Friday, June 03, 2005

Picking our battles

D is still pretty sick, but we all had a better night's rest. She only woke up a few times and was able to get herself back to sleep. More importantly, she stayed in her bed until 5 (prayers, light) and then she & I went out to the couch where it is marginally darker and went back to sleep. I woke up with M at 7 (coffee, light), but she slept until a little after 8. The bad news? Now I'm coming down with the same thing. But at least now I'll be able to sympathize with how she's feeling.

Yesterday we were worried enough to round up an interpreter and take D to a local pediatrician who prescribed some antibiotics. Not happy about it, but she says D has a throat infection, and no one could translate the word for "strep," and I'd rather be safe than sorry. So now we're doing battle over the antibiotics. They are liquid, but because we're living in the Stone Age here, the meds aren't flavored. Not even with that nasty synth-cherry taste. With the first dose, she made a face like we gave her rat poison flavored with cat poo. By the second, she was on to our game, and absolutely refused to take it. Kicked, screamed, coughed, choked, flailed and wailed - with her lips tightly pressed together - for about 45 minutes. Luckily the kicking, screaming, coughing, choking, flailing and wailing of the last few nights had prepared M & I and we were able to stay calm and cool. First we tried reasoning, then bribing, then force, then getting mad, then stern, then loving. Did you know it's almost impossible to sing Hush Little Baby to a screaming child, while rocking them on your lap, while your husband tries to force a spoon of amoxycillin into their clenched lips? I never imagined we couldn't. Most of our clothes now have a thin, sticky layer of antibiotic protection.

Finally, we brainstormed and gave it to her mixed into a container of chocolate pudding. At 9 at night. This morning, I didn't even mention it to her just calmly mixed it into some yogurt and we had a "breakfast picnic" while she watched her Kipper video. At lunch? My deception took the form of a small cup of choco-vanilla swirl ice cream, which she helped pick out during our morning supply expedition. I don't know if I can keep up the parade of doctored dairy products for another 7 - 10 days though. At some point she's gonna get suspicious.

Since she's hardly ever, ever been sick before - and certainly never to the point where she needed antibiotics! -- we're in uncharted territory here. Just like the rest of our life in Kosovo.

Anyway, if any of our neighbors (Hi, Eric!) here ever stumble onto this blog and recognize us, my sincere and heartfelt apologies for all the ruckus. We're only here until mid-July!! If we were in the States someone would have probably called DCF by now, based on the screaming and crying. They're probably talking about us behind our backs, but I just keep a pleasant smile on my face when I see them in the hall and nod and say "hi hi hi" over and over.

Tomorrow we're hoping a friend with a car will be able to take us to the grocery store for supplies. We'll be able to load up on the things that are too hard to lug back to the apartment on foot. Like liters and liters of water. I hope they have a good supply of this water that doesn't upset my stomach as much as some of the other brands. It's called "Bonita," but we don't know if it means the same thing in Albanian as in Spanish. Although I suppose they could be using the Spanish word in a purely ironical sense. The big grocery where we're going is also rumored to have frozen potato products, which will provide welcome variety to my all-carb-dairy-fruit diet. If I come back lean and mean, I'm writing my own diet book.

Oh, and another new experience, we ran out of TP! That's because on yesterday's supply expedition I grabbed a package of Zewa (which is the brand) and because I couldn't read the label and the package was opaque yellow we didn't know until this morning that it was paper towels instead of TP. Yes, over here they use the same packaging and brand names for all the paper products. Can you imagine buying Brawny toilet paper in your local supermarket? Marketing is different here because I guess they don't care that the attributes of one product may be associated with another. I mean, we all hope that our TP is the "quicker picker-up" but we don't want to be reminded of it everytime we buy it. Right? Our current bout with illness has also introduced us to the local brand of kleenex, the literally-named Wood Flowers. Imagined heavily perfumed wood pulp. It's a bit like those "green" recycled paper products in the States, but without the soft texture and thickness. When in Rome...

When we were still just planning to come over, I remember thinking how nice it would be to not have TV, get D weaned from the shows she watches, spend more time talking and enjoying each other's company. Yeah, right. I forgot that when your kid is sick nothing's better than a day of quiet TV watching. I let her watch a bunch of old Warner Bros. hyper-violent cartoons - you know, the ones we loved when we were kids - like Roadrunner and Tom & Jerry and stuff. They were dubbed in Albanian or something, but Roadrunner still said "beep! beep!" Imagine trying to explain The Coyote's horrible accidents to a child who's never seen anything more violent that Oswald the Octopus falling down while roller-skating. She doesn't seem too scarred by it, although she walks around saying "beep! beep!" a lot.

Anyway, a good night's sleep and I've recovered a bit of my sense of humor about things. As someone very loving and wise recently emailed me, I've got to learn to stop worrying about the stuff I can't control. Still, I'm secretly hoping there are M&Ms in the care package!


Janis said...

Oh my goodness. A trip to Sam's Club is in order. Where can I send the TP? Give me an address, seriously. I wonder how long it will take to arrive? They also have large tubs of peanut butter, well, you've been there. Let me know what you need!

Tony said...

I love your Blog. You are so much more poetic than I am in mine. Sounds like life is going pretty much as expected :)

We've been looking for a place to travel to, is a trip there even possible before you leave? We'll fill the carry-ons with supplies. Mac and cheese and oreos for everyone.

Thanks for the nice comment on my introspection, I was having a day. Nothing quite like you are having, but in the same vain. I've just been here a little longer...

Say "hey" to M for me. I hope you and D get better soon.

Take care,