The weekend before last saw me realizing yet again how, to me, there is no place like our home – Madras. I read this article in The Hindu’s Sunday magazine about how comforting it feels when consulting your family doctor and even as I read ‘thanking my stars I live in Chennai’, I felt like joining in saying ‘me too’.
That weekend was a stressful one. What started off as a mild fever for Sahana on Thursday evening turned into a high fever during the night and I naturally had to take the day off on Friday. I had to take her to her pediatrician who is available for consultation only in the afternoons. Sahana had become so dull and wasn’t even getting up. Even as I was planning to take her by auto, my mother-in-law saw that the neighbour’s driver was free at that time and that he can take us to the doctor in our car itself.
By night, the temperature had still not come down even after giving the prescribed medicines and the doctor, whom all these days was usually difficult to reach on mobile, but had suddenly changed to being easily accessible on mobile, asked me to bring Sahana to her residence. My father was back from office by then and he picked us up and took us to the doctor. The doctor prescribed another medicine, patiently answered all our questions and said I can meet her again the next day if I have any questions. By early morning, the temperature finally came down.
The morning dawned and that was when Sahana’s crying spree started – a few minutes or maybe even a half an hour of happily playing interspersed with sudden bouts of crying. The crying stopped every time I took her out. Despite the peak Agni Natchatiram heat, she was happy to play with all the kids/teenagers in the apartment, happy to roam around Nilgirs, happy to go on rounds in the two wheeler with her uncle. And after a while, she started crying even when outdoor.
The temperature went up to around 101, came down right after giving Crocin and in 4-5 hours, was again back to 101 and this was how it remained for the next two days.
By evening, she hadn’t eaten anything properly, she hadn’t even slept and her crying spells had not stopped. As the end of doctor’s consultation time for the day was nearing, I called her again and the doctor said she will see her. Sahana started crying on the way to the doctor too. But the moment we stepped into the clinic, there were no signs of crying and she happily played with all the kids and their parents in the clinic! Nobody would believe she had been crying all day.
The solution which the doctor gave for crying was what I was already doing – take her out of the house, let her play outside and guess what, take her to Nilgiris!
More crying ensued after coming back and the evening saw me taking Sahana to her cousins’ house where she happily played with them and thankfully, had her dinner as well and above all, fell asleep too.
At 4 am on Sunday, I had to give Crocin and the Crocin bottle which we had been easily opening since Thursday, refused to get opened! Half an hour of futile efforts later, I went to the nearby 24-hour medical shop and got the medicine. Though the person at the shop wasted quite a bit of my time trying unsuccessfully to open the new bottle, which I later did in a jiffy after nearly grabbing it from his hands, he was kind enough to give me their phone no. offering to do door delivery if any more medicines are needed in the future at night.
Sunday too saw us spending most of the time outside the house with Sahana playing with everyone in the apartment and relatives who came over. The night time again had us visiting the cousins’ house.
On Monday morning, her temperature was finally back to normal, but the crying was still there. We went to my parents’ house in the afternoon where she happily played with her grandparents as well as the neighbours there. Thankfully, it is summer vacation time and all the kids were at home.
On Tuesday morning, I thought she will finally be back to normal and was getting ready to leave for office when she woke up crying. This time I resorted to taking her to the terrace since she likes watching the pigeons and crows that come there in the mornings. All thanks to the birds and the neighbour who had come to water her plants and the neighbour in the next compound, Sahana had her first proper meal in the last few days and after some time fell asleep. And that was when I got the confidence that she would be back to normal on that day. She later woke up feeling afresh and full of smiles and I finally left for office relieved.
Those few days had me realizing yet again how Madras is my comfort zone and how much I love this city. Sahana has her grandparents to play with here. I can, without hesitation, barge in on any neighbour’s or relative’s house at any time to stop Sahana’s crying, take my own vehicle and go anywhere at any time of the day, get the help of the doctor whenever I want to and above all, go and be with my parents whenever I feel like. Besides, I have a wonderful team back in office who have always been a good support. Be it during the pregnancy when they made sure I had less work and let me take rest in office or during that week when I got concerned calls about Sahana’s fever.
Cut back to the scenario in Singapore where I am the only one for Sahana to play with most of the time, followed by my husband for just a couple of hours a day. Back in Singapore, there was this phase when after Sahana had started walking and climbing the stairs on her own, she would want to keep walking on the corridor and moving from one floor to another most of the time. She would pause outside one door after another, and alas, nobody will even open the door and there would be no one to talk with her! Even all the friendly old Chinese people won’t exchange more than a smile since they can’t speak in English.
I used to take her to the play area every day. Though she enjoyed playing on the slides etc. and roaming all around the wide areas between the apartment complexes without the fear of traffic, had a few friends too, none were as close as the people back home. You don’t have a dozen neighbours and numerous relatives whom you can turn to any time of the day. Of course, I have managed even worse crying bouts of her alone with and without my husband. But it was the human interaction that was missing there.
But, alas, thus is life and I will have to go back to Singapore after some more months. So last week, the Madras-crazy-me was yet again lost in thoughts of Madras and was hoping that the day when I would have returned to Madras for good would come soon.
P.S.: Babies appear so small and weak when they fall sick and till they can talk, crying is the only way they can express their discomfort.