Well, THAT didn’t work!

It got me. I started noticing something off on Friday, and hoped it was just my allergies not responding to my allergy meds.

Friday night and onwards, I kept waking up with a closing up throat, or so I thought. It felt as if my throat was narrow and swollen and not letting air through. It kept waking me up! The nerve!

Monday, the runny nose kept running. Didn’t take a break. The nerve! I still tried to pretend it was nothing, even though given I constantly got bronchitis as a child, I knew what was up.

Tuesday, I had to admit it. I had it. And I couldn’t ignore it as it was messing up my sleep. Ok, truth is, I had started coughing and we know that that’s a recipe for disaster with this surgery. I was so busy last week worrying about the coughing potentially undoing all the sutures should I catch it, that I didn’t think about the pain. YIKES! Prof is a great surgeon. I never felt pain with his other internal sutures. But mesh!?? Oh.my. Word! Don’t get sick when you have an abdomen full of mesh! The pain lasts long after the cough has taken a break.

So off I went to the doctor to try find a way to reduce the coughing.

The doctor VERY angry with me as soon as she listened to my chest. I apparently had been sick for a while (Or it suddenly came on at full strength! You never know!) and my chest was not in a great state.

“You were obviously too worried about the children! I told you you’re a saint! But they need you! You need to make yourself a priority! And you’d better REST!”

It wasn’t easy doing that though. My poor angels had coughed so much that they vomited on rugs, clothes, bedding. The teens were already doing more than I wanted them to do. Husband was out jogging for six hours and left for Johannesburg, who else would do the work? you’d also not realise you weren’t ok when your world has gone off it’s axis and your children are falling off. (That weird imagery must be the meds talking?😂)

My asthma is also not under control at all so she prescribed a different

inhaler with totally different ingredients. I must do my two puffs as a twice a day no matter what. We will reassess after three months and see what happens if I try go off it.

She again reiterated that I must rest.

I’ve tried. But I had laundry to wash up today. My children are still not well so I’m up and down dispensing homemade remedies and reminding them to use the nebuliser and wrangling…

My poor angel! Oreneile (Oo-ree-nay-leh) is ok with having her nose sprayed. Not super happy, but ok. My poor Oreratile is another story. As many toddlers would be, autistic or not! She let me spray one nostril and shouted and pushed the bottle away and turned her head.

I kept trying because they were both SO frustrated. Her twin kept smacking her nose out of frustration and crying. And she herself couldn’t sleep because of it. She kept crying. But seeing the spray made her cry too and I just didn’t have it in me to force it…

Yesterday I felt like a terrible mother. As she lay on the compactum getting dressed after her bath, I brought the dreaded spray. As soon as she saw it, she tried to get up. She shouted, pushed, turned her head and I had to be the bad guy after all. I felt AWFUL!

But, she slept! She didn’t cry from her blocked nose, she didn’t stay up. She didn’t even cry, waking up earlier than normal this morning! She had such a sound sleep that she even pee’d through her diaper and it didn’t wake her. Shhh, don’t tell the doctor I did laundry. (Our part-time helper also caught it so she’s absent.) It helped! But I still wish I could explain to her so she understands I’m not just being mean.

Today, I tried to get her to accept the spray by calling each child by name, loudly htelling them I was going to use the spray as loudly, and then used it on them as she watched . It kinda backfired. Well, it backfired. Her twin asked me to spray her nose again while my intended target ran round and crawled behind the sofa and hid between the sofa and the wall! She’s never done that before, never gone there even to play, so I’m impressed! For a child who’s allegedly got a severely low IQ, for her to think, “Where can I hide where she won’t see me and can’t get in?” And do it is awesome! None of us could get her!😂

But poor angel again couldn’t sleep later, so I called her big brother to help carry her out of bed, and I told her I wanted to spray her nose.

Thank God, she just lay there. She did put her hand over her nose and I said, “Please?” Then she removed her hand and meekly lay there and let me spray both her nostrils. And now, she is asleep. No tears.

We won’t go into the light kitchen chores, the school exam prep I’m doing with the teens… We wont talk about the laundry I helped my teen daughter, Eliora (Ella) to bring down. We won’t mention that like all loving mothers, you can’t make yourself a priority if nobody else is forcing you to be one.

My friend in Kenya, her sister wishes she would meet a South African husband just so she can come and take care of me. My other friend in Tanzania is beside herself. “Can’t any relative come and watch the children and you just go away and REST!?? You’re not ok! You need to go away and rest! Your voice notes sound scary!” I just realised as I typed this that I definitely had been ignoring the problem. I think it’s because my breathing has never been ok right from the op. So late last week when my friend said I should not send voice brakes anymore as she’s worried about me because my chest sounds bad and I sound like I’m labouring to breathe 🤦🏾‍♀️it didn’t ring any alarm bells.

My friend here in Cape Town who like my OTHER friend here, is also chronically unwell and currently has a child recovering a from a terrible sickness and has another one she’s healing from, is not so sure I should not be in hospital.

But here I am, like all mothers who have no no support, holding down the fort truly on a wing and a prayer. Hoping we won’t fall apart.

I’m not gonna lie. Last night was bad. I kept waking up feeling like I was drowning. There was almost no air in my lungs. I’d wake up trying to breathe but it’s like there’s no space for much air to go in. This is much worse than that bad lung infection I had last year. It’s much worse than the Covid I caught a month after the lung infection. This one isn’t just waking me up wheezing and noisy with an irritating cough, it’s waking me up breathless. Breath-less. I wondered if I could hold on till tomorrow night for my husband to take me to hospital, saving in costs, or if I’d call an ambulance if it got any worse (But in my addled state he was returning today, not tomorrow.) I wondered if overusing this new pump would kill me faster than I already felt like I was dying or if it might help get some air into me. I was scared to use it and harm myself in the night when the children wouldn’t notice and get help on time.

I’m scared to fall asleep only to end up spending the night awake, wondering if I should be on oxygen. I spent my day counting hours till I could use the nebuliser again.

I have many hours to wait.

Here’s to hoping the meds have started to make a difference, though she did warn me that this will take a very long time to go away. And I’m grateful, so grateful that my children are not any worse, that they are stable and slightly better. Tears of frustration, and hacking coughs -sometimes faked by a certain seven year old when he two year old sister has a terrible cough attack -included.

They’re eating more, drinking and Ratie (Raa-tee) even played on the trampoline for a while. My seven year old is eating and not sleeping for six and a half hours during the day till we wake her, scared she might have died.

Yep, it’s been hectic. Any loving mother would have ignored their symptoms in such chaos. Shhh, don’t tell the doctor I am excusing my decisions! Here’s to healing. Here’s to controlled asthma. Here’s to my great teens who help without complaint no matter what, and still want to do school.

Shh, don’t tell the doctor about the school part! But in all honesty, we are mostly revising now so all I am doing is marking past papers and discussing subject choices.

Also…

(I’ve modified our hours. Taken away their morning lessons. 4:30am. Hey, we started it years ago when we adopted. My girl asked to do school when their new siblings were asleep, so they could play with them when awake. They therefore sleep at 20:30 and wake up at 4:30. I’ve taken away the 4:30 wake up so they get more rest. The twins wake at 7am (We wake them at 7.) Thoigh due to coughing or blocked nose or just being more wakeful because of being uncomfortable, it’s been 6am. Let’s not forget the cast on the arm.

Please may we heal faster than expected? Pretty please…As I hear the wheezing getting louder…🙏🏾 And yes, when I cough in the night, my immediate worry is that I’ll wake the children, then I mentally react to the pain.

We mothers or caregivers of anyone who’s weaker than us, have no idea what priority status means. How I wish my healthy friends stayed close by. I would definitely beg them to neglect their families for a bit and help me. I’m not stupid. I need it. I just can’t do it. Actually, they’d volunteer. Their concern says so.

And so, I pray for the next best thing. Fast healing.

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