That being said, without the safety blanket of a 24 hour medical clinic just around the corner, rashes/fevers, pretty much everything has to be treated at home first. Hence our 5 kg medical kit. Luckily for us, Gypsy, and both of us actually, are pretty sturdy creatures. Baby panadol and Nurofen are our best friends. And we are also grateful for the baby vitamins and antibiotics as well.
One big advantage to being overseas though is the ability to buy almost any medicine over the counter without prescription. We have a very well stocked medical kit!
Just before New Years, Gypsy came down with a super stubborn fever of 39.9C that neither panadol nor nurofen would budge. It lasted days and she also had a nasty cough. We took her to a local doctor, but really, it was just an old man standing in a 1m x 1.5m dusty room with a stethoscope. He scribbled some words on a piece of paper and we took it to the chemist conveniently next door and walked away with a bunch of medicines. He diagnosed her with an Upper Respiratory Tract infection, which given the cough and fever seemed logical. No blood tests, no asking of prior medical history, no caring that we were in a dengue fever plagued area just last week. Nope.
It was pretty scary when her fever came up again that night and we suddenly found ourselves with a super sick and lethargic baby, with no mobile phone reception in the middle of a power blackout. The closest hospital was several hours away on roads that are more pot-hole than cement. Should we take her in a tuktuk, in the cold, on such a bumpy road to a hospital which is also more like a single room with lots of other sick babies crammed into it? Or do we trust the “Doctor” and keep her dosed up on meds and hope everything is better in the morning? For the first time ever we both questioned “what the f*&k were we doing?”. But then her fever broke, and she started to get better. The power came back on. We all slept and woke up much happier. We also realised that we wouldn’t have been any less worried had we have been in Australia. Our concerns wouldn’t have been any different. We would have still taken her to a doctor in the afternoon like we did, and we would have still questioned whether to take her to a hospital when her fever didn’t come down.
Maybe the naysayers are right and we shouldn’t travel with a baby. But then again, there are babies in other countries too. And it’s not just Gypsy who we worry about. If Roh gets a fever my reaction is the same. Getting sick is a part of life. But it’s such a small part of life compared to all the amazing experiences we have been able to share with her. That said, we aren’t going to take her somewhere where we know is in the middle of an epidemic. But we also don’t want to avoid going anywhere from fear of her or us getting sick. After all, there’s even dengue fever in Australia now!
Maybe we are bad parents. I’m sure some people think we are being too reckless. That what Gypsy really needs is a house and stability and blah blah blah. But there’s no right with parenting. You will always be wrong in somebody else’s opinion so you just have to do what feels right for you.
And showing our little girl the world feels right to us. Although it’s sooo much easier to say that now she is well again.