Li’s first fever (a long post)

I’ve been busy, very busy in the past few days, my aunt just left for home and finally I had some time to sit down and write another blog, until the babies wake up. They are both in sound sleep and the quiet moments in the house seem so precious. Looking back the past few days was really tough with Michael and Li both having fever, physically and mentally, but I am happy everything is back to normal and everyone is doing well. My aunt stayed with us for 9 days in a row and we worked day and night to make sure Michael and Li were well taken care of, I am just so thankful that my aunt is here with us, I don’t think we could have made it without her, she’s been so caring and strong.

Michael started feeling uncomfortable a few days ago, and quickly the Immune Defense didn’t seem to work and I had to give him high doses of ascorbic acid (powder Vitamin C), our friends David and Johanna taught us this wonderful remedy to take care of infection and virus in the body. Vitamin C, in the powder form, quickly goes into one’s system and boosts the immunity and helps getting rid of infection and viruses. And whatever excessive Vitamin C intake will get out of the system when diarrhea occurs, it’s completely harmless even if you overdose on it, as a matter of fact, you want to overdose it so you can make sure your body gets enough of Vc. Michael started taking it at 1pm, at each hour, 1 level tsp (not tablespoon) of ascorbic acid dissolved in small amount of water, and when he’s almost ready for his 6th spoonful, at 5:50pm, he had diarrhea. We weren’t sure if it were flu because he had fever the first night at 101.8, so my aunt and I quarantined him in the master bedroom so that the babies don’t get exposed to whatever he had. Poor Michael apparently missed the babies so much and often leaned on the wall watching them…

On Day 2, his temperature dropped, which was a great relief, we also did a lot of reading on line to learn about the differences between common cold and flu. They are actually very similar but a cold sometimes is not caused by viruses, in Michael’s case, it was because he had fever but since it only lasted for a day or two, it’s not a flu. Flu will be dangerous because a consistent high fever for 5~7 days can cause a lot of problems to the body, especially if there’s any bacteria infection, sometimes antibiotics will be necessary to kill the bacteria or virus so that it doesn’t get worse. We really don’t like to go to the hospital so once his fever was under the control, we were happy. To help with his discomfort, I used every possible natural remedies that’s out there:

– Vitamin C (as described before)

– Ginger tea (equal amount of white part of green onion and ginger boiled in water for at least 15 minutes on low heat)

– Mash green onion white roots taped on Yong Quan Point before going to bed (this is a remedy to help with flu)

– Mix flour with mashed garlic, form into a cone-shaped plug and stuff it in the nostril, switch between both sides for 15~20 minutes at a time, this instantly takes care of stuffy nose (garlic is excellent in killing virus)

– Steam vinegar in the house to kill virus (this is a popular home remedy in China to sanitize a room, I also tried Lysol but later on Dr. Gil said it’s toxic so we stopped using Lysol)

– Chinese herbal medication (this we learned there are two causes of cold, one by cold wind one by hot wind, and using the incorrect type of herbs will make things worse)

– Lot of warm water, porridge, fruits, liquids, green salads with eggs and home-made yogurt to boost his immunity

– Lots of green onion, garlic, ginger, onion in diet

We also find it very important to wear a mask in winter. Michael did some research on this and learned that the common cold or flu virus survive longer in winter because sun light actually kills them. When wearing a mask, not only it blocks some virus, more importantly, it keeps the breath warm, which protects the respiratory system and prevent the comprise of one’s immunity. So keeping the body warm is critical in prevention of common cold or flu.

On Day 3, Michael’s temperature was almost back to normal, the laptop kept him happy for his quarantined life can be very boring. On Day 5, he was handling the babies. We first placed Li in the living room but he didn’t sleep well in there, Lin did better but eventually we switched Michael into the guest bedroom so the boys can sleep better in the main room. We of course completely sanitized the master bedroom before moving the boys in there – changing sheets, wiping everything with alcohol, steaming vinegar, and opening the window, etc.

On Day 4, the thing I fear most happened, after the first feeding at 6am, I noticed that he felt warm, we took the temperature, it was 101.5. Li’s having a fever without any other symptoms like runny nose, coughing or sneezing. He’s also extremely fussy, and couldn’t go to sleep on his own. My aunt held him all day in her arms while I was cooking and figuring out what to do. I mixed some Vitamin C in his solid foods (now we are giving them raw green vegetable juice mixed with Bellamy’s rice cereal), it was really sour and he frowned at every spoonful he was taking but he ate with without a fuss, I am amazed how well these two little guys eat, they love being at the table and their mouths always open wide when a spoon gets near.

Li’s fever continued throughout the night, it’s still in the 101’s range but I was getting really stressed out watching him…all day, Li’s been kind of sleepy but he really couldn’t sleep, we gave him a lot of water and I tried breastfeeding as much as I could. Later in the afternoon, I dropped an email to Dr. Gil, asking him millions of questions, and he called back as soon as he receives the email, explaining that the hardest thing is for me to be happy for him, rather than being worried. It’s always soothing to hear Dr. Gil’s voice, because we just have the trust and comfort in him and we know he will do whatever is the best for the babies (unlike every other doctor I know, both in China and the US). He said, like he told me before, every baby will have fever, and fever is a friend, trying to suppress fever using medication will cause a lot of problems, Tylenol is hard on their kidney and liver, and it doubles the sick time even though it seems to relief the symptoms, however, fever is what our body does to rid of infection and virus, and forcefully lowering the temperature allows the bacteria, infection and virus to live longer in us and be more damaging. He said Li’s pretty strong because he’s handling the fever so well that he doesn’t have any other symptoms. He reaffirmed that the dangerous temperature to watch for is when it’s above 104, at that point, using a wet towel or a cool (not a cold) bath is necessary to help lowering the body temperature, the brain damage occurs when the temperature reaches 108. So we just need to watch them closely and carefully, keep them very warm and encourage them to sweat, also he said before the fever breaks, the temperature will rise even higher, a lot of holding, singing, and rocking will help them ease the discomfort. Even exposing Lin, who wasn’t sick at all, to the fever is not a bad idea, although we didn’t quite have the energy for two fussy babies.

My feelings and attitude took a drastic change after the phone call, it was a tough night, Li was definitely in pain, and his temperature continued to rise, as high as 103.5. His body felt really warm, we placed a wet towel on his forehead and used alcohol to rub his head to cool him off, I fed him and gave him water often. He was actually still in good spirit, and finally Michael was able to soothe him back to sleep at 3:30am, and he slept a few hours eventually. My aunt and Lin were on the living room floor, and Lin did what he always did – sleeping, eating and pooping well.

On Day 2, Li’s temperature went down to the 101 range again, and he’s showing more interest in sleeping, and that’s a good sign, he still wants to be held all the time, and he took the Vitamin C well again. By the end of the day, he’s already looking around and happy. And he became playful again when Daddy took his temperature. And for the first time, he went to the 2 digit range!

The second night, which was last night, Li slept really well. I had a high school reunion and was invited to one of the most fancy restaurants in a newly built community! I can’t believe flat there is going for 2 million dollars each. Most people are actually from Violet’s senior high class who I am not very familiar with but we still had a great time. I fed the boys at 5pm, and they slept till I got home around 11pm, for the feeding. I am glad that both of them were doing fine…and the little break was worthwhile, it’s always good to reconnect with old friends and they work in various fields and I learned a lot, for example, Shanghai is going to implement property taxes to curb the ever skyrocketing real estate prices, on any new purchase after the Chinese New Year, I guess I am exempt, at least for now.

This morning, Li woke up perfectly normal, content and still has a great appetite. I cooked a lot of food last night before leaving and stored them in the freezer so in case we got busy for any reason, I didn’t have to spend a lot of time cooking. Lin’s forehead feels a bit warm, though, we thought most likely he will have a fever as well, being around us all the time. But funny enough, I am not nervous or worried, and ready to take on another possible sleepless night, I think we learned an important lesson through Li’s fever, that with cautious control mechanism in place, let the nature take its course and I am sure after the boys’ first challenge with sickness, they will be healthier and stronger, their body will be better equipped for more challenges that are coming in the future. This is also the reason we don’t give them vaccination (even though this carries a risk as well), or flu shots. Flu shots don’t cover all the strands, it compromises one’s immunity to fight on its own. We have full confidence in the boys and more confidence in ourselves this time and are ready to get through whatever difficulties lie ahead.

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