Monday, March 29, 2010

One of THOSE nights

As I sit writing this column, it’s Monday morning and I am coming off one of THOSE nights.

I’d have to imagine most parents experience these kinds of nights once in a while. They’re pretty rough. They leave you fuzzy-minded and cranky, with glowing red eyes that feel like you’ve been crying. Later in the day, I’m sure, I’ll be rummaging through the pantry looking for a quick pick-me-up, or craving a pop, which I don’t usually drink.

The kind of night I’m talking about?

The kind when your kid has a high fever and you end up holding a steaming hot, inconsolable baby all night long, watching the minutes and hours tick away on the clock, knowing that daylight is coming and you’re going to have to function whether you sleep or not, but you can’t sleep because you’re too worried about your baby.

I don’t know what law dictates this, but it seems like high fevers always strike children—MY children at least—at the very moments when a doctor is most difficult to reach. Holidays, weekends and, of course, night. Fever is always higher at night, that’s a fact that my pediatrician told me. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but it is definitely a rule my kids seem to follow.

Well, this time, Jordan’s fever struck at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. He’d been cranky for a couple days, and maybe even a little warm, but he’s been cutting molars left and right, so I just assumed it was more teething. All of a sudden, I came home from the gym and he came crying to me. I picked him up and he just kind of sacked out in my arms. He NEVER just falls asleep in my arms. He felt really hot, too, so I took his temperature and it was 103-point-something or other.


I gave him some medicine to bring his fever down and then decided to call the urgent care office to see if they thought I should bring him in. They asked me a few questions and then said he should be fine at home but to take him to the E.R. if he got worse.

Gee, thanks.

I kind of think they just didn’t want to invite any more patients right before closing time on a Saturday night, but who knows?

So. Fevers. I don’t know about you, but they make me nervous. I mean, a fever means SOMETHING is going on with the kid, but what? Is it an ear infection? Strep? Something else? Something more serious?

It’s so hard to know what to do in these cases.

It was obvious, for example, one time when Logan was about Jordan’s age. He got a sudden 106-degree fever and just wasn’t with it. He was basically unconscious. I took him to the urgent care and found out he had strep, and they dosed him up with both acetaminophen and ibuprofen and then had us stay there until the fever came down. I liked that, because I wasn’t the one in charge. Someone with actual medical knowledge was there instead of just a mom and the internet.

But this weekend wasn’t that clear-cut. 103 is still considered a “normal” fever and isn’t in “dangerous” territory.

So, I decided to keep Jordan at home and gave him medicine all weekend, but this fever just doesn’t want to go away. It will get down to about 101 but it doesn’t want to go much lower than that. He doesn’t want to eat, he begs to be held but then when you’re holding him, he’s whiny. The kid obviously isn’t feeling well.
So, of course, today we’ll head to the doctor’s office.

I wonder, though, if I had gone to the urgent care anyway on Saturday, what would I have found out? For example, if he requires antibiotics, they could already be working against whatever is making him miserable. Should I have gone? Would he be feeling better by now if I had?

Motherhood is such a guessing game sometimes. I guess we just have to hope that we guess right most of the time.


Tina said...

Oh I hope you get some answers and it's something easy to help him feel better soon. Poor boy! And it is the worst not knowing what is causing it and what to do. I hate when you try to get answers and all you get is the "its within normal range, let it pass" type of answers. That's the same thing we were told a few hours before we headed to the hospital and got stuck there a few days with M. Grrr.