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COVID Afterthoughts



First of all, thank you to every single person for their well wishes towards Bradlee’s recovery. Now on his 10th and final day of quarantine, he’s close to full recovery with some lingering night coughs left. Despite his self-quarantine and my constant sanitizing, little brother and my husband also somehow contracted COVID. Today, my right ear and throat feel a little funny, but manageable at this point. Reiki (energy healing), nonstop hydration, and 4 pots of chicken soup have helped us get through this period safely. Not to mention the endless love and support from our friends and family. That alone have been healing.


Unfortunately, I have many mama friends who are just starting to deal with COVID-positive children and are reaching out with questions. I figure I’ll follow-up with our family COVID story so that it could possibly be of reference to you. I found that when our class parents shared live updates on our kids’ symptoms, it relieved a lot of stress knowing what to expect next. Given that you’ve already read the previous entry on Bradlee’s experience, I’ll spare the emotional details and directly provide you my do’s and don’ts for COVID caretaking.

SYMTPOMS


Firstly, all three boys in my family had varying symptoms and different degrees of discomfort. The common denominator was that the worst parts passed through in 48 hours.

With Bradlee, after a handful of positive cases from class, he came down very quickly with 4-5 episodes of 40-degree fevers within 24-hours. During his fevering episodes, he experienced severe headaches, dizziness, hot/cold sweats, and at his worst, hallucinatory visions, incomprehensible mumbling, and eye-rolling. I don’t have the scientific terms for his experiences, but it could've been just reaction from all the fever reliever he took or simply put, it was a hostile COVID takeover. In between his fever breaks, we made sure he ate and hydrated. He was even willing to gulp down some Chinese herbal medicine complementary of my dear mama friend. When the fevers finally subsided, Bradlee spent most of his self-quarantine days resting and sleeping. He developed a dry cough by the third day and continued to feel fatigued. Now at his 10th day, he’s back to normalcy with only a slight cough left.


During Bradlee’s quarantine period, we made sure he had all he needed in his room while I washed and rewashed every single fabric and cups at home, wiping down and spraying sanitizers all around the house, vacuuming and mopping everything he could’ve touched. As parents, it’s almost impossible to leave him in complete solitude at his worst; so when we did enter his domain to hand him ice-packs and meds, we switched out clothing, wore double face-masks, and sanitized our hands 100 times before returning to others.


Even after all these precautions, my younger son still caught it three days later. Bryce’s symptoms were very different from Bradlee. He had two days worth of fevers, between 38-40 degrees, felt dizziness, and couldn’t hold down much food. He was immobile and slept for two days on his bed, surviving off of bananas, white toast, porridge, and sports drink. Occassionally, he would complain of dizziness, but for the most part he just slept. Then suddenly, he just bounced back to normal with no lingering symptoms as if it all never happened.


My husband on the other hand contracted COVID days after Bryce, and what he felt were completely different from the kids. While he had no fevering episodes, he had splitting headaches, complete nasal congestion, dry smoker-like cough that came out especially strong at night, and experienced two sleepless nights of collapsed throat. By the third day, he came back around, but has now developed a mild cough.

Fortunately, the worse is over and what we had gone through was only considered “mild” symptoms. I can’t even imagine those who had mid-to-severe COVID, especially the ones who had to deal with it alone.

PREPARATION


The night before Bradlee went down, intuition guided me to stock up on meds. I usually never like depending on medicines, especially for kids, but this time around, I felt like I needed all the survival kits possible. So, what I got back in return were bags of kids and adult meds for fever, cough, nasal congestion, allergies, pain reliever, as well as Chinese herbal medicine which my husband and I drank throughout the caretaking days whenever something felt weird in our system. We also had boxes of rapid tests lying around just in case.


Since COVID began two years ago, I have boxes of alcohol sanitizer spray, sanitizing wipes, extra mops for all occasions, big tubs for vomit emergencies, thermometers, and loads of face masks lying around. I also have air purifiers running constantly in all our bedrooms, as well as disposable gloves just in case. I also use bacteria-fighting laundry detergents for all our clothing, and my Dyson vacuum with infrared function is one of my bestest friend. They all came into massive use throughout these past 10 days.

Food-wise, we are so fortunate to be living in a country where we don’t have to worry about food shortage during hard times. Besides occasional Uber Eats & its awesome grocery-delivering service, my mom and bro dropped off so much fresh produce that my fridge is still overpacked after 10 days. During the sickest days for my kids, sports drinks, white toast, fruits like bananas and apples kept them going. I also bought loads of green veggies and kept the stove running for days with fresh chicken stock and porridge. They are easy fixes and nourushing to the sore throat. As a family, we drank up a total of 4 pots of chicken soup in the last 10 days. For one good pot, all it takes is half a chicken, one whole onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, a splash of cooking wine, green onion, ginger slices, fresh water, and you’re good to go; best paired with thin noodles that take less than 5 minutes to cook.


Lastly, I believe a big reason why I’ve been able to stay physically and mentally strong for my family is attributed to my spiritual practice of daily inner work. Whilst I couldn’t do much of it during COVID caretaking, my longterm practices of meditation, journaling, yoga, creative outlets were put into good use This time around. My bottles of lavender essential oils also helped relax me and my little ones through massages and reiki sessions. Sage and palo santos also warded off the bad juju, which not surprisingly, smoked up like crazy in Bradlee's quarantine room.

PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. For my Taiwan mamas, here are the technicalities in dealing with COVID. First, prep most of the above if you haven’t done so already. If you detect any signs of COVID in your child(ren), rapid test first. If positive, get an official PCR test at the hospital (emergency) to confirm. The doctors will give you all the above medicines then. The PCR test results may take a while, but once officially confirmed through a text message, notify your close communities whom you’ve been in close contact with and also submit your information on the government site that's attached to the text message. Your child is expected to stay home for 10 days + 7 days self-monitoring. As his/her caretaker, respectfully, you are expected to meet the 3+4 standard. Make sure you’re a negative rapid test before stepping out of the house when your time is up. The government will call with more info and also send care package stocked with instant noodles, cookies, and instructions on dealing with COVID-contaminated trash. When it comes to quarantining, I know many parents of 10 year olds who were able to keep their kids completely in solitude in a room with its own bathroom. For others, families divided up and immediately moved out to prevent other members from getting sick. I also know families that went a whole other route by bunkering together to get it over with. Our family chose the first path, and 3 out of 4 of us got it anyway. There is no right way except for what makes sense intuitively for your own family.

  2. Reach out for help! You’d be surprise at how many resources you have all around you and how much friends/families are willing to do for you when you are in need. As mentioned, I had medicine delivery, grocery delivery, sweet encouraging messages that really got us through these past 10 days. Grandparents called nonstop, worried sick but more so to send love for their grandkids. (To those with friends and families who are dealing with COVID, check-in with them from time to time with encouraging messages and video calls. Try to avoid giving out advices and opinions unless asked because everyone‘s situation is unique. These loving acts can go such a long way when a helpless parent is stuck at home nursing his/her sick children).

  3. Take a break from the outside world. When you are dealing with sick kids at home, it’s almost impossible to think or deal with anything else outside of nursing them back to health. Whatever work you have to do, there is always a way to postpone or give it a rest until you’re back in commission. I am sure everyone will understand. And if they don't, that in itself is questionable. Sometimes, this could mean turning off your phone notifications or avoiding the news, just to give space and focus inwards for a few days.

  4. Be your own best friend. It’s easy to come down on yourself as a parent on what you could’ve done to prevent this all from happening. Self-blame comes in full blast when our kids are in need and our hands our tied until the hard times pass. I’m not here to tell you to stop doing so because when it comes, it comes. What I can recommend is to allow these feelings to come and go, and to know that none of this is your fault. Your feelings are all valid, but the worst will also pass. Nurture yourself with some quick naps, mindless shows, comfort food when you catch a break.


Interestingly, Taiwan is always two years behind the world when it comes to social trends; COVID is yet another example. Only now that we’re finally hit am I able to fully fathom the hardships my US/Euro/China friends have had to deal with over the past couple of years. Whilst this is obviously just personal stories and recommendations, I hope this has been helpful for you in some way or form. I hope you never need to use it, bur know they you can always reach out if need be!

May Taiwan quickly recover and may all our children & loved ones be safe, healthy, and peaceful. Here’s a COVID birthday family photo to close out this chapter of our lives! Love to everyone 🙏🏻





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