Sick of the Sick

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings, The Sick

In just over 24 hours, how could our baby girl go from this:

Hey Madelyn. The Beatles called. They want their hair back.

Hey Madelyn. The Beatles called. They want their hair back.

to this:

I'm in so much trouble for making this photo public.

I’m in so much trouble for making this photo public.

On Tuesday morning, Madelyn woke up hot to the touch. I doubted my therMOMeter — my lips — because I’d thought she’d had fevers in the past only to use the real thermometer to find out that she was fine and normal. So where were my magical lips that could feel fever? As a kid, I remember my mom could put her lips on my forehead, squint in deep thought, and pronounce “one-oh-one point two!” and Regis Philbin would say, “Final ansa?!” and my mom would be like, “Yes, Reeg. Final answer!” and then she’d take my temperature with the real thermometer and sure enough, her therMOMeter was right. Every freakin’ time. (P.S. Let’s pretend for a second that Who Wants to Be A Millionaire was on TV in the late 80s and early 90s because shows like Pyramid and other ones that my mom watched didn’t require the “final answer” schtick). So now as a mom myself, would my lips lie to me?

I kissed her on her head. Warm. But, like, she’s alive and (kind of) well, so that’s a good start. Then I kissed her tummy and it was like backdraft. I may even have third degree burns on my face. The baby was hot. So I took her temperature and she definitely had a high one to the tune of 102.2.

After some milk and water and citrus, I took it again a couple hours later and Madelyn spiked to 104.8. This is a number that grown ups don’t like and I called the pediatrician to find out what she’d like me to do for Madelyn. I should say that this was our first rodeo with a real, true fever. We’ve been so lucky that for 17.5 months, Madelyn has been super healthy! She’s had one bad cold and that’s it. So I felt late to the sickness party, but still very fortunate that Madelyn has had such a clean bill of health for so long. I will say, as much as I did not appreciate this bug invading my daughter’s body, I didn’t mind the cuddles and low-key disposition from the usually rambunctious and busy Madelyn. It felt good to feel needed and I savored every moment of her in my lap in search of hugs.

Kisses and snuggles hold us over until we hear back from the doctor.

Kisses and snuggles hold us over until we hear back from the doctor.

I know how to take care of myself when I’m sick, but I’m not sure what’s appropriate for a toddler and even though I played doctor on Google, I wanted to hear it straight from the source: our beloved pediatrician.

I called and they needed to call me back. I’m sure the office was swamped with other sick kiddos. When I finally heard back and the doctor learned of Madelyn’s 104.8 reading, she asked if we could come in at 5 at the end of her day. And this is why I love her. She’s a working mom and always has time for other peoples’ kids. Amazing doctor.

Super Daddy to the rescue!! aka Mommy gets to breathe for a minute.

Super Daddy to the rescue!! aka Mommy gets to breathe for a minute.

Bryan met us there straight from work and Madelyn was happy to see her handsome daddy. Even when she’s sick, she knows a good thing when she sees it. Thankfully, she was clear for any kind of nasty infections like strep and ears and the doctor performed a flu test that 80% ruled out flu. She wanted to check for UTI, but in the 20 minutes we were there, Madelyn wouldn’t pee in the bag. So she sent us home with pee bag souvenirs to facilitate ourselves. So, no diagnosis, but she told us how we should treat her fever and would like the bags returned with pee the next day for urinalysis. All of the examinations were done with much protest by the patient, requiring parental involvement in the fashion of arm restraints and leg holds. Really fun. The butcher paper on the table was soaked with tears. So was my shirt. Kudos to me for wearing black. A wet t-shirt contest in the office of the pediatrician would not be savory.

Unimpressed with life on the butcher paper and not even getting to enjoy a pastrami on rye.

Unimpressed with life on the butcher paper and not even getting to enjoy a pastrami on rye.

Back at home, Madelyn got a cool bath which she did not love and then went to sleep. Like the usual rockstar she is, she never woke up once even though I slept with one eye open the whole night. Glad one of us got sleep!

In the morning, Madelyn’s personality was back. So was her temperature. At 102.7, we pumped her back up with Advil and affixed the fresh new pee bag. Over the next three hours, she had a half of a popsicle, a couple slices of grapefruit, a handful of blueberries, a few Cheerios, and a pouch of applesauce. She refused liquids. She was not into anything — juice, water, milk. She was falling asleep in the high chair — a new first — so I knew it was time for a nap. I checked her bag and it was empty so I put her to sleep, hoping she’d go while she snoozed.

Asleep at the dining table and refusing all forms of nourishment? She has lost her Friedman card.

Asleep at the dining table and refusing all forms of nourishment? She has lost her Friedman card.

After her “nap” which consisted of on-and-off shut eye and talking to herself, I checked her bag which was still empty and surrounded by other waste, so that was a lost cause. I checked her temp and she was normal, so I felt better about things. I slapped on our last bag and hoped she’d pee before the end of the day.

But two hours later, she still refused liquids and her temp soared back up to 103.3 and her bag was still empty! I even baked cookies because what goes perfectly with cookies? Right? No. Nothing. Apparently. Then I squirted chocolate syrup into her milk because, I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate milk?! Madelyn. That’s who. She wouldn’t touch it. No juice. No fruit cup. No flavored waters. This girl could live off of sand in the Sahara. I called the doctor to say that I have not turned in my homework because my daughter is a camel! She warned me that dehydration is serious and that she needs liquids so she’s either going to get it through a syringe or at the ER via IV. Neither sounded fun.

Short of water boarding her, Madelyn was force fed liquids via syringe because the ER was not exactly my idea of a fun evening or a helpful one to any of our immune systems. She fought it so hard. Oh my gosh. If you’re ever in a dark alley and you’re being chased and you need someone to back you up with arm chops and kicks and crazy, angry Miss Piggy hiiii-ya! kind of stuff, call Madelyn. Email me for her phone number. She means business.

So I escaped the ordeal without needing rhinoplasty, but she got a few syringe-full doses of water and juice, even though she might hate me for it for the rest of our lives. Better to get it out now than when she’s 16, yes?

And because there was an entire factory of Minute Maid all over her body, I stuck her in the bath which was met with whining because of the coolness of the water, but then she got over it and she played and giggled as if we were best friends again. Phew. I was worried.

Bryan came home from work and saw her all happy and was probably like “why is my wife a beast with frizzy hair and juice all over her face and the house a disaster and our dog jumping up and down in desperate pleas of ‘HELP. ME’ when there’s a perfectly happy and sparkly baby girl jubilantly playing in the bathtub?” Actually, he probably wasn’t like that because he gets it. But yeah, thanks a lot, Madelyn, for putting on a good show for your father.

After the bath, she was in great spirits! We tried to incite more thirst by loading her up on salty snack foods, but she only had a few bites and then was on to our scheme. She barely sipped from her cups. So, we went Gitmo-style and force fed our sick little terrorist with liquids via syringe and she cursed us in her baby language “I WILL NOT GIVE UP THAT INFORMATION!” Even though it was upsetting me, too, I tried not to gasp and breathe like Carrie Mathison and really wished I had Saul Berenson on hand to calm everyone down with his beard and Hebrew.

The torture ended and we figured she was so exhausted, she just needed sleep. My mom, with all of her therMOMeter glory, always said that sleep is the best medicine. So we took her temp one more time (normal! Score!) and soothed her to bed.

She’s now sleeping peacefully and I’m hoping to catch a wink or two myself. Taking care of a sick toddler is no fun. Whenever I’d heard of my friends’ babies being sick, I always felt bad for the baby. I still do, of course, because I have a soul (somewhere. Deep down.). But now I feel bad for the caretaker. Like, really bad. My job is still the best and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else, but yesterday and today were hard. I’m sad Madelyn is sick and that she isn’t all rah-rah about the numerous remedies I keep trying to do for her. C’mon, Madelyn. Pretend I’m Jerry Maguire. Help me help you. Help me. Help you. Aaaaand then I go make out with Renee Zellweger while Jonathan Lipnicki talks about human heads.

Crossing fingers we wake up with normal temps and thirst. And then the countdown is on for the germs to attack Bryan and me next. In 5…4… 3…

  1. 1/23/2013 9:46 PM

    Sounds rough! Crossing my fingers for you she stays well and you guys too. Sick babies are no fun! At least you get an adorable blog post out of it though. 🙂