Poor Adele Waiting to be Seen by a Doctor

I just turned 32!  I can't say it's one of the best birthdays I've had, but it'll definitely go down as one of the most memorable.  The last time I wrote, we were in the emergency room at Scarborough Grace Hospital, because Adele had a fever for about 4 days.  It's been 2 days since that and Adele has been getting better.  The doctor couldn't really diagnose what was wrong that night, because Adele kept on crying and so he couldn't hear her breathing very well.  He also couldn't look inside her ear to see if there's any infection because there was too much ear wax.  Because she wasn't very calm and was moving about, he couldn't really clean her ears either.  Anyway, he prescribed some antibiotics just in case it was a bacterial infection.

Since then, she's gotten a lot better.  Before, she was sleeping something like 22 hours a day and wouldn't eat anything.  The past 2 days have been better.  She's been moving about, playing, talking, and eating some solid food.  So, there was definitely progress.  Today, we brought her over to Joanne's (my sister-in-law) mom's place to play with her cousins.  Everything was going swell until we gave her one of grandma's oatmeal cookies.  She probably inhaled bits of it and began to cough every 2-3 seconds.  This continued for about half an hour.  We gave her milk, patted her back...essentially did everything we could think of, but the coughing was still the same.  If you are a parent, you would know how heart wrenching that would be.  So, we left and drove back to my parents' place where we're staying.  We thought maybe we could do something there.  We tried putting her in a steamy bathroom and hope that the humidity would help...nope, didn't work.  We tried giving her more fluids.  We googled for other remedies, but to no avail.  At about 1.5 hours after she started choking (we'll call it that), we decided to bring her to the emergency room.  (Parents, imagine...1.5 hours of non-stop coughing...I want to cry just thinking about it)

So, we went to Grace Hospital again.  A pregnant lady (she claimed 6 weeks) was with the triage nurse, complaining about abdominal pain.  When the nurse saw Adele coughing incessantly, she kicked the pregnant lady out and began admitting Adele.  I was parking the car at this point, so I found this out from Renee afterwards.  No wonder when I walked in, there was this nervous man who kept walking into the triage area. Anyway, the nurse helped us bypass the waiting room outside the emergency room and routed us to the inner waiting room.  Rewind a few minutes and the triage nurse was weighing Adele.  Adele cried at the top of her lungs because she really wanted to be with mommy.  I think that 30 seconds of crying helped her dislodge the cookie from her airways.  So, after sitting down in the waiting area, we suddenly realized that her coughing had stopped completely.  It was like a light switch...cookie in, cough on...cookie out, cough off!

Renee wanted to leave at that point because she thought we were wasting the hospital's resources, but I wasn't going to take any chances.  So, we agreed to have the staff take an x-ray of Adele's lungs.  It must have been terrifying for Adele, because to get her to be still during the x-ray, the technician had to put her in a "fixture". She had to sit on a bicycle seat and then her arms had to be held high.  Then two curved polycarbonate sheets closed around her body.  She was crying her head off at first, but I was there to reassure her.  I was kind of surprised that she stopped crying after about half a minute and was only making whining noises.

The doctor then finally saw her and confirmed that she had pneumonia from the x-ray.  This doctor wanted the pediatrician who was on duty to take a look at Adele just to be sure.  The pediatrician was very good.  She was an older lady and was very experienced by the way she handled Adele.  She sat down beside us and  just asked us all the background questions, until Adele was calm and started to fall asleep. Then, she listened to her breathing and did the other usual checks.  She explained that Adele's case of pneumonia was not very severe, but was present, nonetheless.  Since it was less than 2 days from when we first started giving her the antibiotics, it was a good idea to continue it.  By the end of tomorrow, her fever should go away.  She also thought that Adele's resumption of activity was a good sign that she was already recovering.  So, she sent us off with another prescription, in case Adele's fever was still there after tomorrow.

We got home around 11:30 pm and Adele went to bed very quickly and very soundly.  It's 1:40 am now, but I'm still kind of worked up and don't feel too sleepy.  The good thing is that I haven't heard her cough at all since she fell asleep.

So, my birthday was quite eventful.  It was not the best birthday I've ever had, but then again, it was not the worst either.  Things could have turned out much worse than they did.  I'm just grateful things seem to be better now.  We've decided to cancel the New Year's Eve party that we were planning to have at our place tomorrow, but it's no big deal.  As long as Adele gets better, we really couldn't ask for anything more.  Actually, I can...Renee also started coughing about 2 days ago.  I pray that it wouldn't get any worse.  For those of us who are healthy...seriously, don't take it for granted!  And for you parents who have gone through this as well, you know our pain, and we know yours too!  And for you yet-to-be parents (especially our friends on whom we cancelled our party), please forgive us even if you don't quite understand.  It's one thing to be sick yourself, and quite another to see your child sick.  I would prefer the former, without even a thought!
It's been 4 days since Adele has had her fever.  We've been giving her Advil and she's still a little hot at 101 degrees F.  We were going to bring her to the doctor's in the morning, but she was flopping around in bed during the night.  Afraid that her condition was getting worse or there was some other more serious condition (e.g. meningitis), we took her to the emergency room at Scarborough Grace Hospital (we were at my mom's).

We were greeted by a nurse in a pretty bad mood.  It almost felt like we were at fault to be there.  She was absolutely not gentle with Adele when measuring her weight and giving her Tylenol.  I'm glad I'm getting top notch service for my tax dollars.  After waiting for about an hour, we were called in from the waiting room to a second waiting room.  This second waiting room was really just a hallway and there weren't enough chairs.  So, our friendly nurse decided to kick me out. That explains why I'm writing this while sitting in the first waiting room.

Ok, enough ranting.  Adele seemed to have improved since we woke her.  On the way here, we had Christmas music in the car and she sang along when we played Jingle Bells, which is her favourite Christmas tune at the moment.  I really hope it's just a normal cold or flu or some viral infection.  We had plans to go to Niagara-on-the-lake with her the day after tomorrow, along with Lai Chuen and friends.  We rarely get to spend time with her during our normal work week.  So, that would be fun for all of us.  But those plans may fall through now.  Oh well, there's really nothing we can do to change things.

For now, we'll continue praying...
This December has not been good in terms of health for our family.  I was literally sick for 3 weeks, starting at the end of November.  Then, about 4 days ago, Adele came down with a fever and a cough.  Since this happened over Christmas, there were some mandatory family events that we could not miss.  So, we dragged her with us to a couple of parties, and even to my own birthday party (which was a surprise, by the way...but more on that in another post).  This is the 4th day that she's had the fever and we're starting to get a little worried.  My brother, Eric, who's a family doctor, took a brief look at her and thought she was not in too bad of a shape.  But he didn't have his "tools" (what are they called anyway?), so he couldn't properly examine her.  In any case, she's just constantly tired and is sleeping probably 80% of the day.  It sort of worries me what infection she's got.

Her cough is also not helping.  Because she's so young (almost 20 months), she doesn't really know how to control a cough.  So, for the past couple of nights, she's gagged herself during coughing and threw up in bed.  It's the most painful thing to see...the poor little girl going through all this pain.  I never understood why my parents always hassled me to see a doctor when I was sick, but I guess now I do.

To make matters worse, Renee seems to have contracted the infection from Adele.  She's feeling dizzy and has a headache and a sore throat.  They're now sleeping upstairs.  And what can I do to help?  I just feel so helpless and useless.  I remember reading or hearing somewhere (believe it's originally from St. Bernard of Clairvaux...after some googling) that there are 4 degrees of love, in ascending order:

  1. Loving self for self
  2. Loving other for self
  3. Loving other for other
  4. Love self for other
The least selfless love is loving the self for the sake of the self.  E.g.) I buy an iPad for myself because I want to own an iPad.  The second degree is loving another person for sake of self.  E.g.) I love my wife, because I feel good when I love somebody.  The third degree, often thought of as the highest degree, is loving the other for the sake of the other.  E.g.) I love my wife and sacrifice for her so that she would be better off.  However, that is not the highest degree.  The highest degree is loving the self for the sake of others.  And here is where it applies to my situation.  I must love myself (i.e. take good care of myself) for the sake of Renee and Adele.  Since they are both sick, I need to care for myself first, because if I also become sick, then that would do them no good.  So, the love of the self is in fact, a selfless love.  It is the highest degree because it may be most difficult, but yet, the right thing to do.  The direct application in "real" life is during an airplane safety video, "when the oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartment, put the mask on before helping others with their masks..."

So, I'm going to go to eat some fruits, take a nice hot shower, shave (yeah, I shave in the evenings...weird!), and go to bed early tonight, because I need to love myself!  And to all you caregivers out there, please take good care of yourself too!
I never knew I liked writing so much!  Maybe I should have taken English literature instead of Mechanical Engineering in school?!  Anyway, I really regret not having started blogging earlier.  In July of 2009, I started The Catholic Investor blog.  Ever since I started seriously investing, I found that I had so many ideas regarding the topic and really wanted to share them.  However, I didn't feel it was right to bomb my close friends with emails about something in which they may not necessarily have too much interest.  And quite frankly, I wouldn't mind earning a few bucks from putting ads on a blog!  So, I started blogging.  After almost a year and a half, I have a steady readership (of which I'm fairly surprised and grateful for).  But something was missing...

What is it?  When my boss's father-in-law, who was an artist, passed away, in the funeral home was displayed the paintings that he had painted during his lifetime.  My boss told me that this collection of paintings left a very tangible legacy of his father-in-law.  It was something his children and grandchildren can look at years from now and remember that these were the masterpieces of their (grand)father.  This made me think.  What will I leave behind to my children and grandchildren as my legacy?  I wanted something more than just memories, as even the most precious ones will fade with time.  What more can I leave to them than my own personal thoughts and a record of things that happened in their father's life, which will no doubt involve their own lives as well?  This will be my gift to them.

The first post of this blog was actually a note I wrote on my Facebook page a couple of days after Adele was born.  I wrote it while Renee and her were sleeping soundly in the hospital room.  That was the beginning of my blogging journey, and so, it is appropriate for me to put that note in this blog.

And so, here begins a new page in the journey of my life...actually, our lives (Renee, Adele and me, and who knows how many more to follow).  I don't know who will eventually stumble onto this blog, but if no one else other than my family reads it, I would still be so very grateful and glad.
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