Friday, July 28, 2006

Realistically speaking. . .

My friend Julie, who is spending the summer in China, commented in a recent email that she hates it when people paint an overly rosy picture of foreign experiences. She was speaking of her own experiences, of course, but it got me thinking. I have been editing out some of the more colorful details of our lives here. I know it comes as a surprise that there are less than perfect days here, but it can't all be pad thai and mangoes. In the interest of full disclosure, this post will be an entirely upfront account of the past week. Hopefully this will prevent the real estate boom that would have been caused by all of you moving here to experience Thai fire drills.

This week has been a, uh, shall we say, challenging one, to say the least. Monday afternoon I was in the 7-11 with Trea when she grabbed her arm and said "hot." She'd been bit or stung by something, and her arm was swelling. Her arm continued to swell for the next 30 minutes, until I jumped in a songtaew and took her to the doctor. He was a bit worried about it, but didn't think it needed serious treatment. He gave me some cream, some antihistamine and another medication. Then he mentioned that there has been a lot of dengue fever lately. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be fatal in some cases. Dengue mosquitoes bite during the day and are common in urban areas. With all the rain we've had lately, breeding conditions are excellent and dengue is a real threat. Especially since the only treatment is "rest and drink lots of fluids." Explain that to a toddler!

Of course, after this incident, Trea spikes a 103 degree fever at 9 pm that night. We don't have a car, the public transportation becomes spotty after 9 pm, and we can't reach any of the four people with cars who have given us their phone numbers just in case this sort of situation arose. Realistically, I know that the chances that Trea has dengue are not high, and that even if she does, it's a tiny percentage of people who die from it. But that's my rational mind. My mommy side is paranoid and already racked with guilt that I brought my innocent, vulnerable little girl to this country when you can get horrible diseases from mosquitoes.

Just as I am imagining the worst, we track down my boss in her office, and she immediately takes us to the hospital (have I mentioned what a great boss I have?) We're in the waiting room when Trea vomits all over herself and me, several times. The funny thing about being a parent, is that you kind of get used to vomit. At least I have. Long story short, the doctor isn't sure what's wrong, but can't diagnose dengue until Trea's had the fever for three days. I'm still not sure why that is, since we read online that dengue is diagnosed by a blood test, but whatever. They give us a fever medication and send us home.

Tuesday, Trea is sick all day, complaining of a sore throat, refusing to eat, and generally being miserable. I've said this before, but there is nothing so miserable as watching your baby be sick and not being able to help at all. She also had her nap completely ruined because, after 30 minutes of trying to get her to fall asleep and finally succeeding, the air conditioning repairmen show up. They were supposed to come Saturday morning, but you know, Tuesday afternoon, Saturday morning, whatever. I can't speak Thai well enough to say come back later, and even if I could, who knows when they would come back. A sick baby is so fun, why not add some exhaustion just to spice things up a little?

Wednesday, Trea's throat is worse, so we go back to the doctor to be checked for strep. No strep, but on the way home, crossing the street, I accidentally step knee-deep into a mudhole in the median. I was a spectacular sight, covered in mud on one leg, mud splashed all over my khaki capris, carrying a baby who is determinedly looking down at her mud-covered mother. If the locals thought farangs were odd before, they're sure of it now.

Wednesday night, Trea can't sleep at all. She's up until midnight, sleeps until 3:45, then is up until 6:30, sleeps until 9, is up until 2:30 in the afternoon. By now John is also sick, so he's home but not much help. I'm threatening to book tickets on the first plane back to the States. John wisely refrained from reminding me that Trea also occasionally got sick in the States. The thing is, when Trea got sick in the States, I understood everything the doctors said, and I had a car to take her to the doctor or hospital in the middle of the night, and I could call my mother and get advice (or just vent about my day). I still call my mother but I have to time it so it's no the middle of the night in Maryland. Minor detail, I know, but there's something about being sick in a strange country that is worse than being sick in familiar surroundings.

Fortunately, Thursday night went smoothly and Trea has steadily improved since then. We've had a quiet weekend trying to recover from the week we've had. Whatever force you believe controls the universe - God or karma or the law of averages - this week has got to be better than the last one!


suprbacana said...

I hate the law of averages! I always feel a sense of inevitable sickness looming as Preston decides to bust out more teeth. Every tooth in his mouth represents a bad cold with a couple ear infections thrown in for good measure! Poor Trea.....I hope she feels better!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like so much fun! I love reading your blogs. You make me excited to come over there.
-Your sister, Erin

Mom J. said...

Reality strikes again! I talk to John on the phone and everything is fine. "How are you doing?" "Fine." "How is school?" "Fine." "What's it like over there?" "It's good." I have to read your blog to get the real mommy story.

Anonymous said...

Update, update!