Lorelei was on a destructive tear Wednesday evening. I had rudely awakened her from her late nap, so she had to show me who was really boss in this relationship. As a (sometimes unfortunately) very curious and active almost eighteen-month old, this is a pretty common practice of hers. Books must be removed from shelves and strewn across the dining and living rooms. Toys must be dragged from her room and tossed willy-nilly down the hall. Mommy must be screamed at for no discernible reason…
Wait. That last one is not true.
On the rare occasion that she decides not to nap immediately post-lunch and instead passes out in the late-ish afternoon, I’ve gotten into the habit of letting her sleep for an hour and then rousing her from slumber. I probably shouldn’t, but when she chooses four in the afternoon as nap time I don’t have much choice if I want her to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I do. She gets up at the same time every morning, no matter what time she goes to bed at night. Normally, she is crabby for a ten or twenty minutes but I can distract her with toys or coloring or her favorite movie (right now it’s Tangled). When my usual tactics didn’t work, I knew something was up.
I avoid taking her temperature as much as I possibly can. For one thing, I’m not going to take it unless she a) feels hot to the touch or b) is acting like a complete terror. I usually hold out for both conditions to be met unless she is really, really volcanic hot. Which, just so we’re clear has only happened once before when we were all down with the flu this last Christmas. The other reason I avoid taking her temperature is that it is a huge pain in the B-U-T-T. We started out with an ear thermometer, but Lorelei hated it and wouldn’t let me anywhere near her with it so we got one that’s like a pacifier.
(Spare me the lecture about how she shouldn’t use a pacifier and how it’s the most inaccurate and yadda yadda blah blah blah because I don’t give a fuck. It’s what works for us. I would rather have something – inaccurate as it may be – that she will actually let me use than have nothing at all. Okay? )
She didn’t seem very warm to me but coupled with her fit of destruction, I decided to risk her wrath and approached her cautiously with the thermometer. After a minute, it beeped. 101.6 Not that bad but bad enough, especially since she is never sick unless one of us gets sick first. Truth. See: every time she has ever been sick ever
By yesterday evening, despite my best efforts – including Tylenol, a lukewarm bath and cool clothing – she was still wavering between 101 and 102. After refusing dinner, we called our pediatrician – they have an after-hours urgent care – and they told us to come in. We made it there just before it was closing for the night. Everything was fine in the waiting room. Lorelei seemed happy enough to be running around and clutching her stuffed owl, even though it was past her bed time. The second we opened the door to the examine room, however, she went from sleepy but happy toddler to screaming feverbaby!
She screamed when they tried to take her temperature. She screamed when they weigher her. She screamed when they brought her medicine, even though she gulped it down once I managed to get the syringe past her lips. While we waited for the doctor, I bounced her in my lap and pushed her around the room on the little doctor’s stool. She whimpered pathetically but wouldn’t allow us to put her down. Eventually, I traded places with Brian and she was mostly calm by the time the door opened again. What followed was one of the worst ten minute blocks of my life.
My poor baby girl was very scared. She wouldn’t let Brian set her on the examine table and instead clawed at him and reached for me. I held her tightly, feeling her fevered skin burn my cheek, while the doctor tried to listen to her heartbeat and lungs and check for rashes. Eventually, we had to lay her down. Brian held her feet and I held her arms and I shushed her and told her it was going to be okay over and over and over. I wanted to cry to. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the gut, watching her scream in complete terror and knowing that there was nothing I could do until it was all over.
But eventually, it was over. Diagnosis: hand, foot and mouth disease. Translation: nothing we could do accept give her Tylenol and hope her fever went down.
We trudged home and tucked her into bed. She was up several times in the night screaming. I felt like running away.
By this morning, her fever was gone. She wasn’t her usual active self, preferring to curl up next to me on the couch or curl up on top of a pillow on the living room floor. We watched the Royal Wedding (and that’s a whole other post right there) which I had the forethought to DVR. She would clap whenever there was a lot of cheering and she was enthralled during the hymns. She took a long nap at her normal time this afternoon and she seems almost back to normal. For that, I am glad and I hope that we don’t have to go near a doctor’s office for a very long time.