We were looking forward to moving into our new apartment this month even though there were tons to do. Other than the renovation works to convert an empty apartment into our dream home, packing and the subsequent unpacking was a nightmare, especially when most of our children are all too young to help.
My son contributed by assisting with the boxing up, and he was ruthless in decluttering his personal belongings. For the adults, we cracked our head trying to fit all our clutter into the limited spaces. Newly built homes these days are never as spacious as the good old days.
I have relocated several times in my entire life, but I was never the one who steered the projects. My mum was always the one directing and taking up the bulk of the work involved in the packing and unpacking. I merely organised my belongings. This time, I am the mother who needs to pack for four children. As I went through the piles and piles of possessions we hoard, I often thought of my mum and applauded her fantastic ability to pack and unpack so many times throughout the 30 years I spent with her.
We didn’t know precisely what shifting into a new place would entail. We didn’t realise that falling sick would form part of the package. Not just one family member, but every single child and both parents fell ill because of the dust flying around the house as we packed up our stuff. It didn’t help that we cut corners with our cleaning routines ever since the arrival of the 2 babies. I thought I was smart. See my earlier post on this. The dust that accumulated within just 9 months was amazingly thick.
So who fell sick and what?
My hubby and I were the first 2 to feel the signs of allergy, sinus and cough. I had to subsequently wear a mask before I could continue with packing the books. We had bookshelves with doors…
Next, #4 developed a nagging cough and high fever. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis and gave her the nebulizer to ease her cough. One possible reason for getting bronchitis was the dust.
In the same week, #1 ran a fever and running nose.
#3 was next in line with a high fever. We had to run to the paediatrician twice in the same week as she was given antibiotics but subsequently developed rashes. I had a false alarm and thought the outbreaks were due to drug allergy. No, it wasn’t. #3 did a blood test; it was not a drug allergy. She had roseola, a viral infection that comes along with high fever, cough and rashes after the fever breaks.
Soon after, #2 also developed a high fever, severe enough for her to stay bedridden the whole day.
The following week, #1 and #2 went to KKH for their scheduled appointments.
#1 saw the respiratory specialist for his recurring asthma. Based on the symptoms he described, the doctor suspected that his cough is a result of an allergy in his airways. Thus she prescribed cetirizine ( a type of antihistamines) and nasal spray to tackle the allergy, hoping that his cough would go away. The allergen can possibly be dust mite, pollen, or even cold air.
#2 went for her half-yearly eye check-up. She was diagnosed with a lazy eye last year and was instructed to wear the eye patch over her stronger eye daily to strengthen her weaker eye. From wearing the patch 2 hours every day, she was subsequently told to increase the patch-wearing to 4 hours daily. As of her check-up last week, her lazy eye condition has stopped worsening, and she doesn’t need any treatment anymore. But the doctor still requested her to return for regular half-yearly eye checks.
So, everyone fell sick amidst of moving. I thought this sickly episode would end with us moving into our new place, with fresher air and less dust. I have mistaken again.
Just after a few days after moving in, #4 ran a fever once more. Armed with enough medication to run a drugstore, we gave her paracetamol and nurofen. The fever subsided to a low-grade one by the third day, but she remained lethargic. Typical for most newly built properties, mosquitoes and other bugs were our first visitors and feasted on our blood. #4’s blood and mine happened to be the most delicious. She had 5 huge bite marks on her leg since our first Saturday here in our new home. She consequentially developed a fever on Sunday night.
Considering her temperature lasted for 3 days and she was becoming languid, we brought her to the paediatrician again. The doctor suspected that she might have developed dengue fever (10 months old!!!). He took no chances and sent her for a blood test immediately, and had her standby for hospital admission. Fortunately, she was tested negative for dengue, but the doctor said her fever might have arisen from other insect bites.
Within the same week, both #3 and #4 each developed a whooping cough. Our stock of Pulmicort for nebuliser use was not sufficient for 2 babies, and we had to run to the A&E over the weekend!
Just as my hubby had said, our nebulizer is very well-used. See my earlier a post on this.
I am not sure if this is the end of the frequent doctor visits. I guess most likely not. But this is what I have learnt from the above episode.
Packing while having young children around
– As far as possible, keep the children away from the packing. Let them stay put in another closed room or bring them outdoors away from the dust.
– Surface wipe the area with a wet cloth which we are tidying up before even bringing items out of the cupboard. One big mistake we made was to bring our the books out of our closed bookshelves, thinking that the books are not very dusty. We were wrong, as always. My hubby suffered from a sensitive nose and a subsequent sore throat after he finished cleaning his books with a dry cloth.
A trick on handling a fussy baby who refuses the nebulizer
Most young children dislike using the nebulizer and would put up a fight to get the mask off their face. After my numerous struggles with my 2 babies, I observed that the easiest way to get through these ordeals is to place them in a baby carrier in a front facing position.
With their legs off the ground and hands out of the way, I only had to focus on placing the mask on their ever-turning head.
The babies have finally settled down tonight with a better night sleep and allowing me to complete this post.