Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sick day

It sounded like hiccups, but it was not hiccups. The sound that woke us up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning was one of the notorious sounds parents dread, a sound worse than a vase crashing or Elmo singing (though not much worse). It was the sound of our child becoming sick. We went to Kyle's room, cleaned him up, and put him back to bed to sleep some more. He did... until 5:30 a.m., when we heard the sound again. Once again, we changed the crib sheet and pajamas, and put him back to bed. Forty-five minutes later we were woken up again, but this time we decided there was no point in trying to sleep any more.

I hate when Kyle is sick. I know this is a surprise to many of you, as most parents thoroughly enjoy having their stomachs in knots all weekend, checking their kid's temperature and making sure the little one's drinking enough fluids. It's usually hyped as a super fun time, but it's just not for me. Whenever Kyle's ill, a gloom settles over the apartment. We spend every moment attending to him... which, come to think of it, is really no different than any other day. His reaction, though, isn't quite the same. On normal days, Kyle enjoys the attention by running around, laughing, and finding ways to climb onto things that could seriously hurt him. During this illness, the little guy sat in one spot and stared into space. You could throw a ball-shaped pillow at his head and he wouldn't react, even if you did it a dozen times. Don't ask me how I know this.

Thank goodness for pediatricians, because, quite frankly, I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing when it comes to illness. Is it starve a fever, feed a cold... or the other way around? How high is too high a temperature? Is it wrong to throw a sick kid into the air, or feed him cookies and bacon? Fortunately, the doctor on call at our pediatrician's office had some simple advice for dealing with a stomach bug that's been going around (don't sit too close to the computer screen... it may be contagious). She said to make sure he drinks plenty of fluids, including drinks with extra nutrients to make up for whatever was lost during his rough moments. She recommended Pedialyte, watered-down juice, and Gatorade, which will also give him much-needed help with his hook shot. Kyle, being as picky of a drinker as he is an eater, rejected all of these, but fortunately he still drank plenty of water and ate fairly well. It didn't take too long for him to start acting normal again.

As difficult as any illness is, this one was much better than the last time around, when we were hit by a thunderous temperature of 104 degrees. Personally, I prefer cleaning up messes to watching my son burn up like program fliers at a pyromaniacs convention. The fever made him incredibly lethargic, so much so that our kid, who can't sit still unless he's strapped in to be fed, actually cuddled. Before we noticed the temperature, he was being so sweet to Jennifer we knew something must have been terribly wrong. When we called the doctor after discovering the fever, we were told to make sure he kept eating and drinking, and to give him some Tylenol to keep the temperature down. She said we should bring him in if his fever didn't break after a few days or if it hit 106 degrees. Otherwise, we were fine waiting it out as long as he kept eating and drinking. It was good advice, but we couldn't help but worry every minute. We would check his temperature, and moments later I'd want to check it again. It was hard to tell whether Kyle was bothered more by his illness or the thermometer.

At one point I figured I'd get some comfort in hearing what other parents did in situations like this. So I turned to the greatest community forum of them all: the internet. After a few Google searches and a couple of clicks, I came across a message board of people who were in the same situation we were in. Their notes read something like this:

"I'm so glad we took our kid to the ER with a temperature of 104. She could have died!"
"I'm hot like a kid with a fever. If you want a good time click here."
"Turns out fever my kid had was caused by a severe ear infection and he needed to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency operation."
"A temperature over 103 degrees WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The internet did not ease my anxiety. Fortunately for all of us, the fever broke the day after I read the internet's "advice." Kyle was back to his old self, and he even celebrated the return of his health by bouncing in his crib and popping open a bottle of sparkling formula (again, this was months ago; we have sparkling milk now for special occasions). I later found out from the doctor that, no, a 104 temperature will not fry a child's brain, though it might give it a good tan.

Kyle's latest illness appears over, too, and I am just as relieved. During moments like these, I am reminded that parenting is just a lifelong experience in "winging it." When I was younger, I must have believed that becoming a parent would give you superpowers. Suddenly you would know how to cure all illnesses, coach any sport, answer any school homework question, fix a car, and make sense of the tax code. After all, my parents seemed to have the answers for everything. Unfortunately, I'm still the same Dave I was five years ago, just as clueless about most things, but a lot more tired. I do say "most"and not "all" things because I am learning a lot through trial-and-error. I just hope I don't make any errors that would scar Kyle for life, or ruin the illusion that I do have superpowers.

Then again, if I do, I guess we could always have a second kid to get things right.

1 comment:

JoannaP said...

Hah..Travis pulled that stunt last night. Fortunately no fever and a quick recovery. I'm glad Kyle is over it too.