Last night was completely traumatizing.
Everytime something happens to your kids, especially when it involves their 'head', all you want is for someone to hugg you and tell you it's not your fault and that they'll be okay inshaa Allah.
When you're a mom, you tend to blame yourself for everything bad or unfortunate that happens to your child. There's this connection, and when they feel something physical, something inside you turns inside out and you can't eat, sleep or function normally until you know for sure that everything is okay.
So here's what happened...
I am pregnant with my 5th little bundle and well my husband came home early to help out with the kids because I can't really walk properly right now...In a bit of 'normal', but incredibly uncomfortable pregnancy related pains. There was a visitor outside so the hubby left the room for a few minutes which is usually the time we settle the kids for dinner. So of course, me not being able to move, and the kids not yet being settled down for the night, they decided to play and be their normal crazy selves.
My eldest and third son were playing on the bed and the eldest fell backwards off the bed and slammed the back of his had BAM against the edge of the wooden rocking chair.
He started grabbing at the back of his head and screaming in pain shouting "Mummy!! Mummy!!! What happening to my head!?! Mummy something happening to my head!!! Help!!! Help!!! Something wrong!!!!!"
So that of cousre was enough to send me completely insane with worry. I felt the area at the back of his head where he got the blow, and it was a HUGE bump the size of a medium strawberry and just as hard!! It was so hard and abnormal to the the touch that I thought maybe it was a piece of dry playdough stuck to his head from the floor or something. I didn't want to believe that was actually his head feeling like that.
So I screamed downstairs to my husband to "Come fast!!!"
He ran upstairs as if he instantly realised something had happened and I told him I think we need to go to the health centre...fast! He freaked out when he felt the bump, "What is that!?!! What is that!?!!?"
I told him what happened and we ran downstairs, grabbed some ice in a bag, left the other kids with their grandparents, jumped into the car and rushed to the healthcentre. By then the bump was even bigger and we were so scared that something was going to burst in his head or something.
Alhamdulillah we didn't have to wait very long and the doctor saw him after about 20 minutes or so of waiting...and for a public centre that's not a bad waiting period.
By then he had stopped crying and had calmed down a bit. The swelling had stopped and the bumped stayed about the size of a strawberry, as we also had the ice on it every 15 minutes.
The doctor's face scared me at first when he first saw the bump. He was a young doctor and very very pleasant and reassuring. Alhamdulillah for this! This made me feel so much more relaxed knowing that this doctor actually showed 'genuine' concern and was not your typical 'cold and unattached' night shift doctor. He examined the bump, his heart rate, etc and checked his pupils for dialation and THANK ALLAH he said everything looked okay with him so far and that hopefully it's just a typical bump on the head, but that we would have to, over the next 24hours, look out for some important 'Head Injury' signs just to be sure...
He explained to me that there is like a web of blood vessels all over the head just under the skin and that's why a cut on the head tends to bleed so much more than other parts of the body to a point where it may scare you. Also, that any hard or medium blow to head would rupture these vessels and swell up immediately and this may also be very scary...what really helped me was the concern this doctor showed not just for my child, but for me as the parent as well...He was very very effective in keeping me calm and reassuring me and making sure that I understood everything going on with my son... I really appreciated that.
On a lighter note, everything seems to be going okay with with my little 'strawberry head' son and he seems to be healing well. We have not noticed any strange syptoms.... Alhamdulillah....:)
As an advice to moms and dads:-
Here are some important 'head injury' instructions, provided by the healthcentre, from the doctor and from my experience in this situation:-
- Keep ice on the area every half hour for 10 minutes
- Give child panadol or a pain killer (get doctor's advice on this). This is to ensure that his headache is not abnormal, persistent or severe. Because if he is on a pain killer and the headache is not going away, this may be a sign that something is wrong.
- Look out for any vomitting or nausea.
- Look out for fits or seizures
- Let the child sleep with you that night and observe him carefully throughout the night and for next 24 hours.
- Look out for abnormal or increasing drowsiness
- Look out for any unusual behaviour
If any of the above syptoms are noticed or concern you, take him back to the healthcentre immediately!!
Another incredibly life changing moment was the day my eldest son had his first severe asthma attack. Before this day he had typical wheezing that came with the virus. It was not anything too severe and he usually got over it without the use of the inhaler.
But on this morning, he woke up and could barely catch his breath. We had no experience with what an asthma attack looked like. We knew how to identify typical wheezing, but on this particular morning his abs were in pain, he couldn't keep down any food and he could not catch his breath. We decided to take him to the family doctor, who was and is an excellent GP, but is unfortunately not in Trinidad anymore:(
The doctor listened to his lungs, and shortly after he vomitted all over the floor. He told us that our son was having a severe asthma attack and we needed to take him to the health centre right away to put him on the nebulizer.
*Nebulizers use oxygen, compressed air or ultrasonic power to break up medical solutions and suspensions into small aerosol droplets that can be directly inhaled from the mouthpiece of the device. (wikipedia.com)
So I stayed in the car with the baby and my husband went in to get my son hooked up to the machine. A long time passed and I started to get a little worried and worse yet, my cellphone was not charged (a common mistake I always make) and I couldn't find out from my husband what was going on. I wasn't sure if it would be safe to take the baby into a health centre at his age so I decided to wait a little longer. Couldn't wait any longer and went inside with baby to see if everything was okay. The nurses of course were grumpy saying only one parent could stay at a time, so I had to leave and go back in the car. He seemed okay, but he still didn't look like he could catch his breath, even while on the machine.
So there I was waiting in the car again....time passed and getting worried again...
Then I had this strange feeling that my mother was on her way to pick me up and that I would see her car behind me at any moment. Now would be a good time to mention that ever since I started having babies I stopped driving. My husband did most of the driving due to my pregnant bellies, so I had completely forgotten how to drive.
And then, just as I imagined in my mind, I saw my mother's car pull up behind our car and my mother was gesturing to me in a semi-frantic kind of way to come quickly. I switched off and locked up the car, picked up the baby and jumped into her car.
She told me my husband just called her (because my cellphone was not charged) and told her to pick me up from the parking lot because he just got into an ambulance with my son and they were being carried to the hospital!
I almost freaked out! But knowing my mom and knowing that she had to drive and knowing that she gets panicked very quickly I tried my best to stay calm.
Either my brother or brother-in-law was given the keys to bring home our car form the parking lot but I can't remember those details...the focus was on my son and what in the world was happening!?! Why did he need an ambulance? what's going on?
So of course, as I knew would happen, my mom started to freak out a bit. She stopped the car and started to cry and panic. I told her, trying to swallow the tears feeling like I would burst, "we need to stay calm and strong (for my son)...let's just keep trying to call (my husband) and find out what's going on".
So she started back driving and got home. The waiting for that call was such torture. You can't keep on cellphones in the emergency area in hospital so we had to wait for my husband to come outside and call us. When he finally did, he said they could not take him off the machine because it was a very bad asthma attack so they transferred him via ambulance. He was doing a little better but they still needed to keep him on the machine, and possibly overnight. This worried us a lot, but at least he got there saftely and was still in a calm state so we took it one step at a time.
I jumped in the car with my mom and dad and the baby and we went to the hospital. They kept the baby and I ran inside to see what was going on. The emergency pediatrics section was very very impressive! The doctors and staff were accomodating, and even though only one parent can stay long term, they still gave leeway for both parents to stay a while with their kids, to spend time with them and settle them down. I really appreciated this!
Seeing him hooked up to all these machines was soooo heartbreaking... But he was a tropper. Reading his insect and bug books and 'trying' to stay as calm as he could. This was particularly difficult for him because he in incredibly hyperactive by nature and worst yet they had him on ventalin which tends to make kids even more hyper. lolz:p
I looked around and almost every child in there was there for a nebulizer. This was a little scary. Why do so many children suffer with asthma? And then I wondered, what could have caused my son to have such a strong asthma attack so suddenly. Now I'm chronic with keep records and keeping track of what my kids eat and when and where, etc...and then I realised, that every time my son had wheezing attacks recently, were days that he ate things with artifical red colouring in it. I remembered because had not had many attacks the past few months, but the days they happened I somehow remembered what he ate the morning and day before because I remembered the events that took place on that day.
The day and night before my son had this huge asthma attack he had eaten a combination of red velvet cake, red lollypops, red mango and a snack with red colouring. I even remember worrying about it that day that I was allowing him to eat too many things with artificial stuff in it. But we were offered one of these things from a reliative and the rest were from his tuckshop in school and we didn't really think much of it at the time.
I started to wonder if the artificial red coluring was causing this or jump-starting a respiratory reaction somehow?!?!
Fortunately his breathing normalized and an incredibly generous relative bought a nebulizer machine for us to keep at home to avoid having to go to the hospital. I changed the curtains, changed the sheets and made sure the room was dust free for him to come home to and relax. When he got home, the ventalin had him like a buzzing bee, we almost needed to tie him down to keep him calm. LOL! But he was definately back to his old self and I never thought I would be so happy to see him so hyper again:p
After a few weeks and then months of trial and error and in very small quantities, we changed his diet. We wiped artificial colouring completely out! And would you believe it? He had no more asthma attacks for that period. Then we gave him a snack or two with a little colouring in it without him knowing or noticing to test this theory and those days he had minor but obvious wheezing. We found the trigger...
Soon after I started a FB page entitled "Restock the Tuck Shops" to fight for a cause I really believe in. Click here to view it...
So the trauma and mystery was over and we felt a sense of relief Alhamdulillah that our son was okay and fully recovered. But in the end there are a few important lessons we learnt!!!
MESSAGE TO PARENTS:-
To all moms! Learn to drive. It doesn't mean you have to do all the driving, but it is incredibly important to at least know how. After this scenario I made it my business to have my husband re-teach and re-aquaint me with the roads of T&T. Now I feel a little more secure knowing that if some kind of emergency comes up with my kids and my husband isn't around I can drive them to safety or to a hospital or as with this particular situation, drive myself and the babies home!
Secondly, if your child is having difficulty doing something natural, like breathing or eating and even standing or walking, never hesitate to get him looked at by a doctor. If the doctor is telling you he's fine and you know something is wrong, as I said in the blog post before, follow your instincts and get a second opinion to confirm INshaa Allah;)
Seek Allah(Swt)'s help in everything! No matter how minor, no matter how major. No matter how confused or panicked you are! His help should always be sought first and foremost Insha Allah;)
My husband and I were completly lost! We had no idea what to do. Our little three year old was getting worse and worse! He had chronic diorrhea to a point where we couldn't use baby wet-ones anymore as it was too painful. We had to set up like a little nursery area by the sink to wash him off. His fever was too high to put him in the bath too often to rinse off, as it was also leaking down his legs. He had to lie down on a towel at all times. Our clothes inevitably kept getting soiled when we picked him up and it was a very very stressful situation.
WE TRIED EVERYTHING!! :(
We gave him fever medications, we tried every natural diorrhea remedy imaginable! But nothing...nothing was working...he was losing his appetite until a point where he just plain stopped eating and drinking...We were scared....we prayed and asked Allah(Swt) for help because he was practically disappearing before our eyes...he was always, and still is up till this day, a nice fit and plump little fellow with a healthy appetite... but for this week, he was pretty much 1/2 to 3/4 his normal body size and losing weight by the second...We were very very scared...
It was one evening when I walked into the room from getting him some pedialyte to drink (praying that he would drink just a little) that he looked at me from his bed...He was drifting off, it almost looked as if he was about to faint away...it wasn't the normal sleepy look...we were carded to take him to a doctor again the following morning, but couldn't wait any longer....his heartbeat was racing at a pace that was uncountable!! His fever was through the roof, his diorrhea had red blood stains in it and he couldn't move...he just lay there...he didn't even have energy to walk or talk or even smile... My once bubbly little sweetheart barely had light in his eyes...I saw one little tear drop roll off his face and THAT WAS IT!! We couldn't wait on this appointment thing anymore! Especially after the last doctor told me his heart was racing because of the fever and that was all...something was wrong here...
I remember running down to my sister-in-law and just breaking down crying and telling her "He's not getting better, we are taking him to a private hospital". We didn't care how much it would cost! God willing, we needed answers! And in my opinion, the GP's we saw before were dismissing his syptoms as a normal virus... no tests were done, nothing! So off we were late that night to one of the best private hosptals I know in Trinidad and one of the best pediatricians attached to its staff.
As soon as we got there, my husband held him like a baby all wrapped up snuggly and practically lifeless in a blanket as he had lost all of his energy by now...as soon as we saw the night-shift pediatrician, who was also in constant conversation with our pediatritian, and explained to him our child's syptoms, they both realised something was not right 'right away' and drew blood for an immediate blood test to see what was going on here.... They gave us a bed to lie him down on and Alhamdulillah did not charge us for this as they saw how lethargic he was. It took a little while but we got back the blood test within two hours.
AND BOOM!!! It was apprently NOT your normal viral infection....it was a very very bad bacterial infection!!! They wrote us the prescriptions and we got him started on the correct medications right away. That night, he started back drinking juice...Alhamdulillah! It slowly but surely progressed in the following days and he ate a little more every day...it took a couple weeks for him to get back to his normal size...but he got there...he was a brave little guy and because of his patient nature, he got through this Alhamdulillah...
MESSAGE TO PARENTS FROM THIS EXPERIENCE:- Follow your instincts...never let a doctor tell you nothing is wrong if you know something is not right with your child...always seek second opinions if you can... I get scared at the thought everyday of what 'would have' happened if we had trusted the GP's and hadn't carried him to the hospital that night...but it's not right to look back and everthing happens for a reason...I try to remind myself of this everyday as difficult as it is...this was a lesson to us... something that had helped us in future scenarios and emergencies with our kids...but you'll hear about those soon Inshaa Allah;)