In the back of my mind

When I was in high school, one of my cousins, who was only about 3 or 4 years old at the time, got very sick. It started out just like a cold, but quickly became something very serious. It seemed to just rip through him like wildfire. I’m not even sure what it was that he had (I don’t think they ever found out exactly), or what the symptoms were. It was as if he came down with some kind of really basic childhood cold or virus – and his body’s immune system did absolutely nothing to combat it. You’re not even aware of all the ways in which our bodies fight off all the bad things it might come in contact with… until it doesn’t.

From the time he first got sick to the time he passed away, I think it was a total of maybe about 5 days. It was pretty devastating at the time, but now as a parent, it provides a whole new perspective on that event. It’s more than just a terrible event that happened in the past. It’s an event that I live in fear of everyday. It’s always in the back of my mind – but even more so when one of the kids get sick. And while, logically, I know there was a unique set of circumstances that accompanied that situation and that are unlikely to be repeated (ie. the issue that his immune system completely shutdown for no reason), fear doesn’t need logic to thrive.

This whole H1N1 scare isn’t helping. The information is confusing and conflicting, and I think it’s partially because there is some inconsistencies with the way it’s presenting itself in people. I mean, I had it a few months ago – and it was probably the most mild thing I ever had. I had a bad fever for a couple of days, chills, body aches. I locked myself away from everyone else so I wouldn’t spread it and it was done. But I know other people get it and are completely leveled by it. And I’m not clear on what it’s doing to kids. On some websites it sounds like it’s particularly serious for kids under age 5. In fact, that age group is the only group of kids that they’re willing to give the vaccine to locally (yet, anywhere I know of, they’re out of it already – even though they just came in a few days ago! AND our pediatrician isn’t even giving out that vaccine AT ALL)

Last night after Zachary went to bed, we checked on him an hour or so later and he was sweating. (Something very unusual) We checked him and sure enough he had a fever. Not too bad, but still, enough to get my fears going. This morning, he still has a fever. We’re giving him Motrin. I called the doctor and they were mostly unimpressed and directed me to listen their pre-recorded information about the flu. So we are just “waiting and seeing.” At least he appears to be “normal” – which is what the doctor has always told us is the bigger issue. If he’s lethargic – they don’t care if his fever is low or high – it’s a problem. But nothing seems to slow Zach down. (Thank God!) And last checked, his fever has come down.

I’ll be glad when this whole swing flu thing is over. But when you think about it, we’ve had a whole zoo of these illnesses. Monkey Virus, Bird Flu, now Swine Flu… what’s next? I know I can’t put my kids in a bubble to protect them. But I have to admit that sometimes it’s tempting.

2 Comments

  1. JenK
    Oct 24, 2009

    Last week Bright had a really high fever (102.2), this week it’s Star’s turn. I get all panicky too. I wandered the internet for hours after Bright’s fever to check the symptoms of swine flu. It is confusing. Some say it’s terrible, keep your kids home, some say it’s fine, more people die from the regular flu each year. Who knows?

    Our pediatrician didn’t have either of the flu shots so we were put on the wait and see treatment too. I hate that. They tell you to rush out and get your little ones vaccinated and then… they don’t have it any where. Boo!

  2. Jamie Dillier
    Oct 25, 2009

    Same boat here. To make me freak out even more all three of my guys (the boys and John) are in the high risk group for complications. John and Alex have asthma and John also has kidney disease. Max is under 2 which they say puts him in a high risk group. BUT, the only H1N1 vaccine they’re giving out is the flumist which, because of asthma and age, none of them can get…so…now what?? We’re waiting for shots, but in the mean time, we’re all already getting sick!

    Alex is battling the flu right now, probably swine flu since he’s already gotten his seasonal flu shot, and so far it seems pretty mild. John and Max both have coughs which will probably turn into the flu as well.

    I have stopped watching the news and reading articles about it because it just makes me crazier. I personally think that a lot of what’s out there is media hype, freak us out more and we’ll keep tuning in. It doesn’t do any good for me to freak out about it (more than I already am), I’m already doing all I can do to keep us all healthy.

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