Parenting: Treating Stomach Flu

How has 2015 been for you all so far? Well, it wasn’t really that good for me. I was down with Stomach Flu on the first weekend of 2015. I spent my weekend and first half of the week sleeping away and trying to recover. As I’m typing this post, I’m still suffering from diarrhoea. Thankfully the vomiting is getting lesser and I’m now able to keep some food in my stomach. Oh the feeling is terrible. It doesn’t help that our helper is back to her hometown and I thank all those who helped out with the kids and the house during this period.

Talking about Stomach Flu, its something Chubby and myself really feared. Especially when it happens to our boy. You can read more about it here. And just last month, the boy suffered from Stomach Flu again and we rushed him to the hospital without taking any chances. His stomach flu virus was so strong that he subsequently pass the virus to his 3 cousins, sister, Aunt and Grandma.

Through this 2nd bout of Stomach Flu “experience”, we learned something and I think its worthy to note it here and share with whoever is interested.

1. Stop the Vomiting
The reason why we sent the boy to the hospital was to have medication to stop the vomiting. This is rather important as vomiting will cause him to become dehydrated. And if the vomit isn’t treated, drinking water will just trigger more vomiting. Hence, first thing first is to stop the vomiting. No injections were required, they are just given a small cup of oral medication which depends on their weight.

It is important to note when was the last time the kid vomited so they can start the monitoring process.

2. Monitoring and Glucose Water / Ribena
Half an hour after the medication and the kid does not vomit, you can start to administer Glucose Water or Ribena. We were given Glucose Water at the hospital. And they are only allowed 15ml every 15 minutes.

Remember not to over feed or it will trigger the stomach and cause vomiting to come back.

These few days when I’m down with Stomach Flu myself, I applied the same technique on my own. I was so hungry but I couldn’t get any food in. So I had a small mouthful of Ribena every 15 minutes. Thankfully I didn’t vomit the Ribena out and I felt better with the sugar in my body, though I was still hungry.

After an hour of monitoring and Glucose Water, if there is no more vomiting, then its likely the anti-vomit medication is working and the kid can go back home. Else, an admission may be required.

3. More Monitoring and Milo-Kosong
Luckily for us, Zai didn’t vomit after the hour. We brought him home and continue to monitor him. However, when he woke up from his sleep, he was so thirsty he requested for water. We make the big mistake of allowing him to gulp down lots of water. Yes, the next moment he puke everything out. Although the medication has worked, but his stomach is still not ready for an influx of water.

We chose to follow by the 15ml every 15 minutes rule. So we let him had 15ml of plain water to quench his thirst. We were lucky that he was willing to take some Milo. So we make some Milo-kosong (just Milo powder with no milk as we are unsure if milk will trigger further impact on his stomach). Again the Milo was just 15ml each time although he requested more. The reason we chose Milo over Ribena is because we think Milo will be more filling for his stomach.

For the boy, he slept most of the day away while his body tries to recover. In between the Milo feeds, there was also water feed. Depending on what the boy requested. We went through this for about 1.5 days.

4. Liquid Diet
When the boy appears to be better, we gave him liquid diet. We started with his formula milk. The doctor told us its ok to give milk without dilution. But we were a little skeptical. So we still somewhat dilute it. And we didn’t start with a full bottle, but just 50ml for his first feed. After ensuring that he is not about to throw up, we slowly increase the amount. Then we move on to giving him porridge and soon his on the road to recovery.

This is what we did to treat the Stomach Flu. How about you? Do you have other advice? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Some really important points to note:

  • Keep the kid hydrated. Not to over feed them with water, but make sure there is always water intake.
  • Go to the hospital if the vomitus is green or vomiting does not stop. My niece suffered from green vomitus and was dehydrated from all the vomiting that she had to be admitted.
  • Not sure if it is related, but my daughter and elder niece who had Rotavirus Vaccine suffered the least in this “saga”. (Not trying to promote the vaccine here, but this is what we observed. And IF you do want to administer the vaccine do note its only for infants below 8 months.)

When kids are sick, the parents or caregivers are those that suffer even more. Having to take care of them and you know how kids tantrums are when they are not well. Its a toll on everybody. Hence I wish every parents and every kid will have good health in this 2015.

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Muscle Spasm – Aftermath (3)

Now that the incident is slowly getting over (I certainly hope so), I want to reflect back on what happened during this period.

Taking Care of Myself
I admit all the backaches started from my improper posture while breastfeeding my girl and when I was expressing out milk for her. I didn’t find a proper place to express when I’m home. I just sat down on the floor with no proper back support and slouch most of the time. Carrying the kids is also an issue. With them getting heavier by the days, I sometime just stick out my hip and place them on it when I carry them. We all know that is very bad for our posture. But sometimes, I just couldn’t help it. And I always ask myself for how long can I still carry them? Very soon they will be running on their own not wanting to be restricted by me. So I should cherish these moments.

What has been done, cannot be undone. From now on, I will remind myself to use a proper posture when I carry the kids. I should also take good care of myself as my kids still needs me a lot.

Spending more time with my girl
I also need to spend more time with my girl and give her more sense of security. During my audit I was talking to my QA manager and I spoke about how my girl always wake up in the middle of the night and wanting me to sleep with her. Her first reaction was that my girl lacks a sense of security. It had never occur to me the reason is so. But now that she mention, I think it makes lots of sense.

Besides, during this whole incident, Chubby was a little impatient with her as she insists on wanting me to carry her or me sleeping in her bed. She got caned by Chubby on one night and she ran into the room hide in her bed and started sucking her thumb. This again reminded me about a research I once did when she started sucking her thumb when she was still a baby. I read that a lot of time babies started sucking their thumb because they felt neglected and the sucking action give them a sense of comfort. Again, this is a timely reminder that we didn’t spend enough time with her.

I spoke to Chubby about this, he agrees with me. And also admits that he didn’t spend as much time with her as compare to our boy. He make a concious effort to play more with her. For me I also spend more time with her since I’m on MC and HL this few days. She appears to be better. At least she allows her daddy to soothe her back to sleep at night so I can get my rest.

We both hope we can spend more time with her from now on. With her brother around sometimes this really prove to be difficult. Maybe we need to take leave on certain days and bring her out for a one-to-one session.

Hospital A&E
Having visit the A&E twice in 3 days, I must say that it is really a horrible wait. I wonder if more can be done like having more doctors on duty rather than just 3. Yes, I agree that some cases that came in may be quite trivial, but on a Sunday night where most GPs are close, doesn’t it make sense to have more doctors working? And for cases like mine, I’m not sure if GP will be able to help since they can’t take an X-Ray there to have a preliminary diagnosis. Oh, and lets not forget that our government want a population growth to 6.9 million in 17 years time. By then, I will be 51, and I will need a robust healthcare system even more. I really can’t imagine.

While in the observation ward of the A&E, I had two fellow patient (one after another) in the same room as me. Co-incidentally, both are elder ladies. From the brief time they were there, I can see how it is a fear for everyone, when they need to stay in the hospital. The first old lady keep telling her relative that there isn’t a need to stay in hospital, its something very minor. And luckily for her she doesn’t need to be admitted officially. The second lady was not so lucky. She needs to be warded, and she couldn’t believe it and asked why so, since she is just having diarrhoeal. Instead of answering her, the nurse decides to talk to her son first and gotten his consent and told her that her son had agreed. It sounds a little heartless, but I guess the nurse is use to elder patients who refuse to be warded. I also heard of a patient in another room refusing to be warded and insist on going home.

I think for old people they really have the fear of staying in hospital. The fear that once inside they won’t be able to get out. Not only them, I guess for younger people like me also don’t wish to be warded. But if the need really comes, we probably will go along better than the elder folks. Illness is something that we all fear and yet can’t run away from.

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Having say all these I just wish everyone (myself including) a good health. Stay fit for ourselves and for our love ones, cause they suffer together with you when you fall ill.

Muscle Spasm (2)

On Monday, I ate the painkillers and tried resting at home. I spend most of the day lying down on the bed. My girl saw me and wanted me to carry her or played with her. I had to keep explaining to her that I couldn’t do it as my back is painful. I felt bad. I couldn’t give her the basic comfort she need from her mum. I was again very angry with myself.

Tuesday came and I thought I was better. But it turn out worst. I could hardly walked to the toilet to brush my teeth or sit down on the toilet bowl. Chubby felt that I should go back to A&E and see what else can be done. He suggested calling in the ambulance. But due to “face” issue, I insist that I will be able to walk to the car. So he drove us there. When we reach, he tried to get me a wheel chair. While he was struggling with it, a nurse came out to help and asked what is wrong with me. Chubby says I was under severe lower back pain. So they asked if I wanted the “bed” instead. Not wanting to act strong anymore, I said yes. And I was put onto a trolley bed and immediately wheeled to the critical care department of the A&E.

Once inside, the doctor came to look at me. Asked similar question as they did on Sunday and I told them I didn’t feel better after the pain killers. They did a few more checks and push me to a temporary area to wait as they “observe” me. I was given a few more pain killers and asked to rest there.

A few hours later, the doctor came to check. She asked me to stand up and walk which I tried but it still hurts a lot. So she say she probably have to ward me for another 8 hours to observe. So I was briefed and warded into the A&E observation ward. While there, they basically just gave me more painkillers and ask me to lie on the bed.

But indeed I got “better”. I was able to walk to the toilet without feeling the sharp pain. The doctor came just before dinner time and asked how I’m doing. I told him and ask more questions. The conclusion they arrive is that I’m suffering from Muscle Spasm. This is mostly due to poor posture. It starts with a small amount of muscle will go into spasm and it will go away on its own quite fast. However, as it goes into spasm, it pulls the nearby muscle with it. So the area of the spasm will get bigger and bigger. I think his explanation make sense since I have been experience back aches for quite a while.

I checked on the likelihood of a slip disc. He says that it is unlikely as slip disc normally have a numbing effect on the leg if it is at the lower back. But for me I don’t have any of such feeling. So its more likely to be a muscle spasm and the only way to help is to do physio to strengthen the back muscle. He says that it is likely to occur again, so I have to take special care and to do my physio diligently.

I was relieve to know that it is not a slip disc. This means I don’t have to operate. I told myself that I will be a good girl and will do my physio as per instructed.

Today is Friday. my back still hurts. I couldn’t really sit for long, I wonder how am I going to survive work on Monday. But nonetheless I’m glad that this incident is slowly getting over. I wish to carry my kids once again and hope that the day comes soon.

Muscle Spasm (1)

I have been really quiet this two weeks because work got me really busy in the first week of April and health caught up with me on the 2nd.

I have an audit to take care on top of my usual work stuff in the first week of April. I was thankful that I still manage to knock off on time during that week, to come home and play with my kids although I’m so tired that I could just crash into bed and sleep.

Finally, my audit was over on Friday morning. That morning, Chubby bought the kids to play truant and ended up in Hokey Pokey in the morning and a swim in the evening. We went to chomp chomp to had a really sinful dinner that night. After having “de-stress”, we brought the kids to botanic garden for breakfast on Saturday morning. It looks like a perfect way to spend the weekend.

On Sunday we brought the kids to my parents place and even came home earlier so the kids can play with their cousin. Just as I was stepping into the bath room trying to take a shower, something weird happened. I felt my back “giving way”. I had to hold on to something in order to stand up. I quickly shower myself, hoping for the pain to go away. But it didn’t.

It was already close to 9pm when it happened. I called Chubby into the room and he helped checked on the closing time of the clinic nearby. The website stated 10pm. Together, we slowly walked over as walking is causing a strain on my lower back. When we reach the clinic at about 9:20pm, the nurse at the counter said they are closed! And their operating hour is until 9:30pm! The doctor have just left.

Imagine how I was feeling, enduring all the pain to walk to their clinic and was cheated by the website operating hours. This is the 2nd time it happened to us. The website didn’t update their operating hours accordingly. I couldn’t imagine how such a big Parkway Health Group can let such a small thing happen. Maybe its really so small that it doesn’t matter to them.

Chubby have no choice but to flag a cab to send us to SGH, the nearest hospital. Well, at least when I reach SGH, I was put onto wheel chair so I don’t have to walk around. But the wait at A&E was horrible. I waited for about 2 hours before my number was called. By then, my pain has worsen. Even sitting down causes a strain on my back. When I was wheeled into the doctor’s room, I could still lie down flat on my back and try raising my legs as per instructed.

I was given a jab on my waist area to help relieve the pain. But I didn’t feel it work cause I felt more pain after that. I was sent to the X-Ray department to take my X-Ray. I waited for a while before I was wheeled into the x-ray room. By then, my pain had worsen that I couldn’t even lie down flat on my back. When I turn my body to a certain angle, a sharp pain will shoot across my back. It didn’t help that the radiologist tries to “help” by pushing my body. We tried a few times and I couldn’t lie down flat for her to take a proper x-ray.

She had no choice but to call in other nurses to help (which, till now I don’t know how it helps). While, she was gone, I slowly inch myself to lie flat. I realise without her forceful “help”, I could lie down better and is able to get my back almost flat on the x-ray machine. When she is back with the other nurses, they could only ask “You really can’t lie flat on your back?”, “Very Painful”. Yes I have a low threshold for pain. And yes its very painful. But I was too painful at that point of time to be angry or upset with them. I didn’t bother about them but just slowly inch myself to a position where they can take the X-ray as best as possible.

And finally, I make it to 90% and I asked if this is good enough. The radiologist say we can try to take and see how it comes out. And luckily it turns out okay. So I was sent back to wait again for the doctor to call. After seeing my x-ray, the doctor says everything seems alright. He can’t deduce anything from the x-ray. He says it could be a slip disc or just muscle spasm. Which is treated the same way. So I was sent home with some pain killers, 3 days MC and an appointment with the orthopaedic in 1 month time.

I can’t imagine that I reach SGH and register myself at before 10pm and left the place after 12am. So much for being an A&E. When I reach home, lying on the bed is also a challenge. I could hardly move myself around. And my girl is not in her best behaviour and is crying for me to sleep with her on her bed, which I obviously can’t do at that moment. So against her struggle, we put her up on our bed, pat and sang to her to soothe her back to sleep.

It was a tiring night as I could hardly sleep with all the pain. And the fear that I have a slip disc lingers around me. I was angry that I didn’t take good care of myself. The backache issue has been bothering for about half a year, but I didn’t do much about it and let it worsen. How am I to take care of my kids now.

I was really angry and upset and praying that it is not slip disc… (TBC)

Fit & Fab Friday: 20s and 60s

I was just talking with a customer on the phone and we venture into the topic of health. I knew he had a serious gastric issue last year and asked him how is he now. He went on a little further to reveal his weight issues and thereby leading to high blood pressure. Well, I’m a little shock to know about these. I mean he is so young. He is only in his late 20s now. How can he be suffering from all these?

I then share with him something my Chinese Physician told me:
二十三十去找病 五十六十病找你

Direct translation would mean that when we are in our 20s and 30s, we went to find illness. When we reach 50s and 60s, illness came to find us. In a nutshell it means that during our 20s and 30s, we feel that we are young, so we don’t take care of our body (thereby “going” to find illness). When we reach our 50s and 60s then we realize that our body is no longer healthy. All the bad habits from our younger days have slowly affected our health. Hence, illness starts to come and “find” us.

I don’t know why but I was greatly impacted by this sentence, although its nothing really new. Maybe its how the sentence was presented, it makes me think twice about all the bad habits I have. Especially now that I’m a mother, I need to stay healthy for the whole family.

So what are some of the bad habits we can kick in order to stay Fit?

  • Exercise
    Ah~ this is the obvious but also the most difficult (for me at least). I have told myself that I will spend every Wednesday lunch to work out at the office gym. But three Wednesday have pass, I have yet to do any workout yet. I must do it next week.
  • Avoid cold drinks
    This I think is slightly easier. I have been trading my cold drinks for something hot. It helps that the weather is cold these days. I have tried to avoid drinking bubble tea for a few weeks. And promise myself I will only indulge once every 2 weeks (for now) at most. Sometimes, I totally skip the drinks and opt for the healthier plain water.
    Ice-water at restaurant has also been traded for warm water.
  • Avoid fried and oily food
    Lucky for me I don’t fancy oily food. As they make my gastric real bad. I will be burping like crazy. So I have been avoiding oily food for a while. But fried food is something that gives me a harder time. Sometime you don’t see the oil “dripping” and you somehow felt that it is not so oily. But alas, we are deceived by the outlook. We have bought an air fryer to help us in this area. But my final aim is to really keep them to the minimum.

Some of the bad habits are easier to kick. Some are harder. But I think we should all give it a try. Not only for ourselves but for our love ones.

Multi-Vitamins, Calcium and Breast Feeding

We all heard about the raves of Breast Feeding our child. The benefits it brings are a long list. However, Mummies please beware and take care of yourself too! This is my story.

I visited a Chinese Physician last Thursday for a back pain (more on this later) and I was shocked that one of the finding that the Physician had was that the density of my bone is not good. How he does it I’m not sure, but I do believe that its true. Why?

Just before I got pregnant with my first child, I did a bone density check. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but it does tell me that I have really healthy bones. I’m not surprise as I do drink up lots of milk. So how did all that changed through 2 pregnancies and breast feeding?

According to a nutritionist that was briefing us in one of the antenatal classes, the baby requires lots of calcium to grow when they are in our tummy. If they couldn’t get enough calcium from our blood, it will start to draw the calcium from our bones. Thereby making our bones weaker. So calcium intake is particular important during pregnancy. She recommends that we take calcium pills, drink milk or soy drinks with added calcium and eat ikan billis. My gynae did prescribe calcium pills for me. For my first pregnancy I couldn’t take milk, I will puke them all out. So I went for the soy milk with added calcium. For my second pregnancy, I was able to drink fresh milk. However, I must admit that I wasn’t so faithful in eating my pills as I tend to forget about them during weekends.

But what I didn’t know is that I need to take the calcium and multi-vitamins when I’m breastfeeding. So after I gave birth to my son (who is my firstborn), I stopped taking the pills. But I continued to drink milk everyday.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found out that I actually need to continue eating the multi-vitamins and calcium in order to produce “good” quality milk. So I continue to eat them. But I didn’t buy back the same multi-vitamins which my gynae “prescribe” me. Instead I bought a different brand on the recommendation of my colleague as it contains DHA. This means I need not take extra pills. However, how wrong I was.

Recently I read an article on Young Parents, it actually state that we should be careful when taking vitamin pills. Multi-vitamin pills that contain Iron should not be eaten with Calcium pills, as Iron will blocked the absorption of Calcium! *Thunder* Yes! The multi-vitamins that I have been taking the past year with the DHA contains Iron. This means I have been wasting money on my Calcium pills for the past one year. This means I have not been “refilling” my calcium for the past one year!

With all these information, I believe the physician is right about my bone density. However, I still believe its still not to late. I can start increasing my calcium intake now and hopefully my bone density can recover soon. I suddenly have an image of Michelle Yeoh doing martial arts appearing in my head (successful marketing). I think maybe I should give that milk a try.

So breast feeding Mummies, while we are all doing the greatest thing for our child, please also look after ourselves, otherwise we will be a burden to them when we are old. Check your multi-vitamins and make sure you take in Calcium!

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Gastroenteritis / Stomach Flu / Rota Virus and Seizure

As mention in my previous posts, Zai came down with Stomach Flu which eventually lead to a seizure. I think its good that we learn some lessons from it. Putting it here to share with all and also to remind myself.

  • Give soy milk instead of normal milk when the kid suffers from diarrhea.
    My colleague actually told me before (not long ago) that her PD advises her to give her kid soy milk when she had diarrhea. But I forgot about it. So we actually continued to give Zai normal milk (although diluted) during the initial period. I think it made his diarrhea worst. We only bought the soy milk formula when he was discharged from the hospital and my mum reminded me about it.
  • Dilute the milk
    If the kid refuses Soy, you can try diluting it. Should help the situation. And I learn from the GP, which we send Zai to last friday, that when the kids have phlegm its better to dilute the milk be it soy or normal as the milks will actually create the phlegm.
  • Re-hydrate
    When the kids suffers from diarrhea and vomiting, its very easy for them to get dehydrated. Hence its important to re-hydrate them. We gave him Ribenna and glucolin. Otherwise you can purchase Hydralyte from the pharmacy.
  • Note the seizure pattern
    How is the seizure like. Is it stiffening of all 4 limbs? Severe jerking? Clenching of fists? Rolling of eyes? Lips and Fingers turning blue? This will help the doctors and nurses determine if it is really a seizure.
  • Time the seizure
    It is important to note how long is the seizure. I think its common that its around 1 to 2 minutes. If its longer than 5 minutes there can be damage to the brain. Send them to the hospital immediately.
  • Activity after the seizure
    Is he conscious?  If he lost conscious, how long was it? Was he more lethargic? Actually I think they will be more lethargic after the seizure. For Zai he “lost conscious” after his first fits. But we are not sure because he is tired and fell asleep or he really lost conscious. Cause when we move him when we reach the hospital, he woke up. I think we will need to call out to his name after the seizure just to check.
  • Treatment for the seizure
    When it happens, just lie him on the side. There is nothing much to do at that time. In the hospital, they will give him oxygen to reduce the chance of a brain damage. (Hence, if they are not able to diagnose cause of the seizure, its better to admit the kid into hospital. In case it happens again, the oxygen is important.) More importantly, don’t stuff anything into their mouth during the seizure. Just ensure you clear all the items around them so they don’t hurt themselves physically because of the stiffening. Its very unlikely they will bite their tongue. So don’t hurt them by trying to stuff things into their mouth.
  • Chart your child development
    Seizure are closely related to brain. So the doctors will always ask you about family history of fits or is there anything wrong with your child’s development. So luckily I always chart my child development so I know he has always been developing well. The common question they asked for my boy is whether he can speak at least 50 number of words. I think its dependent on age. So chart your child development just in case.

I hope I won’t need to use these information again…

This article was re-written for www.mummysg.com