There's nothing more terrifying for a parent than to watch his child suffer. The pain is sheer and the helplessness penultimate. Before you can summon a doctor or even summon the idea of summoning one, panic grabs you by the throat and squeezes out every last ounce of reason from your head. The frantic heart takes over and reels with so many emotions, you don't know what to do with them. Your child cries, you cry. You child suffers, you die. You fear. You pray. Pray that there be one way that will let you take your child's pain away.
...All seemed hunky-dory on a regular day of our regular lives - stamped with that regularity which is taken for granted till one of the cogs of the wheel fall out. Jishnu was the model of a happy, healthy baby all eight months of his little life before that horrible retching began. There were no signs of discomfort and like any other day, Viren took Jishnu inside to put him to sleep at about 8.30 in the night. I was in the kitchen readying dinner when Vir started shouting and asked me to come in right away.
I ran into the bedroom and to my horror saw Jishnu vomiting desperately and Viren looking desperate. I stood there transfixed at the door watching helplessly as my poor baby's body spasmed violently with the effort of throwing up. I stood there paralysed with fear facing something I'd never faced before. I stood there with all sorts of terrible thoughts crowding my mind even as Jishnu wailed in pain and discomfort. My reverie was broken only when Viren yelled, "What are you doing there? Help!"
The next few minutes were pure hysteria and a frenzy of activity. Jishnu threw up, cried. We cleaned him up and the sheets and the floor and the bathroom and waited. Jishnu threw up again, we cleaned up all again; and Jishnu threw up for a third time. Somewhere in between I found my sense, my cell phone and my voice and called up Jishnu's pediatrician in Nagpur. A few assurances and a prescription later did I feel a wee bit 'regular' again. I cradled my baby in my arms, hushed him, soothed him and cried with him. In the next minute, I turned into a merciless model of practicality as I had Viren pinch his little nose while I forced the medicine down his throat. A few more tears and a phew!
The medicine and exhaustion soon put Jishnu and our fears to sleep. We spent a partially sleepless night monitoring him, kissing him, caressing him even as he slept between us, blissfully unaware. Morning came and all was well again.
So, what was the big deal one may ask. It was only a vomiting child for crying out loud (yep, right!). Yes, nothing was earth shattering in retrospect and storytelling. Yet, only a first-time parent may able to identify with this first experience of illness in the most precious part of you. Your world really can fall apart at even the thought of something 'bad' happening to your child. And like all things first, facing this fear as regards your baby is forever etched in your heart.