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Post-fever Lessons

March 20, 2011

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What’s a granola mom to do when baby has a 104 fever?

It’s amazing how fear can derail your thinking. With friends and family who are nurses, acupuncturists, naturopaths, doctors, herbalists etc. you would think these new parents over here would call someone for advice in handling a crisis like a high infant fever. But, no – we didn’t even think about it until days after the tailspin ended.

An almost 9 month old SJ developed a random fever that got as high as 104! Without baby fever medication on hand and no preparation for dealing with a moment like this, we took him to the emergency room. After his fever came down from the children’s Tylenol the nurse gave, we let them test him for some idea of the fever’s cause. This is the number one reason I hate hospitals. Forgive me medical friends, but the climate of fear in hospital culture is too pervasive for me.

Maybe it’s because I have so little experience with doctors and hospitals, but the whole setup is rife with patient disempowerment. And what the one(s) with power say, must be the case. Even in my limited hospital experiences, that hasn’t proven to be true. This time was no different.

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The gerryrigged IV cover that SJ defeated

After x-rays, a useless catheter (I hate that I let it happen!), and a blood test because of their concern that he had meningitis, a UTI, or pneumonia, it turned out to be all for naught. But later on that.

In the moment, we felt like the rookiest of all new parents. How could we have neglected to prepare for fevers, knowing they happen. It’s one thing to try to keep synthetic medicines and chemicals from our young one. Duh! We still needed something on hand to regulate or break a fever.

A friend suggested lemongrass. My father suggested peppermint and cool baths. Since then, my husband has gotten an herbal homeopathic remedy for breaking infant fevers.

When the fever broke, there was a definite mood shift. Our baby would be fine, we thought…until a rash spread from his cheeks to the soles his feet hours later. *re-cue panic mode*

We visited the pediatrician (my opponent and I meet again!) who assured us that all was well. Seeing as how SJ had no other symptoms with the fever (now vanquished!) and the rash wasn’t contagious, there seemed to be nothing wrong. None of the test results showed anything of concern and SJ was already over it all and ready to get on with the business of cranking out more teeth and clearing every shelf in reach.

The rash was still a bit of a scare, but cleared within 2 days, leaving me with these lessons learned and remembered:

– Baby’s get sick. For the most part, that’s a good thing in the long run to help their bodies learn how to fight and maintain good health without the need for chemical intervention.
– Prepare for the foreseeable occurrences (like fevers) in advance. Continue reading up on time and research backed treatments.
– Family and friends are waiting for an opportunity to help in the ways they can. Let them know what’s happening.
– Keep the chemicals on hand should emergencies arise.

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