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Wallet and Grommets

What a week. Sheesh. I’ve been having a really rough time.

Firstly my car went in for a service. The service was the standard R1200, but my CO2 reader on my exhaust was broken or something (R1800) and my brakes and disks needed to be replaced (R1000). R4000. Gone. Just like that. They wanted to charge me an additional R650 to repair my indicator which was shot, but I came across proof in one of my files that I had reported the fault within 30 days of purchasing the vehicle, which forced them to do it free of charge. Sharks. My car is running well again, so at least it’s sorted now.

Last weekend Babyice started to become niggly and was crying for seemingly no reason. I was still sick as a dog and not loving this business. I had only been booked off till last weekend, but I had to work the weekend since there was nobody to stand in for me. I went to work on Monday with the intention of going back to the doctor on Tuesday. While at work I received a call from Babyice’s day mother. She said he had a fever, seemed to be in pain when he coughed and was generally “pap” (weak/inactive). She gave him something for his fever. I called Rudi and immediately made an appointment for Babyice with my GP. He left work (since he had the car) and went to fetch Babyice for his appointment. The GP was very unhappy with the way Babyice’s lungs sounded and ordered a x-ray to check for pneumonia. He diagnosed that Babyice didn’t have pneumonia, but prescribed antibiotics and requested that Babyice come back at 17:45 the evening to check if his chest becomes worse at night.

Since Babyice was going back to the doctor anyway, I decided to book my appointment at the same time. It hurt to breathe again and I was feeling very bad. After work we went to my grandparents house since it was my aunt’s 40th birthday and we wanted to wish her and see my grandfather. While we were there we took Babyice’s temperature. He was running a fever of 39.3 degrees. Luckily I had grabbed some suppositories that @cazpi had given me and administered one. By the time we got to the doctor (about 30 minutes later), his fever had come down. The GP said he sounded better, but he still was not happy with how his lungs were sounding. The doctor asked if I was comfortable taking him home or if I wanted to have him evaluated for admission to hospital. I was not comfortable with the fevers he was running and said I would feel better if we went to hospital. The GP called the pediatrician at the hospital and we went straight there.

The pediatrician is the partner of our usual pediatrician as he was on standby for the evening. He saw Babyice and decided it better he be booked into hospital. He had a look at Babyice’s ears and noticed that there was considerable wax build up in his left ear and that it seemed to be quite infected. We proceeded to admit Babyice into hospital on Monday night.

Babyice was nebulized in hospital and given physio. His chest immediately started to improve. The ENT saw him on Tuesday early afternoon, cleaned out his ear and checked the infection. He mentioned that Babyice might need grommets if the infection does not respond to the antibiotics that he was receiving for his chest. He said there was a lot of puss built up behind the ear drum and that he was probably in quite a bit of pain.

On Tuesday late afternoon Babyice started refusing to eat, drink or sleep. I could not sit down with him. Every time I would sit down he would start crying. We had a terrible day. My arms, leg and back were aching from carrying him up and down the ward all day. That evening he finally got to sleep, but woke up an hour later screaming. Nothing I did calmed him down. Eventually the nurses took him from me and called the doctor. He authorized them to give him pain medication. As soon as Babyice saw me he started screaming all over again. The nurses sent me away and said they would take care of him for the night as I seemed to upset him. I was already exhausted. I had been carrying him around all day, the previous night I’d “slept” on the single pull out couch provided. When you fold the couch out you can see how it is constructed. It’s basically a wooden crate with a thin layer of material covering it. Uncomfortable much? I tried to get some sleep on the crate, but constantly got up to check on Babyice. He refused his feed again and was kept nil per mouth as per the doctor’s instructions. He drank 60ml of black tea at around 4am. His first food or drink in 12 hours.

On Wednesday morning the pediatrician came to see him. He explained to me that it would be best to go ahead and put grommets in Babyice’s ears. He said he had seen worse infections, but that some children would not eat or drink until the grommets are put in and Babyice seemed to be one of them. They took him into theatre just before 12. At this point I had already received a lot of feedback on Twitter. An overwhelming number of people said that their children had grommets and that it made a huge difference. This set my mind at ease and I was relieved that everything was happening so fast, instead of having to be booked back into hospital and going for more doctors appoinments that I can’t afford.

I walked into theatre with him and held him while they put him to sleep. He didn’t fight it much (he was probably very exhausted already) and I was sent to the waiting room close to the theatres. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down. I hadn’t even finished half a cup when I saw the ENT waving me down. They had already finished and I could take him back to the ward. I asked whether I could feed him as he was probably starving already and they consented. As soon as we got back to the ward I gave Babyice a bottle and he drank it with gusto. He then went to sleep. Immediate improvement! After the grommets were put in he started improving in leaps and bounds. He started eating again, going down for naps and even playing. He still wanted to be held a lot, but didn’t scream like he was before. We had quite a good night on Wednesday night and the pediatrician decided Babyice was ready for release on Thursday morning.

Finally. I didn’t know if I could spend one more night sleeping on that crate. The cots in hospital are also so stupidly designed. The sides of the cots are not height adjustable and when they are up you can’t reach over them to touch baby or give him his dummy. They are also very heavy and make a noise when you are putting them up or letting them down which wakes baby up every time. My MIL picked us up from hospital. We went to her house where she watched Babyice while I had a nap. Bless her. I needed some rest.

When we went to see the pediatrician on Monday he noticed that I was also not well. He took more note than my bloody GP did when I went to see him. On Tuesday morning he wrote me a prescription for meds to nebulize with as well as another antibiotic. Thanks to him I am feeling a lot better. It doesn’t hurt to breathe anymore and my cough has cleared up considerably. Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and later had a sore tongue too, but that is a bit better today. I just hope I can finally kick all these bugs out of my life. I can’t be sick anymore. It is K-I-L-L-I-N-G me. Needless to say I’m changing pediatricians. Our usual pediatrician came into the ward, acknowledged that he knew us, but showed no interest in why we were there. He barely greeted. His bum. I’m not forking over any more of my hard earned money to someone who doesn’t give a damn.

We have purchased a nebulizer and snot sucking vacuum attachment. We are treating Babyice at home now, nebulizing him and giving him some physio. He seems to be getting better, so we’re happy. I was dreading being home alone with Babyice on Friday since he had been extremely niggly and difficult to manage in hospital. My entire body was aching from insufficient/uncomfortable sleep and pacing the corridors with a heavy baby in my arms. Friday went *much* better than expected though. Babyice didn’t give me a hard time at all! The snot sucking attachment that we bought for the vacuum cleaner (recommended by the pediatrician) is AWESOME. You will not believe how much we’ve managed to get out of Babyice already. All this snot would have either gone down to his chest or into his tummy. It isn’t dangerous at all. We have a 1600 KW vacuum cleaner and the suction is not too strong. The attachment catches the mucus sucked out, so none of it actually goes into the vacuum cleaner. You then just rinse out the attachment and you can sterilize it in boiling water.

On Thursday evening I received a call from my grandmother. She needed Rudi’s help since my grandfather was going back into hospital. Rudi had to come and push one of the wheelchairs since both her and my grandfather needed one. My grandfather had gotten weak again and was unable to eat or drink. He had too much pain and my grandmother just wasn’t managing at home with him. I went to visit him in hospital yesterday afternoon. He is looking okay, but he is still very depressed and not improving as much as he usually does when admitted to hospital. As much as I love my grandfather and as much as I want him around, I don’t want him to suffer. He doesn’t want to be alive anymore and I can’t say that I blame him. In his eyes his existence has become a burden and he experiences hell every day with his symptoms. He can’t really do anything for himself anymore and he just has no quality of life. Even when he was healthy he used to say that he does not want to live if he can’t live his life to the fullest. I still think he has quite a long road ahead of him, but only time will tell.

So with all these doctor’s bills and my car I am completely flat broke. Thankfully I got a bonus this month at work, but I literally have not seen any of it. It has all been spent on hospitals, doctors, medicine, medical equipment (nebulizer and snot sucker) and my car. Very depressing, althought it would have been much more depressing if I had to make debt to afford all these things.

Things can only get better now, right?