Sunday, April 04, 2010

What do you do for a fever?

I'm asking what you do as a parent when one of your children has a fever. I think for the most part, we do some of the same things. For example, you give your little one some Tylenol or Motrin to help control their fever. You probably also bathe them frequently to help bring down their temperature.

There are some things that we don't think about that other parents go through when you have a sick child. We don't typically talk about waking up a few times at night to check up on the sick child. We don't talk about the heartache that results from purposely putting a child in water that feels cold to him or her; then, you watch them tremble, wanting a blanket or something to cover up. There is a lot we don't share as parents.

Although fevers are commonplace, I think we all have somewhere in the backs of our minds that a while back, children died of such things less than 100 years ago. I don't mean to frighten you; but, a fever could easily get out of control and lead to seizures, if you aren't mindful. Or, a fever could be caused by meningitis or some other scary affliction. The point is, you never know.

Even with all the advances in medicine, there really isn't much you can do that we don't already do. We give a medicine to keep the fever down; we bathe them in tepid water if they get too hot. We wait. For something like a fever, you don't generally start running cat scans and growing cultures. Fevers typically come and go on their own, mysteriously. Even if we knew exactly what was causing the fever, the remedy is the same; you wait.

I think that's the toughest thing, waiting. Although you know that the fever will likely go away as easily as it came, you're always watching for signs that it might be something worse. That's the silent fear that we parents face, that we will be caught off-guard if we don't keep checking. We want to be doing something more; but there isn't more to do than we already do.

Dose. Bathe. Wait. Is this your experience too?

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