Rotavirus: A Parent’s Nightmare

On a fine Sunday morning, I decided to take AK out to an indoor playground. She loves whizzing down the slides, running amok and I had this perfect vision of mummy daughter quality time in my mind. I got into the car happily, strapped her into her car seat and off we went, driving into the warm sunlight.

That vision quickly transformed into a nightmare as she puked like the kid from The Exorcist all over herself and started crying. Never mind, I won’t give up so easily, maybe I was just speeding and it made her nauseous. I brought her to the front passenger seat and lo and behold, another fountain of puke. I held her on my lap as I drove and wow, the puking did not seem to end. We were bound together in a pool of puke as we made a detour to the doctor.

A topless AK and a IDGAF mother sat exasperatedly in the clinic, waiting for their number to be called.

Medicine was prescribed and off home we went where AK drifted into a slumber. The peace was soon outlived as she became a lean mean pooping machine and I swear we spent more time in the bathroom that day than we have all year (2016 ya, not 2017). She would poop, I would negotiate her into the toilet, get her cleaned up and the vicious cycle repeated until she had her meds and we both fell asleep exhausted.

Midnight swung around and I heard a sudden scream. AK was holding her tummy, crying as she screamed and my blood ran cold. She had a fever burning up and I put a suppository up her bum then packed like a manic monkey. As her fever was still burning strong, we drove to the hospital.

How could I have let this happen?  Why did I not take her to the hospital sooner? I’m such a bad mother, my child was suffering and how could I have not seen it?

AK had to have her hand pricked and bandaged for the IV drip. Confused and scared herself, she kept crying “Mama, don’t want…Mama, don’t want…” as she pointed to her bandage. As I hugged her and tried explaining that she had no choice, my heart smashed into a million pieces when she finally fell asleep. I cried with guilt, watching her so fragile and thinking of how her head had felt so warm at 1 am in the morning. Thank God I had not slept through till morning, at least I didn’t miss her cries.

The next day, the doctor said tests had to be run and it turned out to be Rotavirus. Easily contracted, it could have been from anything from bad food to picking up a dirty toy. It’s not just a horror to watch your child deal with pain, it’s a horror to not know exactly where or when she had contracted the virus. Even if you wanted to blame something or someone, you would not know who or what to bash.

Mr Grumpy arrived back from his trip the same day and while I tried to hold it together, I was a mess inside. I had a major deadline and Mr Grumpy was due to travel again in another day. How the heck was I supposed to juggle everything? I’ve let AK down, can I really take care of her on my own? I could not stop crying whenever I was alone, was worried

Thankfully, Arya’s puke and poop storm was the worst stage she had to go through. There is no medication for Rotavirus like antibiotics, so it was a waiting game. It could take anywhere between 5 days to 2 weeks. For a girl who has a huge appetite to refuse food and only take tiny sips, for a girl who happily screams and run to just lie down and not care about anything, we wanted her old self back more than anything.

Mr Grumpy ended up not going for his other trip and I managed to deliver by the deadline in the end. It’s funny how your priorities get set straight. AK was and will always be our priority so if I spend time away from her, I better damn well deliver efficiently so I can be back with her quickly and play my role as a mother. Mr Grumpy has the same mentality and thankfully, our work scenarios have bosses who are also understanding and accommodating.

We try to not work while we are with her, compartmentalizing helps our time become richer in content.Bosses like these are the bomb since they care more about the quality of your deliverables and have that trust. I hate it when some think you are not “committed” just because you picked your child’s safety and health. Like, hello?! Were you not a child once??

I will also always always appreciate Mr Grumpy for being such an amazing father and husband, putting AK first and not just saying she will be there for her; he shows it through his sacrifices and affection.

Times like these you also know who are there for you. I really appreciate how they would ask about her, respect our space and offer their prayers alongside assistance; all were so comforting especially when they knew how scared we were. There were instances my patience was tried like at work (I swear some people can be so insensitive), but I swallowed it and focused on what was important telling myself the white noise did not matter. More often than not, the white noise comes from just one or two empty gas bags. It’s not worth your time and energy during times of crisis. Sincerity is measured through actions and not just words; you can also tell by how much respect they may have for you.

After 5 days in the hospital, AK was doing well. She kept asking to go home and we finally could. The three of us could not wait and Mr Grumpy and I went into a total cleaning frenzy. Every surface, doorknob, cupboard, you name it, were all disinfected and scrubbed the heck out of! I’m definitely going to sanitize things more regularly, even if it was not the cause, we do not want to take any risks for another hellish Rotavirus experience to happen again.

Rotavirus is definitely no joke. Get the vaccination for your newborn and don’t make the mistake we did. While AK has her compulsory vaccinations, we underestimated the havoc Rotavirus could cost. So if you have a newborn, get him/her vaccinated! There’s only so much a child’s immune system can battle on its own. I hope our experience saves you from the same nightmare. Also, a handy piece of advice we got was to rub baby Vicks on her tummy and feet(then put socks on) to help with the pain. It really helped, she had the sound effects and the smiles to prove it!

In retrospect, you never know what your child would have to endure. It may not even be your fault but they may fall sick for whatever reason. AK has been going to kindie and some parents send their sick kids (it’s hard to truly fault them, because many just don’t have other options) to be taken care of. However, what we can do as parents though is lower the risks. A little bit can go a long way in protecting your child.