Having a Fever in the Swine Flu World

I'm not sure if any of you out there have had any fevers lately, but I'm here to tell you that Fever World is a whole new place now that the Swine Flu is in town.

Here are some things that might be different for you if your child starts running a fever in this new Swine Flu Environment, based on events that have happened in our house the past 24 hours.

When your elder son first comes to you complaining of a headache and not feeling well, you most likely will just chalk it up to being tired from a recent sleepover or perhaps a virus running around. You will transition over to the "virus" choice when he crawls in bed under the heavy comforter and goes to sleep in the middle of the afternoon. This will be especially true if it is 102 degrees outside and despite the wonderful invention of air conditioning, it is way to hot in your house to be under a comforter in the daytime. Later you will tuck your child into bed with a fever of 101, your fear of him being sick being confirmed.

It will not be until the dead middle of the night after you have found him burning up in bed that a thought will slip into your mind uninvited, "What is this is swine flu?" You will try and remember the typical symptoms posted in every newspaper and magazine a few weeks ago, but will still eventually be able to fall back asleep again, waiting to see what the morning holds.

After you return midmorning from a dental appointment and find that your son's temperature is 102.4, you will dare to casually mention the swine flu fear to your spouse, who will agree that it needs looking into.

The doctor's office will be happy to give you a late-afternoon appointment with the doctor of your choice until they find out just how high his fever is, and that his other main symptom is a headache. Then they will want you to come in that morning with the doctor of their choice.

They will request that your son wait outside the office building until you can come in and secure a mask for him, which he will have to wear for the duration of his office visit.

One point of good news is that you will be able to surpass all of the people waiting in the waiting room, and can go straight to the back to fill in all those important papers. You can not, however, smile and wave at them as you go by, or even shrug apologetically, as you really don't want to see their looks of concern all focused on your son.

The nurses will have a serious air about them as they attend to you, and even have whispered consultations around you concerning your masked child.

When the doctor tells you that he does think it is some kind of flu, he will go ahead and take a swab to check specifically for swine flu. However, he will then tell you that they won't know exactly until next week when the lab results come back.

The doctor will prescribe Tamiflu, and then will warn you that there are some psychological symptoms, like children becoming "goofy" upon taking it. He will also mention one distant case in Japan when child became suicidal after taking it, but he's never, ever heard of any other case of that since. You will then begin to liken the medicine in your mind to that water that Dumbledore must drink in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", which introduces him to a world of pain and fear that he must drink completely for the betterment of the world. This is a disturbing comparison that you can easily push out of your mind, but it will still bother you slightly to give your child something that could provide any kind of psychological symptoms.

(As a side note, your younger son will have none of these concerns, and will instead run for his video camera to be sure and capture for all posterity any "goofiness" that the medicine brings about...)

You will take your child home and put a wet rag on his head on the couch. You will wonder if the report comes back next week that it was swine flu, if you will tell anyone or not. It's a toss up between having an invisible "I survived the swine flu" badge, which would certainly be a conversation starter, or knowing that with something like this comes a little bit of nervousness, and fear...

All in all, you will have the knowledge that in a few days it should all be passed - whether it be flu or virus, or whatever...if no one else gets it.

Barbara  – (27 July 2009 at 16:51)  

Well, I was hoping you'd post today, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind -- although it was funny thinking about Jacob running for his video camera. Hope Jericho feels better soon.

jlockecz  – (27 July 2009 at 23:05)  

I just hope it doesn't hit me on the way to or in Atlanta!

Jen  – (30 July 2009 at 06:44)  

I am counting on you all getting to wear the mentioned badge. :)
Hope Jericho is on the mend soon!

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