The dreaded flu | bird watching | double chocolate cake | pirate ship | rare family days together
When we returned from Malaysia, one of our neighbours greeted us in the street. I was still in my pyjamas mid-morning, feeling a little tired and sore from the cramped plane seat, but otherwise happy to have slept in my own bed. Mike asked me about our trip and how the baby coped. He stopped talking to cough and sniff and tell me how he and his wife had been sick with the flu for two weeks, missing work and generally feeling awful. I was relieved that we had missed the nasty virus going around our neighbourhood.
Over the course of the next week, we planned Love's first birthday party. Here and there, neighbours dropped in to welcome us home and tell us how sick they had been. Again, I felt relieved that we had chased summer to tropical Borneo and avoided the dreaded sickness that is so common every winter. You can see where I'm going with this...
At her party (which was a raging success and totally worth the week-long preparation; but that's for another post), neighbours arrived, bringing their children and smiles. We laughed and watched on as Love interacted with other small children, feeling pride and disbelief that a whole year had passed by since we welcomed our baby girl. Most guests were healthy or had recently recovered from the flu, except for a handful, who were very obviously still sick.
I scurried about after one particular child, wiping everything he touched, encouraging him to play outside and to wait for me to bring him some watermelon or strawberries. He touched everything in his path, coughing without covering his mouth and could barely talk through rosy, flushed cheeks. Even his little curls seemed to hang flatter against his feverish little head.
Within two days I was on my back, unable to move with a high fever and terrible aches throughout my body. I'm not certain it was the little boy but he did seem to be very sick when we came in contact. I felt sorry for him, with the fresh understanding of how uncomfortable and generally unwell he must have felt but at the same time I wondered why on earth his parents thought it wise to bring him to a first birthday party.
I was fearful of Love catching it, especially following her twelve month vaccinations, which she had the same day my fever spiked.
How she managed to stay healthy for the first week has got me stumped. All I can think is that breastmilk is the nectar of the gods, a miracle potion of sorts and something I don't think scientists will ever properly understand the mechanics of, but I digress. After the first week, Love did fall ill with fevers over 40 degrees (nearly 105 F). We took her to our wonderful doctor and then later the same day to Emergency when her fever wouldn't break with medication and a tepid bath. After several worrisome hours, we drove home with a sleeping baby.
If the first picture could tell a story, this would be it. Love's fevers peaked and waned every few hours for over a week. Her little nose ran constantly and she detested having it dabbed at or wiped. She was so sick that she could barely move and she woke constantly with heart wrenching whimpers. Breastfeeding, constant temperature checks, round the clock care and mama cuddles were all I could offer to comfort my sweet girl as her little body fought the virus. I worried for her and wished I could take her discomfort away as she fell asleep against my chest in the shower. Skin-to-skin. My exhausted little cherub.
I empathise with those families who must go through their own personal hell with seriously ill children and send out silent prayers for their babies to find peace and comfort, health and love with their supportive families by their side.
As Love's health gradually improved, we visited a visiting 'pirate' ship, the replica caravel, Notorious. This was a day spent together as a family, one of those rare days where we could all venture outdoors together with no particular place to be. Those kinds of days are liberating.
Love was captivated by the ropes and darkened timber below deck. I have a few photos to share from that day, which I will try to post soon, once I finish editing some portraits from a recent family session (their preview can be viewed here on our other website).
So the last couple of crummy weeks have turned around with our good health returning, excursions to pirate ships, the unfaltering care from my sweet husband (the superhuman, who avoided the flu altogether and who incidentally baked the most delicious organic double chocolate cake I ever did taste) and finally, the beginning of spring.
Have you managed to avoid illness this winter? What were your remedies whilst you waited out the virus-immunity cycle?
My best tips were rest, hot soup, hot camomile tea, more rest, warm showers, spare boxes of tissues and hand sanitation gel on the bedside table, clean sheets and unmedicated saltwater nasal spray to clear the nasal passage (suitable for breastfeeding mamas). I also took some ibuprofen to manage my fever but you should consult your healthcare professional for any medication advice.
Welcome spring, your longer sunshine and warm afternoon breezes have been missed.