I’d forgotten how alarming fevers can be. It’s been awhile since my son’s head felt so hot. After changing him from the stifling footed-pj’s into cooler wear, taking his temperature and placing a cold compress on his forehead, I worked hard on tuning out the alarmist-speak in my mind, replacing it with: Fevers are common. Fevers come out of nowhere, at least with my son. Fevers mean his body is fighting the whatever-it-is and this is a good thing. I have friends who traveled with their children in countries where they didn’t speak the language and their kids bloomed fevers and yet—all worked out—meaning, I know the language here, I know where the nearest ER is if necessary, I know how to use the newfangeld beeping thermometer thingies, I am good at reading my son, I have learned something in 3 years about fevers and colds and flu and boo boos and tantrums and head knocks and coughs and all that goes with raising baby to toddler to preschooler.
So I didn’t call the 24/7 nurse or ask my husband his thoughts on taking our son to the ER. I believed the thermometer (instead of upping it 5 to 10 degrees, blindly responding to unhelpful hysteria), called upon my fever-educators (Dr. Spock, Dr. Sears, my sisters, my mommy friends), got him comfortable and waited. And the fever passed. And just as importantly as the passing of this fever? My not freaking out—like that first time he had a fever and of course we were out of town and we freaked out and took him to the ER where he screamed, where the doc on call had no experience with sick babies and had to phone her superior, who of course advised her to give our baby the parent-pacifier-antibiotic: amoxicillin, about which our pediatrician shook his head sadly when we told him because the fever should have been left to just run its course—it wasn’t even 103—but what the hell did we know? Feverish crying baby, nervous new parents up 5 times in the night to call the 24/7 nurse—okay, those days are over. I will never rule out a visit to the ER, but I will also never rule out listening to intuition, staying calm, learning from past sicknesses, continually educating myself as a parent, and above all: Vigilance. “Listen, PB,” someone told me. “If it isn’t serious, LET it not be serious. Okay?” Yep. Okay.
I’ve written all this from my sickbed. No fever. No coffee. No nanny (not that I’ve ever had one). The good news: It’s a preschool day and I think I’ve turned the corner. Hysteria? Ha ha ha! Or, rather: Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa…OM.