Toddlers and salmonella poisoning

I didn’t sleep much last night. Tee had a high fever – AGAIN. This is how I spent my birthday.

My mom had a fever for 4 days. She saw a Doctor who said she had a virus and gave her some antibiotics. Many Doctors do that here in Malaysia, immediately. From just seeing your outer appearance and listening to your heartbeat, they can amazingly diagnose bacterial infections and will prescribe antibiotics straight away – like it’s the most natural thing to do. Isn’t it incredible?

On her 5th day of fever, Mom went to the hospital to see her regular cancer Doctor who admitted her right away. After a whole day enduring a cocktail of tests, we were worried sick for her. For once, we actually prayed that she had dengue fever for if she hadn’t, it’d have meant that her cancer was acting up. Dengue fever was a lot more comforting. But we only find this out 2 days later as dengue doesn’t show up in your blood immediately. When you have dengue, you are supposed to get LOTS of rest and drink LOTS of fluids as your blood platelet count reduces to dangerous levels.

Tee and I spent the whole week at hospital accompanying my mother. Sometimes up to 8 hours a day…imagine how fun that is for a toddler in a hospital. Not.

As soon as her platelet count hit 90, my mother begged the Doctor to release her as she wasn’t getting any rest with giddy nurses coming in an out every hour to take her temperature. He miraculously agreed. We celebrated that evening with an ice cream cake from Haagen Daz.

The next day, Tee had a fever. I decided to monitor it for a bit before getting alarmed. After the 3rd day of high fever (up to 40 degrees Celsius), I took her to her pediatrician. He took a blood test just to rule out dengue since my mother just had it. Again, the anticipation killed us as dengue doesn’t show up till the 5th to 7th day of fever.

On day 5 of her fever, she had started purging…I have never known anyone to purge 13 times in one night. Something was definitely wrong. I brought her to the hospital the next morning and they admitted her straight away.

My poor little Tee had a whole arm bandaged up so she wouldn’t dismantle her drip. She hated it so, so much. Every waking moment was spent begging me to get her out of that blinking hospital room. We managed to keep her quiet for half an hour by taking her for a walk in a baby wheelchair with the blinking lamp post drip tagging along. You would’ve thought they’d design something more user friendly by now, like a knapsack drip perhaps. See, I am full of good ideas. But alas, we spent the next 2 days negotiating with Tee and pushing the lamp post many times around the hospital.

Tee’s diarrhea became an hourly affair to the point where she developed an intense fear of getting her bum cleaned because it was just too painful with the skin tearing and friction. We literally needed 2 people to restrain her every time we needed to clean her butt, which I repeat, was every hour.

Not having any sleep partly due to sharing the 2 feet wide hospital bed with Tee, I begged the Doctor also to discharge us. It’s in our genes. He agreed on condition that we ensured she intakes at least 1 liter of fluids daily. Whoopee! Tee was ecstatic when they cut the bandages off. We rushed home and the ordeal of forcing her to drink began. We ended up syringing water into her mouth and designed more creative ways of getting her to drink as she refused. I wondered if she knew that what went in came out, hence her apprehension.

After a week of diarrhea with blood in it that finally became less frequent over the last 2 days of this 2 week ordeal, Tee was finally well again. And after 2 weeks of bland food, we discovered that she had contracted salmonella poisoning. Poor kiddo…All but too soon, she was well for a whole 2 days almost and then, whilst on the way to the supermarket the next day, I noticed her legs full of spots! The Doctor said it was a food allergy but since then, she has started her purging episodes albeit not hourly, thank GOD. And her body is at 40 degrees Celsius again.

So I stay home with her today since when we go to my mother’s, Tee gets away with murder. She doesn’t rest as much as she should and she eats all sorts of anything, which is really not a good thing for a toddler. And I am not even being anal. After a whole day of attention demanding, she is now squashing baked beans on her high chair tray, mashing some tissue into her bowl of fish and rice and smearing the mixtures into her cup of water and the floor. Her bath just before dinner was just a prelude to the one she will have to have again after this. I have never known myself to be so patient in my whole entire life…..

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