Some of you may know that both Javier and I were down with HFMD over the past 2 weeks…We’re both alive and well now. Having gone through 10 days of pain, I think I can better empathise with any child going through HFMD. If it’s already so difficult to endure as an adult, what more a young child?
I also know how I’ve taken for granted the little everyday things like enjoying a meal, and talking normally (not like a lisping snail). This thing we call health. We only miss it when we lose it, isn’t it?
Here’s an account of my HFMD days…and some lessons that I learnt from it.
- Feverish and worried. Oh no could this really be it? Fever persists through the day. I take panadol and rest. First signs of a sore throat.
Javier’s HFMD is at day 04 (counting from the day that his fever started) and crankiness and pain is at its peak. He’s been rejecting milk, and only eating oats, drinking honey, diluted juice, and the fruit juice popsicles I made for him.
- As the day went by, the fever subsided. By evening, red spots have started to appear on my finger tips. Suspicions confirmed. Oh no…
Javier is taking some small meals now, consisting mainly of porridge or soupy stuff. He can’t take his usual fruits because they tend to sting the ulcers.
- Throat is “pain pain” today. I see the doctor and am given 10 days MC, and medication for relief of inflammation, swelling and pain (all for the throat).
- Am told I am now a statistic because it’s rare for adults to catch HFMD. Mainly because we tend to be exposed to the virus before and also because it’s mostly spread child-to-child (as adults know how to keep their “healthy” distance). Obviously I failed somewhere along the way.
- Some itchy spots on arms and legs (could be hives?).
- Also experience tingly sensation on the blisters on my hands, making simple chores like hanging clothes out to dry a sometimes painful task when the wrong “button” is pressed.
- I go to bed with painful soles, like someone just rubbed chilli padi on them. I say a prayer and feel like crying.
Javier has started to take some strawberries, which is a good sign of the healing progress because the acidity of strawberries would have caused the ulcers to flare.
- Woke at 5.30am feeling like my throat was on fire. Self-medicated with a teaspoon of Manuka and a drop of thieves essential oil, and tried to fall back to sleep.
- I rest more while daddy entertains the kids. We all miss church today.
- Meals consist of pork/fish porridge, cooked/bought. I can’t eat/drink anything hot because my throat is still on fire. Swallowing is a chore and I’m craving for a Magnum.
- Because the blisters on the feet are more painful now, I try to minimise the amount of time I spend with only one foot on the ground, so as to reduce the pressure on the sores. I look a bit like a penguin with her underpants on fire.
- Was teary all evening because the throat was so painful. I asked daddy and the kids to pray again, and after an hour or so, the pain went away. I realised it could be ulcers in the throat, because of the high intensity pain that comes and goes throughout the day.
- The Magnum was a BIG mistake. I thought it would numb the pain but Nooo, the milk content stung the ulcers instead. I almost passed out on my dining table. (I found out separately from the doctor that it’s not always the case that ice-cream helps. At first contact, it always stings, and as it works to numb the sores, it starts to feel better. At the end of it, there could also be a “rebound pain.” )
Javier’s better since yesterday (day 06 for him) and less episodes of “pain-pain” cries. But we still have our hands full because he can’t fully communicate what he wants. And when that happens, he really loses it…
- Woke up to a brand new day with the same ol’ pain. I wish this stupid virus would self-destruct and die.
- I gargle my mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash, in a bid to avoid further ulcers from developing. I also down Manuka honey, avoid food and drinks that are too hot, and fruits / juices / milk because these can really sting.
- The ipoh horfun (with less sauce) seems to work, some stings here and there but bearable.
- When night came, my throat started to hurt really badly again. I couldn’t eat what my mum cooked, not even just rice and soup, so hubby made some cold soba for supper. I tried to down them as best I could. *gulp*
On the bright side, Javier is completely well, and happy as a lark on his day 07. Seeing him happy makes me feel a little better…There is hope.
- I start the day jumping off my bed and onto my computer because of some urgent work. (Well at least, I didn’t start my day thinking about the pain.)
- I swallow soft boiled eggs for breakfast, with some wincing and flinching. Plus some fish ball kuey teow. And then some fish mee sua for lunch. As you can see, this virus has taken away my joy of eating but it has done nothing to curb my appetite. (Which is like a double whammy if you really think about it.)
- Hubby came home early to spend some time with me, even though there really wasn’t much he could do except for pray and make me honey drinks. When the pain got worse and I was lying in bed, he was there right beside me, just keeping me company. Days like these, I wonder what I would do without him…
- Woke up to pain, again. I make a doctor’s appointment to see what exactly is going on, since I thought I would at least be feeling better by now. I find out that the ulcers were located at the base of my throat, right where the swallowing action takes place, and that is the reason for my pain.
- The good news? That this too shall pass.
- The bad? That there’s nothing I can do to ease the pain, except pop painkillers.
- I learnt today the most comfortable food is still kuey teow soup or mee sua. A little warm is okay, just not too hot. I even managed to sip down some teh-si today. I asked for less hot, and let it sit while I read a book. Oh bliss…
- I also did some work and some writing. It helps to keep my mind off things.
- Good morning, pain. Go away already. I’m tired of seeing you here! (Okay, somehow that made me feel better.)
- My stomach’s rumbling. I’ve been surviving on so little food, I’m probably losing weight. I guess that’s the good part.
- I’m starting to feel nauseous, not sure if it’s due to the swallowing of saliva and air. I just can’t wait for all this to be over.
- Terribly bored at home and distracting myself with a good book, and have had some quiet moments through the day. I can’t be grateful enough to mum and godmother for being around to help with the kids…
- The pain is noticeably less, but nonetheless still there.
- Found out that almond milk actually does not cause ANY pain. Oh jubilee! (My friend bought almond powder for me a few weeks back and now it’s come in handy. Suitable for all ages, and apparently quite nutritious too.)
- At the end of the day, I realise that I no longer need the painkillers, and the peak of the pain has lost its blunt edge. Looking forward to a turnaround, finally!
- I wake up feeling pretty much close to normal, barring the existence of an ulcer on my tongue.
- I feel like popping champagne, and stuffing chocolate cake down my throat. Instead we head over to a nearby park and have a picnic with the kids.
- I’m actually tucking into my meals for the first time in 10 days. The residual ulcer on my tongue feels stingy at times, but nothing like the pain from the past few days. I’m so glad this is over. So, so glad…
Sometimes when illness or calamity strikes, it’s easy to get angry and lash out at others or God, and ask, “Why? Why?” Though it feels like God is silent amidst the pain, the faith that is in you tells you otherwise — that He is indeed very present and also by your side.
Then I came across this poem, and it helped me to see something new:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do the better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
~ author unknown ~