Worried Sick

One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent is watch my child fall ill. Frankie is now 5 months old, and a couple of weeks ago became sick for the first time. I reckon it might’ve happened after one of those playgroup sessions, where a bunch of babies get together and dribble all over each other, creating a biohazardous cocktail unseen anywhere outside of a chemical weapons facility.

I have a theory that this is how ‘superviruses’ are created. And I’m not the only one. In Stephen King’s early drafts of ‘The Stand’, the virus that wiped out 99% of the world’s population was scripted to have originated at an infant care center, as a result of the inadvertent combination of 32 different strains of slobber on a jungle gym. But, after failing horribly during a string of market research sessions, it was later revised into a more Hollywood friendly storyline, that being a government created bio weapon.

The bubonic plague itself probably emerged when a bunch of Chinese merchants decided to organise a playgroup session somewhere along the Silk Road, and the rest of course, is history.

In terms of the Frankster’s ailment, it started out as cold-like symptoms, such as a nose that ran like a miniature faucet, supported by tiny little coughs and sneezes, each one like a piercing blow dart sailing through your chest.

I can only describe it as a feeling of near powerlessness. Your baby daughter, struggling to breathe, snorting like a warthog with sinusitis. Unable to even blow her nose, the best you can do is attempt to pinch it and squeeze the boogers out like the last remaining remnants of a tube of toothpaste. Or you can get one of those snot sucker things. Where you squeeze the balloony bit to force all the air out, before shoving it up their nose and extracting the snot from their skull like an Egyptian embalmer yanking the brain from Tutankhamen’s scone. Frankie fucking hates the thing. And I don’t blame her. It’s probably as enjoyable as sticking a vacuum cleaner on your face.

As her condition declined, we took her to the doctor where she was put on a course of antibiotics. If you’ve ever owned a cat or dog, then you’ll know the joys of trying to inject some shit tasting liquid into their mouth. And even then, you’re not done. Keeping it in there is as much of a challenge. It’s no different with a baby. I still remember Frankie looking up at me with a cheeky smile, as $20 worth of antibiotics oozed out of her mouth.

And then there’s what the antibiotics look like on the way out. A 5 month old digestive system isn’t exactly built to deal with this sort of thing, so the end result looks like something that Slimer from Ghostbusters would leave behind.

Though, it was truly amazing as to how much of a trooper she was throughout. Despite being chock full of snot, battling watery eyes and, for the most part, struggling to breathe, she was generally her usual happy self. Smiling and singing away. Just getting on with life.

To be fair, Frankie did a better job of being sick than I do when struck down with the man flu.  Often reduced to a miserable sook, embedded in the recliner, surviving on a strict regimen of Netflix and chicken soup, fearing the next death rattle could be my last. Yet a 5 month old baby put me to shame.

Even though she’s unable to even speak, she managed to teach me a lesson.

The wonders of fatherhood.

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21 thoughts on “Worried Sick

  1. One tip that worked for me with my 5 month old being on amoxicillin – put it in a bottle nipple and let her suck it. My daughter would take the full dose that way but would spit it out every time I used the syringe. Hope she’s feeling better soon!

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  2. I hear your pain mate. We’re in the middle of post-jab/teething fever. It is the spectacular uselessness that grates me the most. There is literally nothing to do apart from give them a cuddle and try and distract with funny faces.

    To be fair I use the same technique when the wife is sick…with more mixed results if I’m honest.

    Hope she feels better soon,

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      1. I don’t know if it’s called the same thing in the States but Bonjela teething gel is a godsend. Also yogurt seemed to help as well (prob because it’s cold). For you, a nice single malt or a highly hopped IPA makes it easier.

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  3. I think that’s one of the things that children are here to teach us – as much as you’d be willing to do,sometimes all you can do is hug them and be there for them. I hate to tell you this, but wait until she starts teething.

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  4. Bless her little heart, but sounds like she managed it well. You won’t, ever. Every little bit of discomfort your child feels, you feel a million times over! Last year my son nearly reduced me to a dribbling mess when he got tonsillitis, Croup, Scarlet Fever and then Chickenpox all in one hellish 6 month stretch! He was way braver than me. xxx

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  5. Caring for a sick baby is just about the most unempowering thing I can think of. But as you say, it does humble, which is what most of this parenting thing seems to be about.

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  6. Sir, you have a way with words. Seeing my sick kid did more psychological damage to me than the actual cold did to my son. I swear, before they get to age 13, you’re constantly checking to see if the tiny jerks are breathing. (After age 13, you’re checking their breath I’m told.) Nice to know it always gets easier, right?

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