I’m going to preface this post with a note, just to be safe. I am not a doctor. If your child is sick, hurt, or not acting like themselves, consult your pediatrician.
Being a parent brings certain joys to your life. It also brings harrowing scares into it. Literally anything could happen to your child, and it’s nerve-wracking. You can try your best to keep them safe, but the world is not a perfectly safe place to live in. I recently encountered the unfortunate nature of the world in which we live.
My daughter woke up on a Thursday morning with a fever of 103.1°F. This isn’t uncommon in children. Most pediatricians even say that a fever usually is not indicative of anything horrible – it’s the other symptoms that are presented alongside the fever that are the issue. If your child is acting fine with a fever, they’re probably okay. Our daughter was not acting fine. She was very sleepy, wouldn’t eat or drink much, and generally, didn’t want to move. This had us nervous, but since her fever was in the normal range as far as fevers go, we figured we would let her nap a bit and see if she felt better in the afternoon.
To make matters even more stressful, I had to fly out of town Thursday afternoon for a work conference. I’d be gone for 3 days (returning Sunday). When I left the house, I told my wife to call me if anything happened, and to call the airline if we were in the air to have a stewardess inform me of any issues. I left at 2:00 PM and was a nervous wreck the entire trip to the airport, in the air, and on the way to the hotel. I was in constant communication with my wife during all of this, getting frequent updates. From her side of things, our daughter was not getting better.
At 5:00 PM, my wife informed me that our daughter had a fever of 105.3°F. That was doctor territory (possibly even ER). She called our pediatrician and explained the situation. The pediatrician told my wife to give her a full dose of acetaminophen (we usually only give half doses when we use it) and put her in the bath with lukewarm water. After 20 minutes, the doctor called back. My wife had gotten the fever down to 103.7. The pediatrician said that we should probably take our daughter to urgent care to be safe. I’m wringing my hands in the hotel through all of this, mind you.
At 6:30 PM, my wife arrives at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus (which is an amazing facility) and is told that there is a 2 hour wait. Apparently, our daughter’s high fever isn’t that concerning to the triage nurse. So they wait (and I text her frequently).
By the time my wife finally gets called back, our daughter’s fever had broke and was at 99.7°F. Our daughter was also acting pretty normal (if not a bit sleepy, since it was nearly an hour after her bedtime). The urgent care doctor says that fevers are usually okay depending on how the child is acting. My wife felt embarrassed like she was being a stereotypical overly concerned parent, and I’m a bit upset the doctor at urgent care didn’t reassure her that bringing our daughter in was the right call (especially since our pediatrician told us to do it).
We still don’t know what caused the fever. They tested for a UTI and flu, but both tests came back negative. The rest of my trip went fine, since I knew our daughter was doing well. The next day, she was right as rain, and my wife was able to go to a Journey concert as she had planned. My parents watched our daughter overnight and said she was fine the whole time.
It was a whirlwind of an experience, but I am now a more knowledgeable parent and will know how to react the next time a sickness like this shows up.