R loves Winnie the Pooh, particularly the one with a coffee cup imprinted on its cropped top in a slightly dirty-yellow color.
In one of his innocuous babblings, he reminded me that “I like this because mummy bought it for me when I was in hospital.”
The year was 2006 and we had just returned from our one-year stay in the United States. Having been cooped up with the kids for one long and weary year, I secretly craved for a break from the kids. It was not that I did not enjoy the family time but mothers would understand that we needed to break away from the kids as they do get on our nerves at times. And the slight repair required at home gave me that perfect excuse.
Obviously that was not good enough for my then three-year old R. He was one tough nut to crack. He was crying his heart out whenever I waved him bye, bye at my mother’s place before I headed to my place to supervise the renovation works at home. Very soon, the sweet “bye bye” evolved to silence but the ditching spoke volumes of my frustrations and also those of R's.
Then he protested with hunger strike – refusing to eat and drink. We thought this would soon pass. After all, I would not resist good food and all the more so if I were hungry enough. Alas, this was not the case. R fell sick and this time, medication formed part of his hunger strike.
He was admitted to hospital. Again refusing medication and took only meager morsels – just enough to give himself the energy to struggle and spit out any medication that we tried to force into his small but mighty mouth. Seeing him suffer made my heart wrench and my face was awash with tears.
On the 4th day when R's condition was still not improving, we requested for intravenous medication as he was not getting much of it with his violent struggle. I still remembered very vividly that the doctor actually suggested to change to another medication – another oral one. Like any anxious mother will do, I stood my grounds and demanded to discharge R from the hospital to admit him to another for a second opinion.
I called the nurse at the private clinic of R's regular pediatrician at around 8-9 pm. As he was out of town and the nurse at the clinic suggested another pediatrician. That night was extremely long as the hospital took quite close to 4 hours to prepare for the discharge documentations. Fortunately, things moved fast and furious once we were at the next hospital where we arrived at shortly past mid-night. R was put on two intravenous drips – one for the medicine and another to keep his body going.
We finally turned in at around 1.30am. That night, I could finally sleep together with R. Previously, this request was flatly turned down as if so “other patients will also make the same request”. R clung real tight to me and fell asleep in no time. I too, slept like a log.
The next morning, his face lit up when he saw me beside him. He then gave me a megawatt smile when I showed him Winnie the Pooh – what I bought from gift shop at the hospital lobby when I sneaked out while he was sound asleep.
His previous melancholic mood became melodious as he skipped his feet, arms hugging Winnie the Pooh, flashing his ready smile at the nurses, doctors and visitors at the hospital. Soon, he was well enough to head home.
Today, Winnie the Pooh is still Ryan’s favorite toy. I suppose it represents his found-again mummy’s love which he thought was no longer around when I left him in his granny’s place. Of course, this is not true, mummy always loves him.