Clinic waiting rooms are always cold. Not physically — just emotionally, like an empty sterile jar. Just a silent kind of cold. No laughing or loud talking, just whispers and nervous anticipation.
It's always a scary night when a child is sick. Especially young ones not able to voice their concerns as you have to use your mom instinct to decipher the problem. I've never been one to panic needlessly, but there are warning signs that I've learned to never ignore in infants.
Personality — major changes in attitude, no interest in favourite toys, no response to the "tickle monster".
Appetite — refusing favorite foods, not keeping food down, only wanting drinks
Sleep patterns — napping all day and miserably dozing all night, keeping up the parents with whines and coughs.
I’ve been incredibly lucky with my children (knock on wood) that they haven’t had any serious complications or illnesses, although I have had my share of scares. I think every parent has had scary moments, and these are not easily forgotten. It’s in the nature of the parent to worry, and when faced with illness I know I imagine all the worst case scenarios.
I’ve also had really great service from the provincial Health Line. This is a 24-hour service that provides over the phone information from registered nurses. I’ve called enough times to have all my children on file now, as well as myself. This is a great option if you live out of town and don’t want to drive in to a clinic unless you have to. All of the nurses I’ve spoken to have been caring and concerned, genuinely wanting to help any way they can.
It’s a challenge to any parent to weigh out your obligations to your family versus obligations to career. I was recently told that my decision to have children should have determined that I stay home and take care of them myself. That’s a really … confrontational statement. I believe every parent can make the decision themselves as to how to balance out their personal and professional lives. I’m very lucky to work where I do, as our environment is very family friendly and understanding when children are ill.
I hope the next few days prove to be an improvement and a return to normal for my little one, but there is something heartwarming about the sick little child who just wants hugs and cuddles. Soon enough she’ll be older and louder with her complaints, but right now a rocking chair, a mom and a blanket are enough to keep her happy.