Mabel came out of school on Tuesday looking a bit forlorn. When I asked her what was wrong, I got a garbled explanation whispered directly into my hair about her homework folder and PE and lunchtime and the counsellor, and it took a little prodding to get to the bottom of the story, which seemed to be that Mabel had spent all day worried that she’d done something wrong because she didn’t get her homework folder back as they usually would on a Tuesday morning. Since there was no school for the rest of the week because of Thanksgiving, the teacher was treating it like a Friday and keeping their folders till Monday, but Mabel forgot that. She looked so worried at lunchtime that the counsellor took her out of PE later on to draw a picture, presumably to find out what was troubling her. Things were finally resolved by the end of the day, I think, but she was still unhappy about all this, which seemed very much like a storm in a tiny teacup to me.
All became clear about three hours later when I realised that Whiny McSnugglepants on the sofa was running a fever. She’d been whiny and very much into snuggling for a few days, actually; I think it was sneaking up on us for a while.
And it’s been a doozy, relatively speaking. It’s Friday now and she still has a fever; though she was delightfully cool this morning for the first time since Tuesday evening without medicinal aid. I don’t think either of the kids have run a temperature consistently for that long before, though there was the time Dash had swine flu when his temperature would head up to about 100 every afternoon for two weeks.
I don’t know what her temperature has actually been most of the time; when I’ve taken it once or twice during the day it’s been around 101, so not terribly high. But I’m sure it’s been higher at night, though she’s been going to bed blessedly early and sleeping well enough, though waking up if I don’t stay with her for part of the night. Last night she was restless; I gave her some Motrin and waited for it to work, fretting a bit when it seemed that it wasn’t cooling her down much at all. At one point she turned to face me and put one of her little hands on each of my cheeks, gazing at me pathetically with big glassy eyes. My heartstrings, they were tugged. She seems a lot smaller than her six years at night, and when she’s so quiet and docile like this. Polite, even. Clearly sick.
A little while later in the night I realised she was sweating like crazy, for the first time since she’d had the fever, and I knew it had broken. I felt like Meg in Little Women, sitting beside Beth’s bed. (Not in Good Wives. We won’t take the simile that far at all.) All the tropes about the colour coming back to her cheeks (even though it was dark so I couldn’t see), falling into a deep restful renewing sleep, they all came flooding into my mind and I smiled happily and retreated to my own bed.
This morning all was right with the world and I didn’t call the doctor’s office to make the appointment I’d planned if the fever was still going. Of course, a few hours later she was hot again and shivering under three blankets on the sofa, and I called the number to find that they’d only been open for emergencies between 9 and 10 this morning. (It being the Friday after Thanksgiving, which makes it basically St Stephen’s Day in Irish terms, if you’re wondering why that would be.) But I called their answering service and a doctor called me back (I love that about our pediatrician’s office) and said that it sounded like things were going in the right direction and not to bring her to urgent care just yet. If her temp peaks at 103 or more tonight, it would be good to go tomorrow, to make sure it’s nothing like strep or pneumonia or another infection, that’s all. I like it that she gave me a concrete number there, not some wishy-washy subjective observation-type thing.
Of course, the bad thing about it being “just” a virus is that we might still all get it. Yay?