Joshua slept until 11 am yesterday, which is rare but I put it down to exhaustion after a busy half term at school. But when he did not finish his Weetabix and he curled back up in bed,going back to sleep, I knew he was unwell. So I gave him some magic Calpol and waited for the miraculous improvement. But it did not come, he went back to sleep and he was snoring away every time I checked on him, so I left him to heal in his sleep. But by 4pm, I was concerned and thought he had been in bed long enough. I took him his medication in some nutritious rice pudding and went to wake him. His complexion – he has transparent skin that loses all its colour when he is sick – was grey and his Pyjamas were soaked in sweat, he was unwell. He managed to eat the rice pudding and had another dose of Calpol but he was not interested in coming downstairs once I had changed his PJs, it seemed he had more sleep in him.
So instead after half an hour, I ran him a bath and he was willing to try that as he does love his baths. He loves the bubbles and warm water, he kept turning the hot tap on wanting more hot water. After that he had more colour in his cheeks and he looked more human, but still had no energy. He managed to eat some tea but he was back in bed and slept all night, from 8pm so of the 24 hours yesterday, he cannot have been awake for more than 4 of them.
So this morning’s decision is, is he well enough to travel on holiday as planned today or does he need another day in bed to recover from this germ that knocked him off his feet? If we do go, it will be 6 hours in the car before we take a ferry then arrive at our destination. It is yet another situation this week when I have been wishing for a crystal ball : I want to see into the future to see how the journey goes and how unwell he will be today, before making the decision to delay. I do not want to make him feel worse by rushing him into a long car journey. But once again, no crystal balls are on hand and Joshua will not even be able to explain how ghastly he feels when he finally awakes. It was obvious yesterday, so I am hoping that it will be equally evident this morning and that we then go on to make the right decision for us all.
I am very fortunate that during Joshua’s lifetime, I have not been ill very often. There have only been an handful of occasions when I have had to take to my bed and leave the caring to somebody else and they have been with bad colds and stomach upsets only. We have had many hospital stays but Joshua has always been the patient, not me, thankfully as I am not sure how he would react to me in a hospital bed.
However I became ill last night: I developed stomach pains during the evening and at 10 pm Joshua was up out of bed, having had a seizure. I caught him on the landing and we sat on the top of the stairs for a while, before my husband helped him up and we both snuggled into his bed as I wanted to be sure that there were no more seizures on the way. I must have nodded off but when I woke up, I felt nauseous. I went downstairs to find an indigestion remedy then went back to my own bed, with a bucket beside me. I woke suddenly at 3.30 and had enough notice to get to the bathroom where I was sick and I returned there virtually every hour. I felt awful and knew that I was not going to work as planned.
We had already arranged for Yorkshire Grandma to come for Joshua at 8.30 so I hoped that he would stay in bed asleep until she arrived but he appeared at my bedside at 8.20. I was certain that I could cope with him for just ten minutes and knew that she would already be on her way. So we both gingerly came downstairs and I prepared his weetabix and medication and set him up watching a DVD. We sat together in den and I gave him his cereal but he recognised that I was not my usual lively self in the morning, so I got a few smacks. We were both relieved when Yorkshire Grandma arrived and took over and I sloped back to bed where I slept until midday.
Caring for Joshua is a demanding, full time job and so I need to be feeling 100% to be able to be quick enough for him. I am hoping that my stomach upset is in response to something that I have eaten, rather than an infection, as I do not want Joshua to feel this way . Although I know he loves me, he is not tolerant of me being ill and rather than leaving me in peace to recover, he will pester me trying to understand what is going on and in his own way, trying to cheer me up. Lets hope this is a short burst and that I feel more human later but in the meantime, once again, thank you to Yorkshire Grandma for entertaining our son today.
Joshua has been off colour now since the weekend and I am having to use my powers of deduction to guess what the problem might be, as he cannot tell me if something is hurting him. He seems unusually tired and he has lost his appetite, those are the main symptoms, so what can we deduce from that? Joshua also sounded hoarse on Sunday morning and so I deduced that he had finally caught the cold that I had and then that I had passed to my husband. I knew how bad that I felt at the start of my cold as it began with a headache, sore throat and earache and so since Sunday , I have been dosing him up with Magic Calpol. This paracetamol is to help him to feel better, and I am assuming that it will help if anywhere else is hurting too, so it should do no harm. But if it is my cold, I would have expected him to have come out with a cough or runny nose at least by now, so I am now doubting my diagnosis. If he continues to be unwell, I will take him to the GP, but they are as likely to be as in the dark as I am, other than they may be able to look at the back of his throat – if I hold his jaws open that is! Then they may be tempted to prescribe a general antibiotic, but I would rather avoid that if I can.
We have had periods of mysterious illness/loss of appetite before and work through this same process of elimination. Last time, 18 months ago, it turned out to be his teeth : he had tooth decay, needed fillings, had thrush and two abscesses and once that was discovered to be the root cause of his loss of appetite, he had to wait for 7 months on a waiting list before he could receive treatment. That special needs dentist had told us that he would be reviewed under sedation again in another 6 months, as it is the only way to get a proper look inside his mouth, but that was now a year ago. I will chase that follow up appointment today, in case he is suffering inside his mouth again.
Earlier occasions when he survived on a diet of Weetabix only, he had tonsillitis, so he is prone to throat infections, as I was as a child, But other than that, Joshua has been a healthy child; he is not one of those children who are frequently being sick, thankfully. I am much better at dealing with blood than I am with vomit. He has not needed a GP for months, not since he had a skin rash that school needed us to rule out impetigo, as they had other cases in school and wanted to avoid an epidemic.
So for now I will continue to watch and assess Joshua and to see how he gets on and hopefully whatever it is, will pass and my hungry, lively son will return.