Fever

You give me fever
When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the morning
Fever all through the night.

I’m wishing I were writing a love song instead of a post about Gracie’s recurring fevers. Alas.

On Monday, Gracie called for me overnight. It was about 1:30 a.m. When I went in her room, she was shaking and moaning and writhing around in her bed—familiar signs that she’s about to get a fever. I stumbled to the kitchen to find the thermometer and fill a syringe with medicine. We have done this many times; I don’t need to wait for the temp to climb to know it’s coming. She gets the medicine right away now, even if she doesn’t have a fever yet.

When she stopped shaking around 2 or 2:30, her temp was 102. Not the highest fever she’s ever had, but not insignificant either. She was asleep, so I went to bed, worrying about how I’d manage my work meetings that were scheduled for the next day while caring for a sick child. (It all worked out. I worked from home Tuesday, but went into the office at 3:30 for the evening class.)

Gracie continues to have fevers. She is repeating a cycle: fever, medicine, repeat. The fevers are not terribly high—that 102 was the highest one of the illness—but they keep coming back. I took her to the pediatrician Wednesday, but got no answers. Grace’s ears, throat, and lungs are all fine, and there are no obvious skin infections. She is congested and has a thick cough, but not pneumonia. Her doctor advised that it’s probably a viral infection and decided to wait before doing blood work or checking urine.

When Gracie woke up this morning (at 5:30 – about an hour and a half earlier than usual), her temp was 100.5. It’s barely high enough to qualify as a fever for medical purposes, but it’s enough to let us know something’s cooking in her body. I emailed the doctor to see if we should come in today or wait until Monday; she has not yet responded.

I have never known a viral infection to cause recurring low-grade fevers. In my experience, viral infections usually hit hard and fast—they cause high-grade fevers that don’t respond well to medicine and go away after a day or two. Bacterial infections, though, are a different story. They start with low-grade fevers and ramp up over the course of days until they are barely controllable. This infection isn’t following either course. It never hit particularly hard, and hasn’t ramped up.

I know the signs of a medical emergency; I know what to look for and when to take her to the ER. However, I don’t know what’s going on inside Gracie’s little body, and that is nerve-wracking. Where is this mystery infection??

Time will tell. It always does. She will get better, stay the same, or get worse—those are the only three possibilities. Only one of those possibilities is good, though. The other two are stressful and potentially disastrous. It is horrible to have to wait for an infection to manifest, knowing that by the time we figure out where it is it could be very serious.

But for now, we have no choice. We will wait for this beast to rear its ugly head—or retreat. Hoping for the latter.

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