Finding Humour and Prayers

Patrick was wailing loudly in my arms. His lips smeared with a mixture of regurgitated milk and sticky phlegm. The scent of sourish vomit on his clothing and face was under my breath. Some part of me wish to turn my face away; I resisted that impulse and continue to comfort him.

His face wrinkled together with lines of distress and fear. He suddenly shook his head wildly,  his back arches while his body trashing around in my arms. I felt a fish flopping like sensation in my chest while my eardrums almost burst with Patrick's tenor.
Crying baby Patrick
"Uh oh. Patrick vomited. Uh oh." My husband tried to make Patrick view this differently.

Patrick continued to cry louder.

"Uh oh. Uh oh."

From a wild tornado in my arms, Patrick suddenly became silent. He observed my husband closely.

Then from a tenor voice, I hear a soft-spoken voice from Patrick, "uh oh."

Patrick saying uh oh, followed by 
myself repeating his uh oh.

"Yes, Patrick. Uh oh. You vomited. Uh oh."

Patrick became more relaxed as he continued to mimic my husband's voice.

I tried to calm down myself by slowing down my breaths. It had been one intense week.

The original title of this piece was "Exhausting Week". And indeed it has been until today.  My husband reminded me to focus not on the challenging circumstances. Instead to make Patrick less stress over his position. That we could influence him on how he manage with his stresses. 

His current circumstances had been daily coughing, which was sometimes strong enough to cause him to regurgitate a mixture of milk and phlegm.  He had been having cough since his last hospital visit. His cough appeared to worsen for the past one week. He has been coughing and vomiting daily for a week. 

In fact, last Sunday (20 January 2019) was the worst - he vomited up to 15 times.

He would end up agitated and sometimes scared. His inconsolable crying would cause him to regurgitate even more. Not always because of his cough that resulted in vomiting. It was often due to his reaction that led to that outcome. 

I would usually try to calm him by singing, breastfeeding, giving words of comfort among others. Not often he could response favourably. Sometimes he would cry even more to emphasise to me he was not feeling good. However, that usually ended him in regurgitating more than once.

I had been torn whether to bring him to the hospital or let his immune system strengthen itself against this cough invaders. If he had been having fever for a few days, then the decision would be easily made because concerned that Patrick may have cholangitis (an infection of the liver through the intestines). During his coughing, he did not have any fever at all. It's more of inconvenient and the tiredness that fell upon Patrick after regurgitation. He did not appear to have any difficulty of breathing as well. 

Since his last hospital visit, he lost weight. From 8.2kg to 7.75kg ( 20 January 2019). I became very alarmed and discussed with my husband on this. He wanted to observe before going to the clinic or hospital. For my son is still too young for him to have any medications. And medications could cause his liver to be further affected. 

Because of the sleepless nights of Patrick waking up with cough and throwing up phlegm and milk onto the bed, we had to change his clothing and the bedsheets. It had been both an exhausting week for our family; I would try to console Patrick while my husband would change the bedsheets. 

When Patrick feels stressed, he may scratch himself even more and sometimes this drew blood from his ears. Occasionally when I see blood, I would feel stressed on this. Not because of fear of seeing blood. More of concern can I able to stop the bleeding. 

I felt this represented how Patrick is feeling. The never-ending
coughing and vomiting. He wants to move forward yet how when
appeared stuck in his circumstances. 
Altogether, we were both distressed, stressed and even traumatised to some extent.  I almost fell sick at least three times in one week. Each time when I had that strange sensation of falling sick, I quickly popped three 500mg vitamin C. Then I would meditate and do Qi breathing ( a Qigong breathing technique) with a strong focus to myself, "Don't get sick! I cannot help Patrick if I fall sick. So, don't get sick!!" It appeared to work, because within a few hours I felt better. 

The 'uh oh' usually work with Patrick. When it did not, I would try to sing to him. If it resonates with Patrick, I would feel him as if melting in my arms. His cries stopped, his body tension leaving in stages.

I did tell myself if after January 20 2019, if Patrick's condition worsens, I would insist to bring him to the clinic or hospital. 

One night, I could not take it anymore. During one of the early morning sudden cough that woke up Patrick and myself, I prayed hard. I said to let me take his place instead. To let me be the one to vomit instead of Patrick. To let me be the one to suffer instead of my son. That I cannot take it anymore seeing him in this way.

I was holding Patrick, patting his back. Offer my breast nipple to him, which he would latch on, seeking for comfort. 

"Don't be silly."

I heard this clearly. Although I was tired, my eyes barely opened. Exhaustion clung onto my skin like an elephant glue. 

"Please, please... could he have a break??? Stop vomiting for one night. Let him have some good rest...pleaseeee."

I felt like this lady, desperately seeking for help.
I thought I felt something. I was not certain. The tiredness was more pronounced in me than anything else. 

My eyes immediately shut to dreamland once I put a sleeping Patrick back to bed.

He did woke up two more times. With no vomit. I managed to put him back to sleep much easily than the usual. 

When I woke up, I was surprised to find myself experiencing a restful sleep. When Patrick woke up with coughs, he usually takes some time to settle down. This time, he could easily return to sleep, to my surprise.

I remembered pondering... did God answered my prayers? Was it a dream? Who said, "Don't be silly." It's a voice that sounded calm and assured. I know it did not come from me. Not from my husband as well. There were moments I had dreams that appeared vivid and almost real. Was that it? 

All these questions in my mind. Yet I cannot deny this - after I prayed ( for real or in my dream)... Patrick stopped vomiting afterwards. ( for two nights it was so. ) On average nightly he can vomit up to three times. Coincidentally, his coughing appeared to recover step by step. His vomiting episodes became lessen as well. 

Today, 26 January 2019, Patrick at a much better state. His weight had regain slowly to 7.83kg. I am certain he would regain what he had lost and more. Though he still has his occasional cough, it is obviously seen he is indeed recovering. His immune system is fighting back to overcome this. 

Both myself and my husband trying to help Patrick have a different attitude to his suffering. We won't deny him in voicing up his distress and fears. He should not suppress nor repress his voice. However, we would not wish for him to perpetuate this suffering as well. If he starts to develop a negative mindset, it would hinder his healing. I always try to make him understand that some vomiting episodes would not have happened if he did not keep re-emphasing his discomfort. To make him understand the cause and effect when he allowed himself too long in venting his suffering. 

He may be a young toddler, almost 16 months old. Time and again he has shown he has this intelligence which he would understand so long we make the efforts. 

We are not belittling and dismissing his suffering. We acknowledge his suffering and hope he learns not let that be the main focus. I remembered when my due date was coming, I was in much physical and emotional distress. The daily physical pain, the times when I found myself painful to walk even a step, I tried to laugh at myself by referring to myself as a walking penguin. I don't dismiss my suffering and discomfort. I acknowledge them. I find when I look at this in a different light, I don't feel as emotional and as physically taxing. 

I am thankful I have a husband who is supportive and reminded me not to focus on the negatives despite the suffering. It is very easy to succumb to negative thoughts and feelings when we do not feel good. Yet if we emphasised on it, like how I noticed of Patrick - the subsequent vomits was more of self-induced than the actual source of the suffering. 

You will soon recover from this coughing, my son. Believe me. Try not to focus too much on the suffering, ok? Mummy and daddy is with you. We understand. We will try to make you feel better and stronger. 

We will raise you up, to face the sun. Light shall be with you. God be with you.


  1. Hi dear I am farzane from Iran. I'm sorry abound what happened all to u. And I wish you're son heal soon Proud of you. You're extremely strong

  2. Hi Farzane. Thank you for your wishes and encouragements. Appreciate this. Future not for us to see. I will ready myself, no matter what comes our way.


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