One of the things that nobody warns you about when becoming a parent is the amount of times your child will get ill. The amount of times you will hold a thermometer to their skin, hold a sick bowl or administer calpol at 3am. The amount of times you will question yourself about whether to call the Doctor/go the hospital or call NHS direct..the amount of times you will ask your partner “What do you think we should do?”
Being a parent is hard. I imagine as your child gets old it gets a little easier as they can tell you where it hurts and how much etc etc but when you have a toddler with a consistently high temperature but no visible signs of any other affliction- what do you do?
This week began with us laughing about our lazy daughter. She was asking earlier than normal to go to bed and having teenager like strops when being woken from her daytime nap. We laughed about it. Lazy girl.
Then on Monday night she felt hot! Really hot. Her temperature when I managed to get a reading after all her wriggling was a steady 39.3. I gave her calpol, it didn’t do much. We gave her ibuprofen and it reduced enough for us to think we didn’t need a Doc but not enough for any of us to sleep peacefully. She slept fitfully in a bath of sweat but the next morning she was a little brighter (still hot) her appetite didn’t return and she wasn’t her usual beaming self but we weren’t too worried-just teething surely? Yesterday was much of the same with a terrible nights sleep for all of us, fever again with an obviously unhappy girl and calpol/ibuprofen doses every 4 hours. We were all exhausted and slept until an unheard of 10am. Mad. When she woke she was sad, really sad. Whining and telling me she was crying, not wanting food and incredibly hot.
I gave in. I called the GP for advice. My Doctor listened to all I said and asked me lots of questions. He told me that he wasn’t overly concerned from what I’d said and that he would see her Thursday morning (24hrs later) I almost agreed but I looked at her peaky face and sad eyes somehow knowing she wasn’t right. He agreed to see her today – he wasn’t happy about it but I insisted.
At the surgery the first thing he did was take her temperature, then he took it again and then once more. It was 40.2. He didn’t quite believe it. He told me that we may have to take her to the hospital. After a (very ) thorough check he established that she had an ear and throat infection and was probably in a fairly huge amount of pain. Poor Izzy. I felt awful. I think he did too. I’m so glad I insisted but still feel guilty that I left her suffer for several days.
But how do you know when to make that call? How do you know it isn’t just teething or a fever which would break on its own?
When do you brave the wrath of the inquisitive doctors receptionist when you dare to ask for an appointment? Or the GP’s critical face when it really is nothing?
I would say if you feel that something isn’t right it probably isn’t. It’s better to check. Only you as a parent know your child. Even today when Izzy quite frankly looked hideous and ever so sad the GP told me he was astonished at a child looking so well with that high temp and infection but to me I knew – she wasn’t right. I don’t think I will do that again, leave it so long because I felt I was being over cautious.
How do you decide when to take that next step? Is it when they aren’t sleeping or sleep too much? Not eating/drinking or do you just know?
One thing I do have to say is the Cbeebies show Be Happy, be healthy and get well soon has made GP visits so much easier as Izzy gets excited saying Doctor Doctor and is very relaxed about being examined. Thank you Dr Ranj.