Our little human being had her tryst with Covid in April, 2021. Even as I write this, I wish we didn’t have to go through this and we were not writing this blog. It was hard, it was heart wrenching and it was tough for our little one too.
Sharing what we did, what she did and how we got through these twenty days.
Symptom to Diagnosis to Quarantine Completion
17th April 2021 late evening Ira suddenly came down with fever. We met the emergency doctor at her Paediatric hospital the next morning. We were asked to give her paracetamol to keep the fever in check and observe for three days. The fever would come down a few hours later, but resurface again. In three days, we did a video consultation with her paediatric and immediately got the RTPCR done. She told Prashant that she never ever wants to get this test done again. Remember, she had gotten tested along with us in March and was negative. (http://madhurimadas.blogspot.com/2021/03/our-tryst-with-covid-19-learnings.html). The report came in the next morning and confirmed what we feared. Ira was Covid positive.
Ira had already seen us deal with Covid and home quarantine, while she stayed with Mashidida & Meshodadu and Dadu & Dida for 17 days. However, it is a whole new thing when she had to be isolated at home by herself. Prashant and I also got ourselves tested as a precaution and were negative.
We isolated Ira the moment she showed symptoms and she completed her isolation on 5th may 2021. A total of 19 days from day of symptom and 14 days from day of result.
A few things that we followed, which helped us and we would like to share, in the hope that it may help someone in a situation like ours- The Child tests positive, but the parents test negative.
1. Honest Conversation and the to-dos
Children are smart and observant. As parents in moments of crisis like this, open honest conversations help. This ofcourse is dependent on the age of the child and the discretion of the parents. Prashant told Ira the moment that she had fever that we are isolating her. He told her that the next few days till we know what is happening will be hard, we have to follow some rules so that all of us are safe. Our safety is our responsibility. Some instructions that were laid out and how it panned out:
· You will have to stay in this room by yourself. We are a shout away.
She discovered new ways of calling us and seeking our attention. Even called Papa and said, “Entertain me”
· You will have to take your bath by yourself.
She had been independently managing this for over a year now. So, it was quite fine.
· You will sleep by yourself. Ira had Paata for company.
Ira has slept by herself. So, she was ok. We just had to ensure to check on her to see how she is doing.
· You will be given all meals and you will eat by yourself.
We gave her small portions to start with, to ensure she finished what was on her plate.
· We will all wear masks all the time, except while eating and sleeping.
· Mamma will stay away as she is Asthamatic and is at higher risk.
· Papa will help you with medicines, steaming and temperature check at regular intervals.
· We will check about your tiredness level, breathing and any discomfort in chest.
· Mamma will record the temperature when we check.
· We will all take care of each other.
· We also acknowledged our fears, our sadness and the lack of choice that we had in this matter. The isolation was necessary.
The above may seem common sense but with a child, it is always important to spell things out as clearly as possible, breaking it into small pieces of information. We have to ensure this does not overwhelm the child and yet we will have to reiterate it several times a day.
2. The room for Isolation/Quarantine
We isolated her in the master bedroom, with an attached bath. Hand sanitiser, hand wipes , masks, her medicines, her water bottle, a glass - were all handy. We also took out some toys, some books that she likes to read and her summer camp materials for her. We also ensured that the balcony door was open and the room was well ventilated.
3. The little human being and her little ways
Ira is a child who is active and likes to do things constantly. The initial few days of the fever her energy levels were really low. This was the time when she just lay in bed. She wanted to attend her camp as she was enjoying it. So, we used her small table and set it up for her on the bed. She did not do any of the exercises or physically straining activities for a few days, but tried to do the rest- art and craft or even making a swiss roll. Over the next 14 days, she slowly regained her energy and was full enthu and waited for 10am for the camp to begin. The camp was a blessing for her at that time (There will be another blogpost on her summer camp soon). She told her camp mates that she was covid positive. Over the first week, once her fever had subsided and we just wanted to continue monitoring her temperature, Papa taught her how to use the thermometer. We usually have limited screen time. However, during the isolation, she had a bit more screen time.
This is what her typical quarantine day looked like:· Ira had her meals by herself and during the course of that, she would do her imaginative play. Sometimes Paata (her first doll) and sometimes Gecko were her conversation mates.
· Ira attended her camp every morning. Some days, she did all the activities. Somedays, she chose to skip some. We let her make the choice.
· Ira spent a lot of time reading and re-reading her favourite books- some Enid Blyton’s and Geronimo Stilton, her new found love.
· Ira also listened to music. She has an old phone that she used, and even played games like monument valley and talking tom dash.
· She played with her snap cards, and even made little books.
· Prashant introduced her to Wendy Mac and she really enjoyed doing a bit of drawing every day.
· She also had her calls with Joy where she told him about her quarantine and everything she was doing.
· We also ensured she naps every afternoon.
This was not easy for her by any means. She went through phases of feeling terribly low and would want to call Joy and talk. She would call Papa and say, “entertain me”. Mamma and Ira did socially distanced craft work once she felt a bit better. One day she was finding it tough to finish her dinner. Her appetite did get affected during covid. So, I wore my mask and stood next to her and fed her. Somedays, she wanted me to un-knot her hair and tie a plait. So, we would stand the way you stand in assembly lines and tied her hair. The number of times when we wanted to just reach out and hug her, hold that face tight and squish her in our arms. It is the reality of quarantining a child. You cannot stop being a parent and yet you want to ensure that you reduce the risk for everyone at home. You try so hard, grasping to every moment of sanity and rationality.
4. We as parents tending to our Covid positive child
One of the mornings, Ira suddenly began saying, ‘ohh…am going to die…this is bad”. The hypertense me rushed to her door and asked her, what was happening. She looks at me, gives me that naughty smile and says, “Nothing Mamma, just a little drama.” We are thankful to the drama queen in her, helped us see through some of the bleakest moments in recent times.
She does understand the seriousness of death, the way a child her age would and so this example is not to be seen as her being insensitive or oblivious to things around her. Just some drama, that is all.
We followed all instructions as given by her Paediatric. The important thing was to be constantly observant of any new developing symptoms and monitoring her temperature and vitals.
What we felt and what we did:
· Acceptance: One morning everything happening around just got to me and I was quite sullen. She looked at me from far and said, “Mamma, your life is hard? Look at me. Stuck in one room for sooo many days.” She would wake up every morning and count the number of days remaining!
· Planning the day: We both planned our days in advance, so that if she needed anything at any point of time, one of us can help. Every morning, we told her what the day looked like. As we were all quarantining, Papa moved his work meetings online and my classes and session were anyways online.
· Planning the meals: We also planned the meals for the day in advance and shared that with Ira. We do that usually but now, the effort was also to get her feel more excited about the food that she had to sit alone in a room and eat. One particular evening, she was feeling very low. It was also the day we had made some snowflake craft. I made some cloud paratha and snowflake paratha to cheer her up. It is often the little things that go a long way.
· Being in the moment: One of those days when the quarantine was almost coming to an end, she was very restless and wanted to hug Papa and they did. She just held on to him. All the while, both of them wearing masks.
· Coping: We both having dealt with Covid in March may have been a little better prepared this time around. But when it is your child, the emotional upheaval you feel is way stronger. I just broke down the morning we got her reports. Then, there was a time when I saw her sitting and staring out of the bedroom window, confined to that one room. It was heart wrenching to say the least. But we also realised that it made her feel good to just look outside. What broke our heart was her way to cope.
Things our little human learnt in these twenty days
· Learnt to take her temperature by herself.
· Learnt to do her steaming by herself.
· Learnt that she can take a quick bath. She loves playing with water but had strict instructions on avoiding that during this time.
· Learnt to make a brush robot in the camp, along with some Japanese writing. She was mighty excited about this.
Ira is now out of isolation. The day she finished her quarantine, we made her favourite food all day. Fish fry and chicken soup made it to the menu. We also did a family movie evening this week. While she was in quarantine, we ordered a kitkat chocolate cake from a home-baker friend. It was delicious and brightened her day for sure. Who needs an occasion for cake? Cherish every moment and just remember that our little humans are capable of showing resilience beyond our imagination. For now, glad to see her monkeying around, chattering away and claiming how being covid negative is making her super happy!
We, the Pramadhs are happy to talk and share our experience with you. If any of you reading this want to talk or ask any question, please reach out. We all need to be there for each other. From one parent to another, filled with gratitude, love and virtual hugs.
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