throwing up. Her lungs were still congested with phlegm; so in conclusion, we’d still have to stay in the hospital one more night.
Some *activities* we indulged in in the hospital:
…and sometimes when Hannah was bored *playing* on the bed, I had to take her for walks along the corridor.
By and by, I learnt the routines employed by the hospital. Medicine was administered to the patients at 8:00a.m., 3:00p.m. and 10:00p.m. every day. Breakfast was served at about 8:00a.m., with a cup of soy milk given at around 10:00a.m. Lunch was between 12:00 – 12:30p.m. and tea time at 3:30p.m. Dinner was served at about 6:00p.m. and we were given a cup of warm Milo at about 8:30p.m. Doctor visits were twice a day, at about 9:00a.m. in the morning, but the evening visit times were not fixed. I learnt which were the *nice* nurses and which were the *not-so-nice* ones.
And while Hannah was recuperating and getting well in the hospital, Ethan was in good hands under the care of his Daddy. Of course his Daddy would have to content with his unending questions like, “Why do the girls have to sleep in the hospital?”, “Why do we go to the hospital?”
On Saturday afternoon, the second day we were in the hospital, I noticed the bandages on Hannah’s bandaged hand was slightly loose, so I asked the nurse to readjust it. But just as I was waiting for the nurse to come to the treatment room, Hannah yanked the whole bandage, and everything with it, off!
I tell you, I very nearly had a heart attack when I saw that happen!
This meant that she would need to have the branula IV reinserted.
And that evening, after the doctor had finished seeing all his patients, the nurse carried Hannah to the treatment room yet AGAIN. I took the opportunity to wash up while I waited. And within a few minutes, the nurse returned, telling me that Hannah did not cry one bit.
Here she is, with her newly-bandaged hand. This time, the branula was inserted into her right hand, as opposed to the left hand the first time around:
I prayed and prayed that Hannah would recover really quickly and the next morning, my girl woke up feeling much better. She had a smile on her face, and giggled when I sang to her.
It was clear that she missed home a lot, and that she missed her big brother too. Ethan loves to fiddle with the remote in the hospital, and would busy himself with it every time he came to visit. He was the perfect big brother, bringing Hannah little gifts from home, like a McDonald Happy Meal toy, one of her cot toys from home, and an ABC book.
Hannah and I stayed in the hospital for THREE nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Every minute was a minute closer to recovery for our little Hannah. She was really the *darling* of the pediatric ward. Nurses called her the “breastfeeding baby”, her pediatrician called her a “model patient”, and she won the hearts of many with her adorable smiles, and her courage to remain calm and composed through the branula IV procedure, and her sporadic words like, “Mommy!”, “Baybeee!” and “Mamak!”.
On Monday morning, when the doctor came to check Hannah, I requested for permission to be discharged. Since her fever had diminished, and her lungs had cleared up a whole lot, the doctor agreed to let us go home. Ordinarily, we would need to stay for 2 more nights to ensure the antibiotic course via IV was completed, but since we were going home earlier, Hannah would need to come in to the hospital at the appointed times for her remaining 5 shots.
That meant we needed to take extra precaution with her bandaged arm whilst at home…because in the event the branula IV was removed, we would need to bring Hannah to the hospital to have it reinserted.
Thankfully, after going home and revisiting the hospital 5 times after that to get the antobiotic jab (and also nebulizer treatment), the nurse removed the branula IV tube and bandages. Hannah is currently on a 5-day oral antibiotic course according to doc’s orders and is recovering really really well.