maybe next year...

The new year is barely 4 months old and I am sorry to admit that I must already take myself out of the running for "Mother of the Year". (Yah, like I was ever really in the running... more like just showed up to get the T-shirt!) Sigh. And I had the space on the mantle all ready for that trophy!

Little Guy had his first real bout with illness this week -- snotty nose, pitiful baby cough, the whole nine yards minus the vomit and diarrhea (thank God!). He also had a bit of a fever, the determining of which is the reason for this post.

While pregnant, Big Guy and I took the standard issue battery of new parent classes to "prepare" us for our new roles. We'll have a chance to discuss how "prepared" we got in the 20+ hours of playing with dolls, looking at charts, posters, and diagrams, and listening to speakers ranging from dry to coma-inducing in some other post. Let's just focus on the two minute discussion in one particular class that focused on teaching us the delicate art of temperature taking.

There are three ways to take a temperature (well, at least three were discussed in this class) -- oral, axillary (armpit), and rectal. Guess which one is the most reliable for infants. Yah, we were a bit uncomfortable with that one, too. But as educated adults faced with the oncoming responsibility of caring for a new life, we opened our minds and learned the proper technique. Whew! We were now prepared!

Fast-forward to Monday afternoon. Little Guy had gotten increasingly more cranky as the day wore on. Getting him up from his afternoon nap, it's suddenly obvious to me that this is not just a case of "irritable baby". Oh, dear God, my baby is SICK. And it's my job to FIX IT. No handing him a tissue and nagging him to take some Advil. Brain begins to spin, heartrate quickens. This is not a drill, people, this is GO TIME!!!

I manage to push my panic back down to just above my stomach and calmly lay him down on the changing table. Good, good, give him a minute or so to calm down. Maybe he's just warm from being all covered up. Change the diaper, check his forehead again. Yup, still warm. Okay, I can handle this. The medical supplies -- nail clippers, cotton swabs, miscellaneous tubes of ointments -- are neatly at the ready in the top drawer (top, because we are so responsible and prepared), so it only takes me a second to find the kit with the digital thermometer that we purchased for exactly this moment. And the vaseline is right next to it. I'm all set. Little Guy is all ready, looking at me with those big blue eyes, imploring me to MAKE IT BETTER. I prepare my equipment, take a deep breath, and...

I can't do it. Mentally, I can't stand the idea that I'm about to inflict further discomfort on my little baby who is already miserable. Physically, I can't get close enough to the changing table to do the deed because MY butt-cheeks are clenched so tightly together in protest that I'm afraid they'll have to be surgically separated. I hear the nurse "The most reliable temperature is one that measures the heat of the core of the body..." I hear the pediatrician "The more accurate information you can give us when you call in, the better..." In my minds eye I can see the green handout that reassures us that "only minor discomfort will be felt." It doesn't matter. I can't do it.

The owner's instructions that came with the thermometer instruct us to add .9 degrees to a temperature taken in the armpit. I suck at math. That's okay, I'll approximate. As long as it's not over 101, I'm good. Somewhere I remember that 102 is the cut-off for when to call and when to let it run it's course. The thermometer beep-beep-be-beeps at 99.7. Quick calculation in my head (carry the one.... ), I'm safe! After his shots, the good Dr. said I could give him Tylenol to help with the discomfort, so I go with that, give him a dose, and we sit down in the chair to cuddle. Crisis adverted. No trophy, no prizes, but I'm okay with that.



Jacqueline said...

Honestly, though, I think you DO win. In fact, you win Mother of the Millenium simply for not making LG go through THAT. blech. You did good, sister. You did good. ("That'll do, pig, that'll do." :-) I need sleep.

mirah said...

Hey, I have to agree with Jac (she ratted you out, btw, so blame her if you didn't want me to find your blog, LOL!). You definitely win the Excellence in Motherhood Award!

Four years and 3 kids into this game, and I have yet to take a rectal temp, and have NO plans of doing so any time soon, LOL! Of course, it helps a good bit that my doctor thinks they are a total waste of time...

According to her, the axilliary and rectal temps of infants and toddlers doesn't generally vary even as much as a half a degree, so the notion that rectal is more accurate may be theoretically true, but practically speaking, it's not a lot of help.

Especially in light of the very real threat of rectal perforation and other such nasty things....(shudder)

Of course, she also says that unless a fever is over 105 (because under 106, there's virtually no chance of any sort of brain damage), and is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, etc., it should just be left alone to fight off the illness or infection naturally!

Unless, of course, the fever is interrupting our sleep...then bring on the drugs! ;-) Anything to buy a good night's sleep, I say!

Anyway, I just had to comment--the visual image of your butt cheeks clenching in protest had me LOL, and I couldn't agree more!

I also have to mention that I glanced through your archives...your post on breastfeeding was simply gorgeous! So very moving, so exactly what I have felt and thought myself. You made me cry. And I don't mean "cry" like the way you used to by cracking me on the skull with Barbie dolls, either! ;)

But just wait--if you think nursing can churn up the mixed emotions and bring on the tears, just wait until he starts to wean! That'll do you in for sure! But he's still very young, so I hope you won't have to experience that any time soon!

Love and kisses, to you and to Little Guy! Can't wait to see you both!

mirah said...

Daaayum! I had no idea my comment was THAT FREAKIN' LONG! Sorry! (yikes!) And I have no idea how to edit it....that'll teach me to preview next time, huh?

Okay, I'll hush now, since I've already gone over my comment quota for the next, oh, decade...

Elena said...

I wondered why she used an alias, I mean, really, she's a preacher's wife... what could she POSSIBLY have to hide?...

... and then... and then... I read the NEXT comment and all the SAILOR TALK, and, well,... now, I, KNOW!!

As far as rectal readings go... there are enough butt heads in the world already, why become one?

And that's All I GOT TO SAY 'BOUT THAT!!!

Susan said...

LOL, sorry to take the fun out of the mystery -- "mirah" is what I used to call her. Guess we must have started that after you got married & moved on to adulthood... Her equivalent to your "Linka", I suppose!