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Sick Days

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posted November 23rd 2018

Geoff

Geoff

I’m a retired photography lecturer and a writer for many years. I have found that being a grandparent has been a fulfilling and loving experience that has enhanced my enjoyment of life. It’s important to stay active and immerse yourself into new things always. That’s my philosophy. I hope you enjoy reading my contributions and welcome your comments. For further work from Geoff visit: drivewrite.co.uk modphoto.co.uk

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Grandparents are often deployed when a child is sick. Never mind that which ails the child may well be passed on to we silver surfers (and I speak from recent experience here); we have a duty of care because we are, you see, the embodiment of ‘The Fount Of All Medical Knowledge’.

The Worst Of Times
Newly fledged parents with little or no child-rearing experience are often worried by sickness in their infant. That’s perfectly understandable. A baby or small child can’t explain in depth what’s wrong; they’ll just cry or demonstrate other signs of distress and the concerned parent must react in whatever way seems right. For parents of small children these times of sickness can be extremely stressful. That’s when they turn to their parents for help and advice because we, the grandparents, have already been there and done that.

As parents ourselves, back in the day, we too have suffered that feeling of helplessness when a child is ill. Anything we learned, we learned through experience. In a sense this was no different to how our own children feel when their kids are ill, except perhaps that we had no internet to consult, no ‘Mum’s’ circles or websites to tally up with others’ experiences and few miracle medicines compared to today (All Hail Calpol!). Thus it can be argued that we had it tougher, but it doesn’t mean we necessarily know better.

I suspect that when our grandchild is ill we simply suffer the same inner anguish all over again. Like swans, we are calm and serene on the surface but underneath we are paddling furiously. That’s our job; to remain calm. Anyone will tell you that the sight of backup coming through the door cannot be undervalued.

The Best Of Times
We get through it until the next time. As our grandchildren grow they also become more aware of themselves and are able to tell us, up to a point, what’s wrong. My granddaughter is now eight (going on twelve or fourteen) and has long passed the ‘my tummy hurts’ age. She can now deal in simple specifics, which is helpful, but it doesn’t change the fact that we still worry.

Advances like the internet are great but they can also bring with them too much dodgy information and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Certainly it is way better than those old ‘home doctor’ books from days of yore which mostly seemed to deal with warts and sundry unpleasant ‘growths’ but the fact remains that taking the internet as gospel can be dangerous.

​That’s why we grandparents are summoned for advice and to nurse the sickly kid while Mum and Dad are at work. That’s our life’s work right there and we’ve been put through the wringer before and won. For everything else there’s NHS 111.

Geoff

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