Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sick Child

It's the fearful, terrible side of parenthood. It's hurtful, and horrible, and intense beyond words.

Genghis is sick.

There's all kinds of colds and infections sweeping through this part of the world right now. Everyone I come across is coughing and sniffling. All three kids are down. I'm on my way back up, though there's a lingering sinus infection giving me some grief.

But little Genghis... with his overactive immune system, his tendency to asthma; this stuff hits him hard. It has done so since he was just a baby. I remember a horrible, high-speed drive at four o'clock one morning, so I could pick up some prednisolone from the hospital at Natalie's order so that six month old Genghis could get some relief from croop -- that hideous, barking, knife-painful cough.

Sick adults are part of life. But sick children are unbearable, at least for me.

This time round, Genghis is running a fever - night and day, which is bad, because these things spike at night, and he's already hot. His face is pale, except for the bright pink-red spots on his cheeks. His eyes are dull. He's coherent, and he's not terribly unhappy, but when he coughs... oh, shit.

And he coughs in bouts all night long.

It sounds like croop. Nat says that it's not technically croop, since it's also associated with buckets of mucous, whereas croop is a dry cough. But it sounds like croop, and it hurts him the same way: that sharp, searing, cutting pain in the throat that makes you think you've swallowed a knife. But because of all the mucous and phlegm, he can't stop. He coughs, and coughs, and gags, and coughs some more, and we check the clock and figure out which medication he can have now, and when he had his last dose, and he coughs some more, and the sound of it makes my skin crawl.

I hate not being able to help. But there's fuck-all I can do.

No, that's not true. He wasn't eating, so I figured out a way to make Oysters Kilpatrick without a grill (since I took the oven into Launceston this morning for repairs and an overhaul.) He ate five of them, which is pretty good going. I've also figured out how to make something resembling a lemon tart using the stove-top and the microwave oven... the filling tastes damned good, but the crust is -- well, it's commercial shortcrust that's been microwaved, isn't it? Best I can do, under the circumstances. Anyway, it should be all right with a little whipped cream, following on from the steamed prawn dumplings and the pan-fried pork dumplings.

I'm not a doctor. But I bet I can get him to eat, at least a little.

He's in the bath right now - a big, hot, steaming bath, under the heater-lights. He hasn't coughed in half an hour or more. The paracetamol is doubtless helping, but eventually he'll h ave to get out of that tub.

I hope he sleeps a little better tonight. I hope the fever doesn't do what fevers do and climb higher still. I hope his throat eases a little.

I really hate this.