Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sophia is Sick - Week of 26 - 30 October 2009

This week really flew by. On Monday morning, Sophia complained of not feeling well. However, it was Monday morning and no one feels well waking up early after a nice weekend. When we got outside, she was happy to be in the snow, and I took a few pictures.

The Kazakh teacher I work with had gone home--a 12-hour bus ride to eastern Kazakhstan--and had not yet returned. So I had to teach first thing, which I wasn't completely prepared for. But it's always nice to have the kids first thing, they're better behaved. My assistant was feeling really sick, and was just waiting for the other teacher to show up so she could go home.

Sophia came into my classroom complaining that she was not feeling well. It was easy to see that she wasn't--she was very pale and listless, highly unusual for Sophia. She also had the chills. Pretty much the same symptoms as the assistant!

I let her sit in my class while I finished my lessons--a period each of English and math, and two periods of science. I had 5th grade math next but that would be it for the day, and so I went to see the principal to ask if I could skip 5th grade math and take Sophia home. He said I had to ask Mr. M, the vice principal. Both the principal and Mr. M are very kind, and very concerned about Sophia, and so Mr. M said of course I could take her home. I had a test for the students in grade 5, so I quickly gave it to their assistant to give to them. So I wasn't missing much teaching.

It was funny trying to find Mr. M. The school is 3 stories high, and there is no intercom system or walkie-talkies, like in my old school. So the secretary tried to call him on his mobile phone. Luckily, he appeared just as his phone started ringing.

I went to tell my assistant that Mr. M had said that the other teacher would not be showing up today, and that I would be going home. She looked miserable, and I wished I could send her home with Sophia! Other than a slightly-hoarse throat, I felt fine and could have continued teaching.

We took the bus home and slept the afternoon away. It was a great opportunity for me to catch up on sleep. However, I missed the school's free lunch and we had little food in our apartment.

That night, Mr. M called me to ask about Sophia. He suggested that he could find a sitter for so that I could go in and teach on Tuesday. I only have 3 classes on Tuesdays, so I would be able to teach them in a row and then come home early. I was a bit wary--Sophia's uncomfortable with non-native-English speakers.

I had no money left on my cell phone to call; and while local calls to land lines are free from a land-line phone (I have one in my apartment) calls to mobile phones from land lines cost money. I only knew Mr. M's phone number. So the next morning, I decided I would go into work and leave Sophia with a sitter, and I waited until close to 8 to call the principal to ask him to call the vice principal for me. Luckily, Mr. M called me before then, and said that he had thought it over, and that Sophia would probably want her mother with her while she's sick, and I could stay home.

Really, it was nice.

I went back to sleep and when Sophia finally woke up, she had a bad fever and felt miserable. I wondered if I should have taken her to see the school nurse yesterday, and decided if she still felt miserable in the afternoon, I would call the school and ask about taking her to a doctor. I'd need a translator and a ride, of course!

Luckily by the afternoon Sophia was better and wanted to go outside and play in the snow. I said no, of course.

Wednesdays I don't have any classes until 4th period, so I let her sleep in a bit. Once she learned that she would be missing drawing class (her first two periods) , she was excited to go to school right away.

I still let her sleep in a bit, and we took our time and made it just as 1st period ended. I talked to the principal and vice principal; both were surprised that I was back so soon. And that I hadn't given Sophia any medicine, save a little bit of Children's Tylenol. The principal told me that if I ever had questions on medicines, I should call apartment and speak to his wife. She, like me, is wary about giving kids medicine she doesn't understand, and she has a lot of medicine she brought with her from Turkey. She can help me figure out the best medicine for Sophia. Really nice, much better than just force-feeding Sophia whatever medicine a non-English-speaking doctor gives her.

She still was up the next couple nights with a stuffed nose or coughing--but she wasn't really up! In the mornings she had no recollection of being up. However, I did.

I'm glad she's better. The rash is still there, but not too bad. Children around the school are still dropping like flies, so let's keep our fingers crossed that we'll stay healthy!

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