Friday, May 4, 2012

Tea and Sympathy

Caedmon is sick.

He's running a high fever.  That's about it.  Well, that I know of.  He's too little to be able to communicate things like, "My head hurts," or "I feel really nauseated."  I'm well aware that he's not feeling his best, as all he wants to do is lay on either Derek or me and be rocked.  Put him down, and he cries like he's just suffered the most devastating personal rejection of his short little life.

It's pretty sad; our Caedmon is generally a sunny little fellow, smiling and being all-around cute.  So of course I want to do everything in my power to make him to feel better.

I have a super scientific way of going about this.

During the day, I hold him.  I rock him and bounce him around and give him lots of fluids and sympathy.  I do not, as a rule, give him any medicine.  I feel like his body is elevating its temperature for a reason- to kill whatever nasty bug has infiltrated his system- and over-medicating him will only prolong his illness.  This has nothing to do with the fact that as soon as our little Spud starts running a fever he inevitably climbs into my lap, I squeal, "Oooh!  Cuddles!"  and bury my face in his hair.  Nothing at all.

With this method comes the fear of things like febrile seizures.  None of our children has ever had one, but I can just imagine the phone call to the doctor if Caedmon was the one who did.  They'd ask what kind of medication we've been giving to treat his fever, and I'd have to say, "Um, none."  They'd ask why, and I'd have to tell them that I've been purposely withholding Tylenol from my sick son.

Now, before you fill yourself with some holy, righteous indignation, let me tell you that I will give him Tylenol during the day if he seems over-the-top miserable for awhile, and I always give him Tylenol at bedtime.  It's hard to sleep when you don't feel well, and I feel like lots of rest is important to recovery.  I will also dose him if his fever is getting high enough to frighten even me.

I talked to a friend yesterday after Caedmon fell ill, and she asked if I was going to take Caedmon to the doctor.

I was confused.  Why would I take him to the doctor?

Keep in mind that I didn't get to go the doctor when I was a kid.  My mom is a nurse.  We only got to go to the doc if we had cholera or tuberculosis.  I never had either of those, so I stayed home.

She didn't withhold Tylenol, like I do.  But she did wield a spray bottle.

My youngest sister, Steph, got to visit the doctor all the time.  She has a seizure disorder, the lucky duck.

When they wanted to test her little kid brain, they'd hook her up to all kinds of fun stuff to see just what was going on in there.  Oh, but before they did that, they wanted her good and sleep-deprived.

That meant she often had to stay up the night before the test.  Kids often tell you they don't want to go to bed- they're not tired!

They're lying.  Don't believe them.

My other sister, mom, and I would take shifts throughout the night, staying awake with Steph, trying to keep her from sneaking off to the bathroom, locking the door, and falling asleep on the floor in front of the toilet.  Let me tell you, I got really good at unlocking that door from the outside with a bobby pin.

Mom had the best job of all, driving Steph to the doctor's office the next morning.  The neurologist was, of course, located in Wichita, an hour's drive to the north.  Imagine having to stay awake all night long, then trying not to fall asleep on a monotonous, 60-minute drive past cows, fields, and an occasional tiny town.

Of course Stephanie kept falling asleep.

In response, Mom would spray her with a water bottle that we usually kept by the ironing board and yell at her to wake up.  While driving.

I love this mental picture.  It always makes me laugh.

To sum up, I tend not to feel too guilty about my treatment of our sick children.  Sometimes moms have to do things that might seem strange to other people.  Like withhold their medication, or spray them in the face with water.

Judge away.

Update:  I wrote this post this morning, when Caedmon and Atticus were both sleeping in.  Shortly after publishing, Caedmon awoke, and I went upstairs to get him.  He still had a fever, but of more concern to me was the red, raised rash that was covering so much of his body.  I called my mom.  She said that it was likely a virus and that although we didn't need to go to the doctor (of course), some tylenol might help, as would some children's benadryl.  Her consult combined with Caedmon's extreme fussiness and plaintive cries of, "Owie!  Owie!  Owie!" caused me to immediately cave and give him some meds.

What can we learn from this?  You really shouldn't listen to anything I say.

But you already knew that.


  1. I hope your little guy is better now. My mom wasn't a nurse and I still rarely take my kids to the doctor for illnesses--they must be really sick.

    I posted the reply to your question on my blog, but wasn't sure if you would get back over there, so I'll give it to you here too:

    The best way I have found to learn about book sales is to get on a list serve for home schoolers in our community. Many people post book sales, fun activities they've found, and some times they even organize group purchases for zoo passes or field trips.

    The Home School Legal Defense Fund has a listing of many organizations here:

  2. the mental picture of your mom taking Steph to the doctor in Wichita made me laugh too. I used the spray bottles to get boys out of beds when they were teenagers. have used it recently on Justin to get him up for church. Have to be ready to run fast though. :)

    1. I love the thought of Justin chasing you through the house. Who knew spray bottles were such a useful parenting tool?

  3. =D Cracks me up, as usual. Especially relevant as I've spent the last two days holding Tyrell whose fever has ranged from 100 to 103.4 (those are the two times I took his temperature, who knows what it was at other times). He had Tylenol before bed each night. :)

    When I was a kid I broke my foot carrying my little brother down the stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. My parents told me it would be better in the morning, so I dutifully hopped back up the stairs to bed. :) Hey, we survived, right?!


Studies show that that people who leave comments are kind, intelligent, generous, creative, and have really nice hair.