Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Do You Do When Your Baby's Sick?

            The baby’s had a runny nose for almost a week now, and last night she felt hot. Michelle said, “She’s got a fever!”
I said, “It’s not a fever.” But then I remembered somewhere along the line reading that kids have a lower tolerance for fevers than adults. As in, if the kid gets above 100ºF take them to the doctor. I felt Celia’s forehead again and said, “Well, maybe it’s a fever.”
We looked at each other nervously. What do you do when your kid’s sick? We in the modern world don’t have to deal with infant deaths the way people used to hundreds of years ago, or in poor nations today. We don’t see kids die as often, but that doesn’t mean they have no risks. Who knows what could go wrong? It seems like the possibilities and dangers are endless. They’re so frail and helpless. They can’t even tell you what’s wrong.
I remember a few months ago she’d cry and grab at her ear. I didn’t even realize she was doing this until Michelle mentioned it after a week. Suddenly I wondered if she had ear issues, and all these horrible images went through my mind of my daughter going deaf at a young age. Of course, when we checked it out we found out it’s totally normal for kids to feel some pain in their ears when they’re teething.
Every time something’s happened to my baby physically I’ve felt this overwhelming sense of protective angst kick in. I want to do everything to the utmost to make sure the kid is okay. And frankly, when I look from an outside perspective, it seems like they’re such minor things. I mean really, a runny nose? A slight fever? We get those all the time! Who cares!
It’s like everything inside of me has changed now. I care. And I feel quite powerless, in all honesty. I know we’ve got doctors and medicine and information everywhere. We have fever-reducing pills, and computer-powered analyzers, but in the midst of all these resources it still seems like life is messy and organic. I just don’t know what to expect.
And so, at the end of all my mind’s ramblings, I placed my hand on my little daughter’s head and offered up a blessing and a prayer for her safety and quick recovery. It would seem that even though I’m wading in the most high-tech resources, deep in the human spirit I’ve still got a pre-technology, simple, spiritual approach to life.

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