Saturday, January 21, 2006

what, me worry?

The Potato was pretty sick last night, and I'm dragging today. He ran a high fever, and he wouldn't go to sleep alone. I sat in the rocking chair in his room with him for an hour or so, and eventually let him fall asleep in our bed. The fever had broken by the time I fell asleep, but I didn't want to move him. I know all parents hate it when their kids are sick, but I'm scared as hell of fevers.

The Bee was not quite three when she had her first febrile seizure. It was on a Sunday evening--the three of us had been at a wedding the night before, and she had been sort of tired and listless all that day, but mostly I chalked it up to a late night. We had taken her temperature earlier that evening, and she had a slight fever. She and landisdad were on the couch watching tv when he noticed that she was unconscious--I was at the other end of our family room. He ran to call 911, and after that I sent him down the street to knock on the door of our neighbor--a pediatric nurse--while I held her seizing body and thought, 'she's dying in front of me.' She came out of it right before the paramedics showed up, and they stabilized her with some oxygen, and then we went to the ER. When they took her temp it was about 103--high, but not outrageous. I went in the ambulance with her, and landisdad followed us in the car. She was crying and disoriented the whole time. We got into the pedes ER, and since we clearly weren't a real emergency, had to wait about an hour before being seen by a doctor. The whole time, we were listening to some kid screaming, and I was silently thankful that I wasn't his mother, having to deal with whatever horrible accident had befallen him.

When the doctor finally came, she sent us off to get the Bee an MRI. She was so upset that they had to sedate her to make sure she would lie still for the procedure. She held my thumb as she fell asleep, and then they wheeled her off. She looked so small, lying in the machine...

Eventually, the doctor came and told us that the MRI was fine, she had no brain damage, and diagnosed it as a febrile seizure. She said that some small number of kids have a lower fever threshhold than most people, and that this might happen again, or it might not--and that the Bee would almost surely grow out of it when she was six or seven. She told us that we didn't really need to go to the ER if it happened again, although it was up to us.

In the end, the Bee was also diagnosed with shigellosis, which made us the pariahs of her daycare for a little while (we had to keep her home for three weeks), and actually involved a quarantine from the Department of Health, which made me feel like a Dickens character. That was what had caused her fever (you gotta love it when your kid gets a highly contagious disease that's known as 'the American form of dysentary'. Oh yeah, and when you get it too.).

The second one happened about ten months later. In some ways, it was less scary than the first--at least we knew what was happening. Unlike the first time, she had actually been sick that day, so we weren't totally surprised. But this time, she stopped breathing. And she started to turn blue. I held her (again) as landisdad dialed 911 (again) and ran to the neighbor's (again) (and btw, I was so excited when the pedes nurse moved into the neighborhood, but the guy has literally never been home when we've had an emergency). And again, I thought, 'I'm losing her.' This time, I gave her mouth-to-mouth, and she started breathing almost as if she had forgotten how, and just needed a puff to remind her what to do.

The paramedics came (again), and we went to the hospital. I was about 7 months pregnant with the Potato, so that time LD rode in the ambulance. After it pulled away from the curb, I let myself hyperventilate for about 30 seconds before I dashed to the car to follow them. And (again) the doctor told us that we didn't really have to come to the ER. I was very proud of myself for not saying, 'Bitch, my kid turned blue! We're coming to the hospital every single time that happens.' We went home, no MRI this time, and we spoiled the Bee rotten.

And now every single time one of my kids has a fever, I wonder if it's going to happen again. There's no certainty that it ever will, but there's no certainty that it won't, either. Last night, I thought, 'I wonder if I'll still worry about this when she's 16? or he's 26?' Because if there's one thing I've come to realize about parenting, it's that the worry never ends.

• Posted By landismom @ 1/21/2006 02:49:00 PM
  2. My daughter is the Bumblebee. My son is the Sweet Potato. You'll have to ask their father.

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