The sun came up finally, woefully, to reveal the crime scene that slightly resembled our bedroom. Sheets and covers everywhere. Clothes lay strewn about like a hamper grenade had detonated in the closet. A crib sheet, half-folded, lay by the door for no apparent reason. A dirty diaper sat like a squishy booby trap, waiting for one errant step. A couple of wipes, strewn hastily from their moist little home, lay dry and crusty as a Colby longhorn left on the counter. A dry washcloth, Infant Advil, a thermometer, two pairs of jammies also were somewhere, everywhere. Just what had gone on here last night?
Well, the pack and play, full of snot and sick beside the bed, was the most damning evidence. This is what fever baby looks like, in full daylight glory.
Most of it can be explained, but in bleary logic. HP had a radio station fever—103.7, nothing but the hottest hits, playing all night. That was the peak; it fluctuated, but was pretty much present for over two days. She fell just short of a doctor visit—the nurses on the phone were awesome, and they said anything under 104.5 was okay, and no more than three days. It was just a virus. Push liquids, keep fighting the fever. She’ll be fine.
Of course we’ve had sick kids before, but it is easy to forget how nothing makes you feel as helpless as a sick infant. Bub is coming to the age where he can mostly understand sickness, and knows that it will pass. HP understands neither of these things. She only knows that she feels like crap. And she REALLY wants you to know about it, and WHY AREN’T YOU MAKING ME FEEL BETTER, ALREADY??
We moved her into our bed the first night, just wanting to comfort her/keep her quiet(er). But I think it did more harm than good in hindsight—I don’t think the body heat meshed well with her fever. She was up an average of once an hour for pretty much three straight nights. We took turns bumbling in the dark with her, singing, rocking, nose-blowing, etc. Nobody was having a really good time.
The fever broke the second night, or so we thought. But then the lights went down again, and the fever took to the stage for a brief encore. Then it was really done. She rallied. She started playing again, started eating. Pretty soon she was back to her normal, ornery self.
We have learned to not panic too much in these situations, but it’s also hard when you feel like you’re just sitting here doing NOTHING while your child suffers. That’s not true, but it certainly feels that way. I was always brought up to believe that if you’re sick, you run to the doctor any old time of day and you’re magically better. Right?
Well…not quite. Then I found out about “sick visits,” which generally happen for about an hour a day. If you’re outside that window, you’re on your own. But not really. The nurses I’ve called during “emergencies” are very thorough, diligent and reassuring. Fevers are scary things, though; partly because doctors don’t like to commit to numbers, in terms of how high is too high. This nurse gave me the first straight answer I’ve ever gotten, which I appreciated.
When the time does come (and it will), have some infant medicine on hand, your facts and observations straight, keep calm, and give the nurses a ring first. It can save you a panicky, unnecessary doctor’s run.