It came like a thief in the night. Literally. Every evening, Zee would have a little runny nose and no other symptom. Since the mucus was clear, I thought nothing of it and didn't give her any medicine. I thought, it will go away, it's not serious. But it didn't.
By Saturday morning, she was coughing and sneezing and the bottom linings on her eyes were red. We carried on with our Saturday normal activities and took her to our boxing class. That is when I noticed that she was really not feeling well. She sneezed loudly and out came a lot of watery, green mucus. I excused myself from the class and took her out to the adjacent park. She seemed to have elevated temperature and this prompted me to ask Bernie to please let's not just go to the pharmacy to get some fever and cough medicine but to go to the doctor and check her condition.
I like going to the children's clinics in Taiwan because for a small fee of NT$150 and with our Health Insurance Card, the doctors will tend to our children and give them all the medication that is needed. Normally, the doctors attribute flu symptoms to the change of weather and the prescriptions cover for this. We get some powder medicine with portions based on the weight of the child, Ibuprofen for the fever and pain reducing effects and some cough medicine.
That night, we heard some discomfort sounds during her night sleep while she tossed and turned and Sunday went by with the same symptoms as Saturday. When Monday came by, Zee woke up with low-grade fever. That day, had a scheduled follow-up appointment at the doctor and this time they made her use the vaporizer for her lung. But it all went downhill from there.
At night, Zee had high fever and rapid breathing. The fever would rise within 1 to 2 minutes from a 37.1 to over 38.6 degrees celcius or thereabouts. That Monday night, I literally had to stop myself from taking her to the Emergency Room. On Tuesday morning, when she woke once more with high fever, and after receiving some advice from her classmate's mom, I went over to the Mckay Children's Hospital in Hsinchu. The doctor noticed that she was having trouble breathing and let me know that she had something called Bronchiolitis. I had heard of Bronchitis before but never Bronchiolitis.
Bronchiolitis is a common chest infection in young children, caused by a viral infection of the lungs. The infection causes inflammation and mucus to build up in the airways, making it more difficult to breathe. Bronchiolitis is most common in babies under six months, but sometimes occurs in babies up to 12 months old. Source: Google search.
We got some antibiotics for treatment and other similar medicines as we received in the clinic and went back home. However, her symptoms persisted. She would get fever and start to breathe rapidly exactly every morning, midday and midnights. By Wednesday night, I had an internal struggle to take or not to take her to the Emergency Room. Bernie would come back by Thursday night and I held on to the thought that with his presence she would get better. On Thursday night, she got the highest fever at over 39 degrees celcius. Luckily, we had a suppository at home from past fever episodes and we treated her with this. After what seemed like forever, her fever came off after half an hour. We had a follow-up appointment scheduled for Saturday and so we unwillingly waited for that time to take her back.
Finally, the day came and off we went first thing in the morning to see Dr. Chang again. He was baffled to hear that her symptoms had worsened and advised that we admit her. It was the best thing we did for little Zee.
From Saturday's rapid breathing and fever to Sunday evening, Zee's condition improved greatly with the great attention the nurses and doctors provided and the treatments given to her such as oxygen inhalation 4 times a day, IV drops, administered antibiotics, Vitamin C tasting powder, fever reducing medicine along with food such as rice, vegetables and rice porridge.
The side effects she experienced from the antibiotics was limited to diarrhea accompanied with the usual redness and peeling of the bum area. They provided anti-diarrhea medicine and topical cream to counter the side effects. By Tuesday, the doctor could tell us that the results were in and she was confirmed to have had mycoplasma or bacterial lung infection. By Tuesday, she had had two full days of no fever and thus could go home on Wednesday.
Recommended Home Remedies:
Along with this experience, I received a tremendous amount of support from friends and family whether it came in the form of thoughts and prayers to all gods imaginable, I believe they all helped her heal. This experience also taught me that it really pays to be prepared ahead of any unforeseen sickness.
Vicks Vaporub - If you are Latino, you know that this ointment made from Eucalyptus Oil, Camphor and Menthol cannot be missing from your house. We used the air humidifier as a form of vaporizer and added half a spoon of Vicks to the water. This helped her sleep a little better at nights. We also followed the advice of my mom and other mommies and rubbed the Vicks on her chest and back. When her fever was so high that all her upper body was burning but her feet were super cold, the Vicks was rubbed on the sole of her foot, covered with socks would help pull the fever from the centralized area.
Onions - I had never heard of onions healing sicknesses until this episode. My Belizean mommy-friend in Tainan advised to put some onions in her socks to pull the sickness away. While I didn't do this particular action, we cut the onion and put it close to the bed where she slept. Astonishingly, the onion started to pull out towards her. This was unbelievably scary to see and it really made me believe there was something going on and my daughter was being healed.
Vitamin C - for some reason, we forgot that this is an essential part of aiding kids grow up healthy and thanks to this episode, we will now keep oranges, guava and any vitamin C- rich fruit at home.
Honey and Lime - Zee loves lime, and we keep them at home to make ceviche but we don't keep honey. It is not something we think of buying and keeping. But now I have a full bottle in our pantry and I'll make the effort to give my baby once in a while.
Cod Liver Oil - Bernie said, this is why the nanny would give Zee Salmon every day, to boost her immune system from a tender age. When we moved to Hsinchu, we stopped feeding her anything close to fish. Now we are in the hunt for some good Omega 3 kids products. Any recommendations of brands used are welcome.
Air Purifier - It seems even dusting off surfaces and cleaning daily is not enough to keep flu symptoms at bay, according to another mommy in Zhunan. We have been recommended to keep air purifiers at home to help clean the environment, especially because we have babies and toddlers with developing respiratory systems. Unlike us adults, they are prone to get sick 7 -8 times a year, said Dr. Chang, especially in their first year of kindergarten. While we cannot control the environment at school or day care, we can do our part at home.
Scott Emulsion Syrup - recommended by Bernie's dad, this syrup is known among Belizean parents to help boost children's immune system. I vaguely recall drinking it while growing up and so I guess I turned out fine with the help of it.
Nebulizer - This was recommended by a Belizean doctor friend and my mom. For kids who get sick often, they said it is good to have at home. There is a special solution that needs to be put inside the machine and for this, I am not sure how to obtain. The best thing is to check with your doctor if you are already thinking of buying it.
We are super grateful that today, she can sleep with a normal breathing pace and is able to play normally with her little friends in kindergarten. But Dr. Chang advises that other viruses are around so the best thing is to keep using the masks in crowded or enclosed spaces. We can relax knowing that if we go hiking or out to the park, she can play without the need to wear it.
We are also grateful for the many messages we received and each of you know how you played a special role in the recovery of little Zee. You made me a strong momma and in turn, I could have given that strength to Bee and Zee.
Gracias! Mil Gracias!