Fear the Fever
Could being a parent be any more stressful this year? In-person schooling vs hybrid learning vs virtual learning. That decision alone can cause any normal person to have anxiety. Whatever your decision Mommas, it’s a great one. I made the decision to send my daughter back to school. The school had wonderful guidelines for reopening. I felt comfortable and confident that they would do their best to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19. Personally, I have had a strict regimen of “sanitizing” when I arrive home from work to minimize my families, and I risk of infection since I work with the high-risk population.
Having a plan
I have a plan. I thought of every step of every possible scenario… or so I thought. Obviously, as a parent of a toddler, I knew my child would probably get sick at some point during the school year. It happens. Once she started daycare at three months old at her previous school, we became very familiar with the pediatrician office. From ear infections to hand-foot and mouth, the saga of being a first-time parent with a child in school hit me like a freight train. I honestly thought with the constant hand washing, sanitizing, and cleaning that maybe, just maybe my child would not get sick until after the holidays. Wishful thinking.
A little over one month into the school year, my baby wakes up cranky, face flushed, and feeling warm. I take her temperature like I have everyday since March, I’m a physician so I’m extra cautious with myself and our family. 103 degrees. BOOM! Hello, fever. I obviously get in contact with her teacher to tell her that my child will be out with a fever. I quickly make an appointment with her pediatrician’s office. Poor baby is not feeling herself. She’s sluggish and cuddly. I’ll take all the cuddles. I figured this is probably another ear infection. Once examined by the doctor, she explains to me how the only symptom is a fever. Ears? Clear. Nose? Clear. Chest? Clear. Throat? Clear. “With her only symptom being a high fever, I’m highly certain it’s Roseola since your daughter is almost two. It usually starts in children around two that attend daycare.” I breathe a sigh of relief. “But with these being these times, she’s going to need a COVID test as well.” COVID? Roseola is a high fever caused by a virus. Once the fever breaks, a massive rash appears on the body. COVID-19 is also a virus that attacks people in various ways.
My husband and I had been tested two days earlier and we were negative. This can’t be COVID. We test every other week because of our work in the medical field for the safety of our patients. We get our temperature checked around 5 times a day in the various hospitals and facilities we treat patients. Again, I tell myself this can’t be COVID. I start to tear up at the thought that I have to get my daughter tested for COVID. I explain my constant testing and sanitizing to the doctor but again she doesn’t think it’s COVID but with only having a fever as a symptom we have to do the test.
I have explained the process. Children’s Hospital will call to make an appointment for us to come in to have my child tested. I am told that the results will be back within 24-72 hours. I am told to watch for the fever to either break and/or the COVID results. Children’s Hospital of New Orleans is amazing. They called me and set up an appointment in 2 hours. Let me say those are the longest 2 hours of my life. My poor baby is sick. She is cuddly with Mommy and she is obviously uncomfortable. Those 2 hours are spent with every possible thought running through my mind. I cry a lot. Thinking did I do this somehow to my child? Did I bring it home from work? I clean everything. I throw my clothes in the washer as soon as I get home before touching her. I sanitize my shoes daily, every time I go out. I obviously wear my mask all the time when I’m out and about. I get tested often. How is this even a possibility? I was negative two days ago. How is this happening? Then come the questions about should I have sent her to school? Is it my fault for sending her back? Mom guilt is obviously a real thing. She loves school. Her school is being so diligent with the sanitation and protocols. Her teachers are amazing. She’s happy there. I’m happy with her there. It was a LONG 2 hours.
I arrive for the test with my daughter and told to go to the Neuroscience department. The test is fast but not without some tears from both Mother and Daughter. Now we go home and wait. I am scared and worried. My poor baby is sick. I think back on the children and parents I saw at Children’s Hospital. I am instantly humbled. They looked worried. They looked worn. Their children had serious health conditions. I think of them and pray that they all are healed soon. I realize I am not alone. Every parent worries about their children. I get the call the next morning that my daughter is negative. Within 24 hours, the fever is broken and the Roseola rash appears. I breathe a sigh of relief. My baby is on the mend. I realize now that every decision I made was the right one. My daughter deserves to go to school and play. She deserves to make friends and have an interaction with children her age. She deserves a good education. I remind myself that I will continue my diligent sanitation and precautions.