Reluctant Nurse


I really don’t want to turn this blog into a moan-fest but I am having a particularly bad week. If truth be told, I have been hanging on by a thread.

Baby T has an ear infection and a nasty case of conjunctivitis that he has been struggling to shift for about two months, on top of a hacking cough and snotty nose he has had since October.  To say we are all worn out by it is an understatement.

I am the first to admit that I am not a natural when it comes to nursing. I hadn’t really appreciated before having kids just how much of the job is about patiently nursing various illnesses and I will admit it is not a part I enjoy.  It is true that the drowsy cuddles of a poorly baby are warm and cute – and there is something rather nice about being able to hold a usually busy toddler in a comforting cuddle for more than a brief moment.  But that is seriously all that can be said for this Florence Nightingale lark.

I seem incapable of just shrugging, accepting that this is the way of life with small kids and gritting my teeth before carrying on.  You would think I’d have learnt how to do that after three small, germ-filled babies but I apparenly haven’t.  I get highly emotional over it and go into a sort of toddler tantrum all of my own.

I veer wildly between feeling so sorry for the ill child in question that I want to bawl and getting so angry with being exhausted and housebound that I actually want to scream in the poor kid’s face.  I have never actually done that, I hasten to add, but the impulse has been strong. I am certainly more snappy and no fun to be around for the other kids, who are themselves grumpy and resentful of the boredom created by an ill household.

Since it isn’t the done thing to yell in snotty little faces, my next impulse is to run screaming out the door of our germ-filled house waving my arms in the air and shrieking at the top of my lungs, just for some relief.  Also not the done thing and, so far, another urge I have resisted.

Things I have not resisted when under quarantine are throwing small plastic items into walls, crying and punching cushions.

The worst thing about this particular bout of illness is that we have been getting next to no sleep.  T has had a fever most nights for the last week and no amount of Calpol or Nurofen seems to shift it.  So we juggle a feverish, miserable baby between us all night, taking it in turns to give him more drugs and try to comfort him.  It rarely works and he usually ends up in bed with me (with my husband banished) or sleeping with one of us on the sofa downstairs.  The exhaustion is debilitating and we both feel like we are struggling to keep normal life going.  Yesterday was particularly stressful as it was a work day for me and I felt I was failing on all fronts: as a mother and as an employee.

All these things shall pass, I know, and last night was a vast improvement, so I think we might be over the worst. The clouds of germ induced melodrama seem to be rolling away from me just a little. I just find it very hard to see beyond the next snot rag at times like these and I cope less well than I’d like. Roll on Spring and healthier times.

Right now, all I want to do is bundle my dear little Baby T up and comfort him, take away his misery and make him well. But at 4am, I can’t guarantee I won’t have a major urge to scream in his face.


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