Fevers, freakouts and feelings

Every so often, just when you think you are getting the hang of this parenting thing, after you think you can start to cruise a little bit, something comes along and knocks you off your pedestal, reminding you of how little you know.

Yesterday The Pea came down with a high fever. Due to some combination of genes, nutrition, sanitation, breastfeeding and luck, our Pea hardly ever gets sick, just a couple of colds per year, maybe one ear infection. So when she started complaining of a headache, bad tummy, stiff neck and aching hips, a little warning bell started ringing in the back of my head, Meningitis! Meningitis! Meningitis! I freaked out. We took her directly to urgent care to have her checked out. Well, it wasn't meningitis, just some viral fever, maybe flu. She's still quite sick, so she'll be out for a couple of days, but she won't be going into the hospital like I feared.

I felt a bit stupid, like a first-time parent who rushes her newborn in for any little sniffle. But I stand by my decision. I thought about how I would feel if I ignored those symptoms and they really did turn out to be serious. At times like these, I don't feel like a parent, or even a grownup, at all. I wish I had someone to tell me what to do. Boy, did I feel helpless.

Helpless to see her face flushed red-hot with fever, her eyes staring at me, so dull and listless and red;

Helpless to feel her skin burning so hot I can barely touch her;

Helpless to see the girl who cannot keep still, lying meekly on her bed, her body directing its energy toward the war that raged within;

Helpless to hear her racking coughs and sobs as mere drops of water made her skin tingle and ache;

And helpless to do anything about it.

Was I right to panic like that? Maybe my judgment is a bit off. See, I'm sick too. I seem to have the same thing that she has. But it's just a minor irritation, an annoyance that's getting in the way of caring for my daughter and making her more comfortable until she gets better.

This post is also published at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.


Curatrix said...

I hope the Pea and you are both feeling better. I would have gone straight to the doctor too. With something like that, you want to be sure it's not anything worse than the flu. Take care.

Jen B said...

I'm glad you took her in! I remember I took my eldest in and he was 5 at the time. They told me has to be throwing up 24 hours before they'll see him, so I lied. He had only been sick for an hour. It turns out he had scarlet fever! I never even knew that existed anymore. Imagine my panic! He'll be blind, sterile, and be near death! Of course he was fine, they gave him antibiotics and he's a 5'9" tall 13 year old now...LOL I guess it was going around school that year. I never second guess my 'overprotective'ways. You shouldn't either, it's better to be safe than sorry!

Rachel said...

I would not have taken any chances either. It is such an emotional thing, watching you sick children suffering. How many times I had wished to trade places with them! Hope the pea picks up soon and life returns to normal

Anonymous said...

Your daughter sounds like mine, she never gets sick but when she does .. it seems to be extreme! High fever, glazed eyes, etc.
2 months ago, she had 107 degree fever, would not respond to me so I actually called an ambulance...I was panicked! It was midnight and although now I feel stupid, I am glad I took the extra care! She just had a viral infection!
Glad I breastfed as long as I did, it seems to have helped her not bring every single virus home!
Hang in there!

ShannanB said...

There is nothing worse than when your baby is sick. I can remember SM getting a viral infection (from an airport in Chicago) and being so weak and lathargic. It was so scary.

I would have (and did) reacted just the way you did.

Hope she feels better soon!