Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Purpose and Meaning of Fever

"Thermoregulation and fever also have a soul-spiritual aspect....When we have a good idea or wax enthusiastic about an ideal, warmth can literally shoot into our limbs. Conversely, fear, anger or great sorrow...makes our blood "run cold."...Fever helps a child's I adapt its inherited body to its own purposes, making it a more suitable vehicle for self-expression."

-A Guide to Child Health, Michaela Gloeckler and Wolfgang Goebel
Today, SillyBilly had a blazing hot fever, diarrhea, stomach pains and vomiting. He was listless and whiny.

My first reaction is to freak out and say, GIVE ME A MAGIC DRUG TO MAKE IT ALL BETTER! I start to worry that he's too hot, that he'll have a seizure, that he has appendicitis, God knows what.

But then, being a good anthromama, I remember that fever is our friend.

I think, it's important to be calm and reassuring, which is really hard if you're freaking out. So I think to myself, I am now calm and reassuring, watch me be competent, here I go. I make SillyBilly take tiny sips of chamomile tea, I bundle him up in my bed, I help him throw up without ruining the bed, I read quietly to him, I hold his hand as he takes an unheard of morning nap.

Then when he wakes up and seems even hotter, I calmly prepare warm lemon water, soak a pair of my cotton socks in the water and wring them out, put them on SillyBilly's legs with a top coat of my wool socks, tuck him under the bedsheet and read more stories to him. I repeat this three times and then try lemon water compresses since he's complaining about the socks feeling funny.

SillyBilly keeps sipping chamomile tea with honey, and takes another afternoon nap with Papa. When he wakes up, he's talking, playing with toy cars, asking for food and feels much less hot.

TRIUMPH!

OK, so I left out the part where I frantically checked my childcare books for reference to appendicitis, intussuception, and other scary things. I left out the part in the morning where we checked him for meningitis with the "kiss your knee" test. I checked his temperature with a thermometer only once (102.5) and the rest of the time we used our hands to judge.

Now I'm wondering if he'll be different tomorrow. I have read that many people have noticed developmental changes in their children after high fevers and other serious illnesses. One thing so far is that right before bed, he spontaneously announced he had to pee, and went in the potty! Perhaps we are on the road to potty training after all.


1 comment:

888 said...

Fever is not always your friend. You can leave up to a certain point but it will be dangerous to let it go unchecked.

http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/factsheets.cfm?doc_id=5200

You can lower the temperature by removing the coverings. Baths are sometimes used.

Don't let it get up too high!

-Bruce