We've had days where he's been happy, and playing around like his normal little self, albeit with one eye glued shut with crusty, yellow gunk (yes, I do try to clean it, but it causes him such anguish that I feel like an awful mum for even contemplating it). He had conjunctivitis at birth, and was prescribed drops which I had to carefully squeeze in when he was otherwise occupied with nursing. Now though, a mere year later, apparently they don't like to prescribe anything, because it might be viral.
We've had days where he's coughed all day, and all night, and we've torn our hair out trying to calm him down enough that he'll stop panicking and start breathing normally (Calpol and water, say the doctors. All very well if the suggestion of either didn't cause your baby to go into hysterical back-arching, body-twisting attempts to escape from the syringe/sippy cup).
I've been to work on 4 hours sleep, and have coped admirably all day. I've stayed home from work (which has made me really popular, having only been back for a few weeks) and seethed about the fact that not only am I not getting paid, but I'm also paying for a nursery place which is not being used.
Since the antibiotics started, we've had a rash across his back which came, caused yet another swift burst of panicking, then mysteriously disappeared again. He's had near-constant diarrhoea, which has made me glad that we haven't yet got around to commencing our cloth-nappy adventure (more on that later). The last visit to the GP, a full week after he finished the course of antibiotics, was regarding this diarrhoea. The GP said it can take weeks (weeks!) for the gut to rebalance itself and get back to normal.
Then on Wednesday this week, I came home from work to be greeted by J-cub who giggled and reached his arms out for a welcome home cuddle. Enjoying this lovely "Oh I missed you so much Mummy!" cuddle, Jamie filled me in on the projectile vomiting, diarrhoea, 4 changes of clothes, and lack of anything tangible being eaten all day. Stupidly, I asked "What was the sick like?". J-cub decided to helpfully demonstrate, by shooting the entire contents of his stomach all over me and everything within a 2 foot radius. Lovely.
It's really hard to find the balance between being an over-protective first-time parent, who turns up at A&E in the middle of the night because her baby isn't himself, and being responsible. Before I became pregnant, I hated going to the doctors, I hated hospitals, and I would rather cough my guts up for 6 weeks than admit that I might need a course of antibiotics. I used to panic at the thought of even ringing the doctors for an appointment, sure that they would think I was wasting their time (it doesn't help that when you feel like shit, and ring up for an appointment, they say "Is it an emergency?" If you answer no, which obviously it isn't or you'd be on your way to A&E, then you get booked in to see the doctor in 3 weeks time. When you'll be better. But saying "Yes", well that's just a bit too melodramatic for me.).
Now though, I'm having to get used to going to the doctors (a lot), and ringing the out-of-hours service (because if you ring NHS Direct, you have to go through half an hour's worth of questions, and then they tell you to ring the out-of-hours GP anyway, and you have to say it all again). But I still feel like a fraud, and like I'm wasting everyone's time, and like I should instinctively know when he should be seen and when I should cope on my own. I don't know, though. I'm terrified something will happen to him, that could have been prevented if I'd had him seen. I know I need to get over this, and I know that with time, I'll get used to saying "Give it a rub" rather than "Hop in the car and we'll pop down for an X-ray".
I also think that we're very lucky that in a whole year, this is really the first time that he's been properly poorly for a prolonged period of time. Aside from the bout of gastroenteritis around Christmas, and other mild colds and tummy bugs, he's had a surprisingly healthy year. But all that has done is to lull me into a false sense of security, and is possibly causing me to overreact now. I also need to remember that these are just run-of-the-mill illnesses, not something awful or scary or life-threatening that so many other parents have to go through. And I need to be (and am) thankful for that.
I just wish he would get better. I'm going stir-crazy in the house again: we can't meet up with friends, or go to groups, or go swimming. I think he's as bored as I am, and there has been far, far too much CBeebies on, and getting rid of that addiction is a battle I'm not at all looking forwards to.
The up-side to all this sitting around, is that we've created two awesome new games. One is called bucket-head, and the other is called balloon-face. I haven't captured balloon-face yet with the camera, but it involves holding a balloon up to your face, then lowering it and saying "Boo!" (or, in J-cub's case, lowering it and giggling). Bucket-head is self-explanatory, I think: