One of my greatest fears in this life is a sick child. That scares me shitless. That is one thing I can’t control directly, so I’m forced to sit back, worry my life out and constantly say a prayer that the drugs kick in and the child gets better.
My son has been a great young chap; he has been growing up really healthy and strong. I’ve been relatively at peace.
My first real fear came when he was three months old and came down with the flu, you know, catarrh and cough. It seemed to go on forever, never letting up, never letting go. It held on to my son for what felt like ages. His laboured breathing and coughing was a constant stab at my heart. With an adult, you know where you stand, you communicate and you get to know if they are getting better or worse.
With a baby, you know nothing, and though the pediatrician, pharmacist and nurses tell you he’ll be OK, most kids go through that, it’s the weather and all other reassuring words, you still feel enough is not being done. You take one look at your son trying to breathe as he sleeps, and you begin to wonder if all those health professionals know what they’re talking about, if the drugs are substandard or worse, fake.
I was helpless. I couldn’t speed up the recovery. I could only sit and wait for him to get better. And better he got. Yeah, it took a few weeks that felt like a decade, but the morning he woke up and went the whole day without a cough or catarrh blocking his nose was a really happy and relaxed day for me.
The next stage that scared me was the teething stage. I had heard a lot of horror stories about that stage. Children crying nonstop, a very high fever, rash, frequent stooling and dramatic weight loss. I was mentally preparing for that stage, had to Google the symptoms of teething in babies and how to relieve the discomfort.
My son must have sensed my worries and decided to bypass the uncomfortable symptoms and sprout his first tooth. His mother got the message when he bit her while breastfeeding. I got mine when he bit me on my shoulder. He had started teething without the horrible symptoms I had read or heard about. He made teething easy and I couldn’t have been more relieved.
All has been well. I’ve been watching him grow up each day with the constant warmth he fills my heart with. His noisemaking, his laughter and his mini cries made me settle down and cast away my fears. He has remained a healthy young boy.
He had, until two days ago. He developed a fever and the cycle of helplessness began for me. The necessary consultations has been made and treatment begun. It’s always a tough thing for me to watch a loved one who is sick and try to nurse them back to health. Maybe it’s because I watched my father battle an ailment for many years and finally lose the battle, and that makes me realise just how frail the human body is.
But power on I must.
It’s a heart-wrenching experience now, watching my son try to overcome a fever, staying up at night to make sure he is still breathing just fine, watching his mom give him cold presses, cleaning up the drugs he’s vomited and giving another dose right after. The feeling of powerlessness is overwhelming and I wish I had the ability to instantly make the fever disappear. Sadly, I don’t have such powers. My powers are in God, doctors, drugs and my son’s ability to fight this.
For now, we give him his drugs, try to make him comfortable, pray and wait to welcome the bubbly young boy back. Hopefully, these should not go on for more than two days.
On a lighter note, my wife has gone on a mosquito-killing spree. That woman is a one-woman army. Her palms are her weapons and she is very proficient with them. The mosquitoes might not be responsible for our son’s fever, but that’s not stopping her. Our son’s life has been threatened and this means war.
She might not know who they are or what they want. But what she does have are a very particular set of skills; skills she had acquired the moment she became a mother, skills that make her a nightmare for mosquitoes that infected her child. If they did not infect her child, that might have been the end of it. She would not have looked for them, she would not have pursued them. But since they did, she will look for them, she will find them, and she will kill them.
Written by Anyibaba