A Hard Night

April 2, 2014

  Our second night in the jungle was probably our hardest night on the trip.  The kids had a fun day at the elephant sanctuary but it hadn't quite been what we'd hoped.  We were originally told when we booked the trip that we would be allowed to ride the elephants but when we got there, Gary told us that the center had been criticized for it so they had stopped offering them.  The only option for interacting with the elephants would have been to bathe them in the river but we didn't think that would be safe since the kids were still so little.  We all still got to see elephants, to feed them, to listen to them call to each other, and to watch them play in the river for a bit but I think it was still a little boring for the kids and it ended up being a long day.
  It rained in the mountains while we were away from camp so the river was a few inches higher than it had been the day before and running faster.  This was a big bummer for all of us because we had really wanted to take the kids swimming again.  We settled for showers since that was still cold river water but without the chance of the kids washing away.  After showers was dinner and then movie time for the kids.  D and I thought it would be fun to try sleeping on one of the platforms for the night, to have better breezes while we slept and because we both like sleeping outside, so we moved all our things down to one of the platforms and got the kids settled. 
  We'd only been in bed for about five minutes when I felt something crawling on me and slapped.  Then something was biting me so I was slapping more.  D pulled out the flashlight and it was one of the giant ants that we'd seen around the camp site.  They look like regular ants but they were huge, about an inch tall and an inch and half long.  One had found it's way into my shorts and when I slapped it, it bit me.  D shined the flashlight around our sleeping bags and we saw lots more of them, all around.  They weren't there when we had set up but either we attracted them or their more active at night.  Sky can have bad reactions to bites and I really didn't want to sleep with giant ants crawling on me so we decided to head back to the house at the top of the hill.
  I hiked the kids up, D brought the bedding, and we settled the kids down again.  Or tried to.  Sky was fine laying next to D but Fire, who had fallen asleep down on the platform, was awake again and fussy.  And he was burning up- his fever was back and worse than ever.  We gave him ibuprofen and acetaminophen, since that was what we had, and then, like you do in tense, tired situations, we fought about why we'd decided not to bring the antibiotics we'd gotten from the hospital in Singapore (no refrigeration while camping and no evidence that he really did need them), and who's bright idea it had been to bring two toddlers to the jungle (mine, but he agreed to it).  That's how it goes, right?  In the end, I told him to just lie down with Sky and try to sleep.
  Fire and I hacked through it together, with me rocking him, singing, and praying for his fever to break.  At that point, I had nothing more to offer except comfort.  After what felt like forever, he fell into a fitful sleep and I was able to slowly ease him into sleeping next to me.  He woke up several more times throughout the night but each time my hand on his back and the words, "It's okay, Mama's here" were enough to settle him back down.
   I think that night was the start of the down-hill slide on the trip for us.  Fire just didn't feel good.  Sky was unsure of things, didn't like that D and I were disagreeing about things, and was jealous of the attention that Fire was getting.  D was tired and starting to not feel well.  I was tired and feeling like everything was my fault since I planned the trip. 
  In the morning, Fire's fever had broken. He had sweat so much through it that his whole t-shirt was wet. He was still clingy and tired and didn't want to eat or drink much but he wasn't burning up any more.   It was a new day and our last morning in the jungle.  The plan was to head to the Batu Caves outside of Kuala Lumpur before checking into our 5-star hotel for our last night of vacation.  We'd made it through the night and things seemed to be looking up.

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