T is for Tonsillitis

This is going to be a long rambling story about tonsillitis. Be warned.

30 Jan 2017, Monday

On the 3rd day of CNY, we headed out to ECP as Elliott wanted to ‘play sand’. I had a lovely quiet prata and teh tarik breakfast all by myself (ah, the bliss) while everyone else was baking hanging out at the beach.

He came out all fresh and clean from his shower and ran off like a speeding bullet towards the Marina Cove Playground that was conveniently located beside the kids-friendly shower area. I was hesitant about letting him head to the playground because being a public holiday, it was MAD CROWDED with children of all age and sizes. Call me paranoid mama but crowds = VIRUSES GALORE.

Too late.

He was way too fast for me to even get near him. I was holding onto Moon and obviously, I couldn’t drag Moon into the play area. Daddy was still washing the sand out of his toys so I could only look on (in dismal) as he climbed, crawled, hung and STUCK his face into various talking tubes (nooooo).

We headed straight to the car after and I stupidly forgot to clean his hands. Honestly, I don’t think it would have helped anyway.

Fast forward to evening.

We had a CNY dinner gathering at a friend’s new home. On our way there, E was uncharacteristically quiet. When we got there, he stuck to my side and refused to play with the other kids. Again, this is very untypical of him. He’s generally quite a sociable boy so warning bells were going off in my head. I felt his forehead and it was a little warm.

When I tried to feed him his dinner, he kept grimacing and kept saying: I don’t want to eat. He was also in tears which was again, quite odd. Finally, after only about 4 mouthfuls, I decided to stop and have my own dinner instead. I don’t like forcing kids to eat. He sat on the couch watching cartoons with the boy.

Halfway through my dinner, I heard a commotion from the sofa – E threw up. On the boy. Oh dear me. Thankfully, it was his friend’s home so he could borrow a clean t-shirt. I was also thankful that we had a fresh change of clothes in his bag. After we cleaned him up, he didn’t feel as warm to the touch and started to become more alert and cheerful. He even asked for ‘soup and rice’ which we gave. Towards the end of the evening, he was pretty much back to his usual happy and active self so I just put it down to just a random fever and something he ate.

The next day, he ran a fever with no other symptoms so we kept him home, away from school. One particular night, it hit a high of 39.8 degrees so we had to break out the Bifen suspension (commonly known as Ibuprofen). Poor kid was whimpering and tossing in his sleep but thankfully, he managed to fall asleep properly after the medicine. We pretty much kept him at home the entire week for him to recuperate.

First victim: Elliott

On Wednesday, he complained of pain in his mouth and was refusing his usual meals. This was unlike him as he usually likes his rice/noodles and soup. He was also starting to refuse his nightly milk which is a HUGE WARNING BELL. He just kept saying: paiiiin.  This kid loves his milk so for him to not want to drink milk? Ding ding ding.

I asked him exactly where it hurt and he pointed inside his mouth (I’m so glad that he’s old enough to verbalise what he needs now!). When I shone the torchlight into his mouth, I was shocked to see that his tonsils were covered in tiny white ulcers. OH DEAR ME! No wonder he had trouble eating. That probably explains the crazy high fever as well. I mentally beat myself up for not checking his mouth earlier. Sigh.

2 Feb 2017, Thursday

Got Popo to take him (because we had work commitments so we are always grateful for our village) to the family GP who asked why didn’t we take him in earlier (oops #mummyguilt right there). He said that there were many tiny ulcers dotting his tonsils and some were turning into pus. URGH. Diagnosed it as acute tonsillitis and gave him a dose of (toddler) Augmentin 70ml suspension along with a bottle of fever meds as standby.

img_4693

I knew there was no way E was going to ingest Augmentin on its own without putting up a huge fight. Honestly, I don’t blame him. It was powdery and flakey. Really quite gross. Thankfully, when we added it into his pre-nap milk, he finished every single drop. PHEW. That’s another thing to be grateful for – this kid will finish his milk regardless of how it tastes. We have added Flumicil (which is orange flavoured!) to his milk and he will still finish his bottle of milk. Hehe.

Thankfully, he got on the mend the next few days and was back to his usual active self. He was also starting to eat his usual solid food which was a relief.

Next victim: The boy

3 Feb 2017, Friday

The boy told me that he was having a sore throat and feeling feverish. He looked extremely sick and weak which is a RARE SIGHT. This husband of mine rarely falls ill so to see him in that sick state was definitely cause for alarm. I told him to PLEASE GO AND SEE A DOCTOR NOW (lunch hour) and thankfully, he listened to his wife for once and took a cab straight to the neighbourhood GP.

Not surprisingly, he caught the tonsillitis bug from E so he got given a bout of (adult) Augmentin, MAC lozenges and paracetemol for the fever. To cut a long story (slightly) shorter, he basically slept the next 2 days away. He was that sick. Barely ate anything except for plain porridge because it hurt too much to eat anything else.

4 Feb 2017, Saturday

We had another CNY lunch gathering and because the boy was still feeling ill (and we do not want to spread germs), E and I went for lunch. It was only after lunch that I started to feel the onset of that dreaded ‘sore throat’. I was hoping to put it down to sore throat from CNY feasting (because steamboat is heaty, yes?) but at the back of my head, I knew what it was.

Next victim: Me

True enough, that same evening, I burned up with a fever that hovered between 38 and 39.8 degrees. I was also shivering uncontrollably even though I was in a non-airconditioned room wearing long-sleeved pyjamas and pants, AND had the blanket over me. It was torturous. I swung between feeling mad hot to shivering, to sweating profusely after downing paracetamol to try and bring down the temperature. Needless to say, I was literally confined to bed and feeling absolutely S***TY.

Thankfully, the boy recovered sufficiently to take over parenting duties. He hasn’t recovered fully but at least he was able to get out of bed and be mobile. I was really thankful we both did not catch the bug at the same time. Count small blessings eh.

5 Feb 2017, Sunday

Survived the horrible night of crazy fever and made my way to the same neighbourhood GP who diagnosed me as – no surprises there – acute tonsillitis. But of course. Gave me the same meds as the boy and instructed me to stay home to rest (2 days of medical leave) with loads of water.

This is where it got interesting.

Ate my lunch and ingested 1 dose of Augmentin. 15 mins later, I threw up everything. Ugh. I could only tolerate the paracetamol. Was undecided if I should take another pill or wait till later. Decided to wait it out.

Dinner time came round. Had dinner, waited for a bit and swallowed another Augentin pill. Did I mention that I really hate it? It’s huge and GROSS. Same story – 15 minutes or so (I know because I timed myself), and I had to rush to the porcelain bowl again.

This wasn’t working. If the meds weren’t going in, I wasn’t going to get well.

6 Feb 2017, Monday

I was advised to see an ENT specialist to see if there are other meds that can help so I made an appointment with Dr Chan Kwai Onn who came recommended. Managed to get a 2.45pm appointment the same day so I made my way down. At first, I was surprised that it was empty but as I was filling up the registration form, streams of people walked through the door. Thankfully, I did not have to wait longer than 15 minutes before I asked to enter the consultation room.

I noticed that the room had little dinosaurs standing in a row, as well as various stickers strewn over his consultation table. As it turns out, he does Paediatric ENT Care as well. Good to know. He was friendly and introduced himself as Dr Chan. I told him the entire history of what happened and he scribbled them onto his screen (so high-tech). He then made me sit on the reclining chair where he explained that he will be using a spray-on aesthetic to numb my nose and throat so that he can do a scope.

He then asked that I wait outside for about 5 minutes for it to take effect while he attended to other patients. Very efficient, I like. It barely felt like 5 minutes when I was called in again.

Once again, I sat on the reclining chair and in front of me was a TV screen. I knew what was going to happen and realised that for the very first time in my life, I was going to see the insides of my nose and throat. It was a mix of excitement and slight apprehension as I have a strong gag reflex (my poor dentist) so I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to having a tube down my nose and throat.

He first asked that I stick out my tongue so that he could hold onto it with a piece of gauze. I made it a point to highlight that I have a strong gag reflex so please be warned 🙂 Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad as the tube didn’t go too far down. Yet. At this stage, he pointed out various tiny white ulcers dotting my red and swollen tonsils.

He then proceeded to stick another tube (or was it the same – I can’t remember) down my nose to check it. He declared that my nose was clear. However, as the tube moved further down my throat, it was pretty horrifying to see that my entire throat (and not just the top of it that is visible from my mouth) is covered in evil-looking white ulcers.

At that very moment, I felt like it was a scene straight out of a B-grade sci-fi alien movie. It was, for lack of a better word, GROSS. Dr Chan then explained that this is why it’s painful to even swallow saliva, let alone eat.

I showed him my box of Augmentin (which he took a cursory look at) and explained that Augmentin only works on infections caused by bacteria. As taken from this website:

Augmentin is one of the workhorses of the pediatrician’s office, prescribed for ear infections that are resistant to amoxicillin alone, sore throats and certain eye infections. The drug is also a powerful agent against bronchitis and tonsillitis caused by bacteria (though many cases of sore throat are viral in origin).

He shared that what I was suffering from is acute tonsillitis caused by virus and not bacteria. This means that no amount of Augmentin was going to work. He instructed me to stop taking Augmentin (WOOHOO!!!) and went on to prescribe me with Acyclovir 400mg which, according to this website, treats virus infections. I noted this important point from the website:

It’s important to know that acyclovir does not cure viral infections. However, it can make infections shorter and less serious for some people.

I left the clinic with this bill. Gulp. But! I am glad to have nipped the damn illness in the butt and also, I was told by the lovely nurses that the bill is claimable via insurance and Medisave (only for the scope but better than nothing!).

fullsizerender

I’m also putting a picture of the key meds in this blog entry so that I can remember what medicine it was that was administered.

img_4681

I’m now wondering: There must be tons of people out there who are taking Augmentin religiously after seeing the GP (like the boy) for tonsillitis and wondering why they are not well. For the record, the boy finished his 5-day course of antibiotics and still has a very sore throat. It is day 5 since the onset of the infection and I am pretty much back to feeling like a normal person. The fever has since abated and my throat no longer feels like a thousand knives are scratching against it.

Thank you for making it to the end of this very long winded entry. It is rare that I blog about illness and only do when it’s bad enough. Like this Bronchiolitis episode, and the other one for Croup. I just had to detail down this episode of tonsillitis that pretty much took down the entire family.

So here’s another PSA (public service announcement):

There’s a tonsillitis outbreak going on right now (doctor’s words, not mine). Please wash your hands THOROUGHLY and PROPERLY with SOAP as it is the only way to get rid of illness-causing viruses. Wet wipes work only if they contain a certain amount of alcohol (at least 70% alcohol!).

Stay healthy, everyone!

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

This remains one of my all-time favourite Christmas songs. I love LOVE the original recorded in 1984 with some of the biggest names in pop at that time – Boy George, U2, Wham, Duran Duran, Sting,  Phil Collins on drums, Bananarama, etc. Check out the big shoulder pads, hair and fashion. Ah, the 80s. And those voices. They don’t make them like they used to. *wistful sigh*

The song was remade in 1989 with another bunch of popular pop idols from the 90s – Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Bros, Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, etc. Check out that short duet between Jason and Kylie. If you’re too young to remember, they did that huge classic “Especially For You” together.

And finally, in 2014, the young ones (with some of the older ones) did a remake too. I have to say that I did not recognise quite a lot of names in there (totally showing my age) but I did recognise Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Chris Martin, Seal, etc. You can see who sang which bits here.

Which is your favourite?

Kids Dash 2016

Last year, Elliott took part in his very first Kids Dash. He did an awesome job, completing most of the 700m on his own. I decided to sign him up again for this year’s run because on that day, it was Daddy’s birthday, as well as the day he turned 33 months. In my head, it’d be a lovely way to mark the 2 occassions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course, as we all know, things (especially with kids) don’t usually go as planned. Check out Elliott’s face here. He hated the shirt, and probably the crowd and heat too.

img_1659a

This year, Kids Dash was held at Orchard Road. Also, the flag-off time for his race (0-3 years old was at 6pm. When I signed him up, I had no idea where the venue nor starting time was. If I had known that it was going to be at Orchard Road (!) in the evening (!!), I would have stayed far, far away.

The organisers sent an email to ask for feedback (good on them) and here’s what I wrote:

  1. Kids are at their best in the mornings. An evening/night race is a bad idea. To sell it as “running under the Christmas lights” didn’t quite work for the 0-3 category because flag-of was at 6pm and the lights weren’t on!
  2. Holding it at Orchard Road in December is a complete nightmare. The stretch is already crowded with shoppers and tourists. Adding another 5,000 kids, parents, supporters to the mix is just a logistical nightmare.
  3. Due to the crowd, we could not see where the starting pens were. A lot of time was spent running back and forth (with a young child below 3 years old) just to hunt down the starting pen and we could not find any staff to seek help from. We weren’t the only lost sheep as we saw many parents with their young child looking lost as well. When we got there, there were barricades that prevented us from getting through. To make it worst, lots of parents/kids from the other categories were crowding around the barricades which prevented us from joining the start pen. We had to literally push our way through because there was no crew around to guide us in, or tell us what to do. And the race was starting!
  4. Delayed flag-off for young children is a VERY BAD idea. Children get restless in 10 seconds and the heat and crowd just makes things 10x worst. It was extremely unpleasant waiting for the race to start and by the time it started, a lot of children (and parents) were feeling uncomfortable and in a bad mood.img_1661a
  5. Due to the narrow stretch of Orchard Road, I know that it was necessary to make participants walk a long way to the start/end point. However, again, with young children (heat, crowd, etc), it was a bad idea. This was particularly bad after the race – parent and child had to walk almost half the distance of the race just to exit and there was a huge backlog at the exit because security was checking tags. I applaud you for trying to ensure that the correct parent will leave with the correct child but for the 0-3 category, each child was accompanied by one parent. Why is there still a need to cross-check, leading to the backlog.
  1. There was no area for the other parent/supporters to watch the race. We had to balance ourselves at the permanent barricades just to try and catch our child and partner. However, due to the red/white barricades, all we could see was the partner, not our child. This is a small point but if the purpose of this race is for family bonding, it failed badly.
  2. The venue and time of the Kids Dash was not made known when registration opened for early birds. If I had known that it was going to be along Orchard Road (a mad house in Dec) and in the evening, I would not have signed up. However, this information was made known a lot later. May I suggest that important factors such as venue and time info be made known once registration opens so that parents can make an informed choice whether or not to join.

It was our second Kids Dash but the experience was horrible due to the above reasons. Please, for future editions, hold the Kids Dash at a BIG OPEN AREA (like last year’s Sports Hub!) and importantly, have it in the MORNING!

In a nutshell, Elliott hated everything about it. Check out his face when given the medal. Pffffft.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He was supposed to run the race with his BFF from school, Isaac, but because we were late (because the runner was napping!), Isaac and his dad went into the starting pen first. I think it might have worked a lot better if they ran the race together.

Check out their happy post-race faces!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I felt so bad about subjecting the (big) boy to the horrible experience (and on his birthday, no less!) that I bought him a nice ramen dinner, complete with his favourite fried chicken and a mug of cold beer. Totally deserved it after that fiasco.

I guess you can safely say that it’d be a long time before we take part in another Kids Dash from Standard Chartered!

cert.jpg

Note to Elliott – 32

Dear Elliott,

As the British will say, BLIMEY! How overdue is this note! Well yes. My 32nd note to you almost didn’t happen because about a week from now, the 33rd note is due. I contemplated (horrors of horrors) combining note 32 and 33 but the OCD-ness in me cannot cope with that thought.

IMG_2002a.jpg

At 32 months, you are a full on chatterbox. You say the darnest things. You tell us that you want to “go zoo see giraffe”. Or to the shopping centre to “buy car”. I wish I can video every little thing that you say but we know that’s impossible. Here’s a classic gem that you love to exclaim randomly:

Daddy has penis.
Air-yiot has penis.
Mummy no penis.
SO FUNNY!!!

I’m glad that you have’t been repeating this ditty of yours outside our home. We would be rather mortified, even though you’re telling the truth.

You seem to also be exhibiting the “Terrible Twos” by getting upset over the most random of things, i.e. you need to put on the car socks and cannot deal with the animal socks. I have since learnt to give you 2 choices so that it makes you feel like you are choosing and have a say over your sock colour.

IMG_2245a.jpg

You are also resisting all sorts of shirt tags and insist that “Mummy cut”. Shirts with collars are also out of the equation. You scream blue murder if I even dare attempt to put on a nice shirt for you because you know, we are going for a nice family dinner at a fancy restaurant. I find myself wearing the same t-shirts for you over and ove again because the nice tees I buy, you stain them with food and after a maximum of 3 wears, they look like you’ve worn them for 10 years.

You have also develop this strange habit of picking at the skin around your fingers. You get obsessed with them and will also ask that I cut them. Is it a 32 month thing? I do hope you outgrow this obsession with your skin soon.

Speaking of obsessions, you are obsessed with Paw Patrol. The moment the theme song comes on, you hop and dance around the sofa like a crazed K-pop fan. That darn song is also in my head constantly because you sing it whenever you can. You know the names of all the characters and whenever the show is on, you barely blink! You completely ignore anyone talking to you and pay 100% attention to the show.

img_2545

I can see why you love it so much though. It’s about dogs with cool vehicles such as a bulldozer, firetruck, helicopter and police car. I know toddlers like you shouldn’t watch too much tv blah blah blah but I like that Paw Patrol teaches about teamwork and the pups are all rescue dogs. I also like that they speak proper English. You have picked up phrases like “Ryder needs us!”, and “Rubble….ON THE DOUBLE” from the show. You also love to ask me what’s “venture bay” (Adventure Bay – where the show is set)  every. single. time. the show comes on.

You love singing and would break out into songs randomly. I particularly love it when you sing songs that you’ve learnt in school. One of your current favourites is:

One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys.

Ooh aah, ooh aah, shooting arrows
Ooh aah, ooh aah, shooting arrows

I know I’m gushing but I love it when you sing the ooh ahh bit about the arrows. WHY SO CUTE.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You’ve also been eating A LOT. You have a full dinner of rice, soup and fish at about 5pm+ and by 8pm, you’re asking for bread or biscuits. It scares us a little but I put it down to a growth spurt. Besides, better to have you eating than not eating, yes?

You have also discovered ice cream. You actually ask to have ice cream and usually, you get yogurt (not that you know – for now). You can gleefully finish a single scoop on your own (1) but when asked to share it with us, you do share one (tiny) bit.

img_2645

Happy 32 months, Elliott. Grow well, grow strong, and grow happy!

Love you always,
Mummy xoxo

Note to Elliott – 31

Dear Elliott,

I came across this article on Facebook and reading it made me bawl like a baby. It brought me right back to the days of us trying to get that bun in the oven. It’s been so many years but reading such challenging journeys never fail to strike a sharp chord in my heart. At 31 months, those days are far behind and feel like a lifetime ago. But we never, ever, for a minute, forget that you only became ours after what seemed like forever.

I am finding it hard to write these monthly notes to you these days because unlike your first year of birth, milestones were very visible. It was easy to write about when you first spoke your first word, or attempted your first flip. These days, you develop less physically (even though you are supposedly quite tall for your age, as many have told us) but more mentally and hopefully, emotionally.

img_1251a

We do, however, have one major milestone that I’d like to document. You are now able to tell us when you need to pee. There was nothing special that we did and once again, it is true what they say about how you will be ready when you are. And one day, just like that, you were ok with peeing into the toilet bowl while standing on a stool. Hip hip hooray! I am glad that we are on the way to going diaper-less finally because my dear son, those diapers are expensive!

You are now very capable of telling us exactly what you want, or don’t want. It’s always “Air-yiot do“, “Air-yiot eat“, “Air-yiot (whatever you want at that moment)“. Perhaps this ability to articulate what you want has lessened the need for you to throw tantrums. When you turned 2, I was bracing myself for the onset of the infamous Terrible Twos and I’m probably jinxing it but so far, you haven’t been too…terrible. Of course, you get upset when you don’t get your way but we have noticed that if we try and explain things to you, or reason it out, you get it and move on.

Just the other day, you surprised me when it was time for shower. As expected, you were reluctant to leave your toys but instead of screaming/crying, you coolly answered me: “Later. Later, mummy. Later“. I was gobsmacked, and amused at the same time. We have now also learnt that if we want you to do something, we have to give you a fair amount of (time) warning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You are still very much into your vehicles. Diggers, dump trucks, concrete mixers, ambulance, and your two favourites? Tow trucks and car transporters. We don’t get to see many car transporters in Singapore so imagine how thrilled you were when we spotted 2 of them across the causeway recently. Every night, you are still picking out the vehicles-related books to read before bed. I am starting to wonder if this obsession with vehicles will last forever…!

You are also getting the hang of the bedtime routine. You know that after Mummy takes her shower, it is time for your milk, and for Daddy to read bedtime stories. Once that all is done and dusted, we turn off the lights and you curl up facing me and whisper: “Mummy sing 小宝宝 and do like this“. You sometimes also say Elliott tired” which is really quite adorable. 小宝宝 is a song that Daddy made up when you were much younger and it goes like this, sung to the tune of Brahm’s Lullabye:

小宝宝,快睡觉
明天起来才玩了 (repeat 2x)

Do like this” is me giving you a gentle back massage. I do notice that you enjoy massages and would usually drift off to sleep after a while. It’s also funny how sometimes, I end up falling asleep and stop singing. You’d then command ask “Mummy sing” and I’d have to sing again. I don’t deny that it is tiring sometimes because all I want to do is to sleep after a long work day but I remind myself that you will not remain this little for long and I am positive that one day, you will no longer need Mummy to sing you a lullabye to fall asleep.

img_1451a

You enjoy playing with Duplo and will use the pieces to fix (what else) different types of vehicles. I love how you get creative and play on your own, complete with running commentary. You are also a very lucky boy because you have so. many. toys! Check out that 2 huge boxes of Duplo that you own. Pffffft. I need to get down to sorting out the toys that you have outgrown (or barely touch) so that someone else can enjoy them.

Another milestone we clocked this month was watching a movie! Daddy’s company organised a movie screening for “The Secret Life of Pets” and we took you along. You hated the booster seat (and flung it to the floor) so you watched on our laps. We were apprehensive as to whether or not you’d survive the 90-minute show but you did! Well ok, you did get restless at the one hour mark and at one point, decided to sing at the top of your voice (!) but other than that, we survived your first movie experience! No more movies until you’re older and can appreciate the experience, my child.

Last but not least, I am happy to say that finally, FINALLY, after almost 7 months, you have FINALLY STOPPED CRYING at school drop off. These days, you give me a big hug (ok, it’s more like me giving you engulfing you in a huge bear hug), we kiss goodbye, say our “I love you!” (my heart still melts whenever you go “I love you Mummy“) and you walk in happily on your own. Sometimes, you’d even turn around and chirp: “Bye bye Mummy!

Oh how far we have come from the early days of screaming, kicking and crying. These days, you actually tell us that you want to go to school and see your friends which is such a huge difference from the early days of “Air-yiot no go school” (insert sad face here). Your teacher also tells us that you love to kay poh help by keeping a lookout for your younger classmates. My heart beams whenever I hear that you’ve been a helpful boy that listens and follows instructions.

You are also starting to use “Thank you” and “Sorry” at the appropriate moments. Of course, at times, you still get them mixed up but I think it is a very good start! It is very important that we mind our “Ps and Qs” and I am glad that at 31 months, you use them as part of your everyday language.

IMG_1203a.jpg

Happy 31 months, my 小宝贝. We love you so very much.

Big fat hugs,
Mummy xoxo