…and then life happened.

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Sick baby 😦

A post shared by Sara Sara Johnson (@bysarajohnson) on


Remember a couple weeks ago when I blogged about a new schedule, and how I was going to start it this week? And how I said I wanted to start a regular blog feature? I was all set, even had an editorial calendar planned out. I got a couple of blog posts ahead, then went on vacation. I figured this past Monday, I’d schedule a quick Tuesday post and finish a half-complete Thursday post.

And then life happened.

We were in Lapland last week (blog posts and photos coming soon!), and arrived home Monday morning about 9:30. Baby J had had a slight cough during most of our trip, and Friday afternoon it developed into a deep, phlegmy cough. By Sunday he was moaning with every breath. He had been sick like this back in December, so I wasn’t too worried – he seemed fine otherwise, even pausing the moaning and coughing fits to flirt with strangers sitting nearby.

However, by Monday afternoon he had stopped nursing. He wouldn’t take milk or water or solids – nothing was getting past his lips. Then he became rather listless. I called the doctor and was able to get an appointment for 3:30 that afternoon.

The doctor listened to his chest and immediately recommended we take Baby J to the hospital. In Pori, an hour away, because our local hospital doesn’t have pediatric facilities. In fact, he said, I’m going to call an ambulance to take him, just in case. Cue parental panic attack.

We spent Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital, where Baby J was hooked up to a heart rate/blood oxygen monitor and oxygen. We were able to go home Wednesday, with a promise to administer a breathing treatment every 2-3 hours and bring him back in if he took a turn for the worse.

One of the issues with being ill in a country where you don’t speak the language is that you don’t always fully understand what’s going on. You’re never really sure if things are lost in translation, if the words you say are understood, or if you understood what they are saying correctly.  I had the same issue while in the hospital after having Baby J. One nurse kept using “she” instead of “he,” which is a simple mistake and not a big deal, but what if she was saying “do this” instead of “don’t do this”? You really can’t be sure sometimes, and it requires you to place absolute trust in the hospital staff. You get minimal information, because they can’t do in depth explanations about what’s going on. He needs this medicine, but they can’t tell you why or what it’s for. Please understand that this isn’t a gripe about the Finnish medical system, its just a fact of life, living (or even traveling) anywhere where you don’t speak the language and requiring medical care. It can be scary and confusing. We’re so used to being able to know everything about a diagnosis, googling for any additional information we feel we need, knowing what questions to ask the doctor. It’s difficult being so helpless, especially when it’s your baby that’s sick.

We know Baby J didn’t have the flu or a viral infection. Other than being told his bronchial tubes were  inflamed, I have no idea what the official diagnosis is. Hopefully the breathing treatments we’re giving him will make him all better.

And in the meantime, Baby J is getting lots of cuddles.


Categories: Baby J, Parenthood | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “…and then life happened.

  1. anonymous

    You should take comfort i knowing that “do that” and “don’t do that” is different from the “he”/”she” confusion: Think of the Finnish language – personal pronouns don’t betray sex.

  2. awww sara i’m so sorry. poor baby j and poor mama and daddy.
    it’s so hard when they’re at that age they don’t understand what’s going on.

    i’ve had to deal without a interpreter a few times in health situations. that’s when i feel like such a foreigner.
    i feel almost as bad for the dr/nurse trying to communicate what they need to convey as i do for myself trying to understand.
    a few times i ask them to just write down the main point and i google the rest of it and the side effects of a medication at home. thankfully i haven’t had to be in a hospital situation so far.

    anyway wishing for a quick recovery!

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