The Long Christmas

I realize that I’d promised to take a break until New Year’s Eve, but I thought I’d better log this. First and foremost, Vivian is okay, relatively speaking.

For the past two weeks, she has been dealing with a long cold, the same as has been affecting Erin and me (in my case, to a lesser extent). A week ago, we took Vivian to our doctor when her temperature rose to 99.3’F. We were told that this wasn’t a serious fever, but to keep an eye on it anyway.

The fever went up and down, and the cold persisted, in all of us. And then, on Christmas Day, Vivian’s temperature started to hike up, hitting 101.7’F at one point. She was fatigued and irritable, and the Infant’s Tylenol didn’t seem to be helping an appreciable amount. Erin didn’t want to mess around, and we decided to go to the emergency room.

I realized that it was going to be a bit of a long haul. The doctors’ offices and urgent care clinics were all closed. A bug was going around. This meant that the emergency rooms would be taking the brunt of all of the sick people that night, from people struck by cars all the way down to runny noses. And as high as Vivian’s fever was, we were still a lot closer to a runny nose than we were to a person struck by car. Still, we checked in at 12:30 a.m. on Boxing Day, not having slept, and we didn’t check out until about 10 a.m. that morning. A bed didn’t even free up for us until about 3:30. Not a good night for us.

On the other hand, Vivian seemed to have the time of her life in the waiting room. Perhaps the Tylenol finally kicked in. The stimulation of all of these people heading in and out of the Emergency Room waiting area, and Bing Crosby’s My Way on the room’s television set, she sat and chattered and smiled until about 4:00 a.m., at which point she fell asleep.

Which is just typical, isn’t it? Your child gets all sick and alarming and you take her to the doctor, only to have her miraculously lose all symptoms of her illness just before the doctor sees her. Better than any medicine, this is.

This visit would prove to be my third ever all-nighter; the first one being when I worked on a group project with fellow university students who didn’t believe in getting work done early, and the second being when Vivian was born. For the most part it was okay, although I did get into an Hour of the Wolf moment around 3:30, when I started internally and irrationally cursing God for making Vivian sick, Erin for insisting that we take Vivian down to the emergency room for a cold, and the Canadian Health Care system for having the temerity of looking at crash victims ahead of my daughter. But then a bed opened up and that hour went away, until about 5:30 when I realized that it would be daylight before there was any possibility of sleeping in my own bed. By 8:30, I decided I wasn’t going to sleep and I went out looking for coffee and a little breakfast.

The doctors and the nurses were very professional, even if they were stretched a little thin that day. They gave Vivian a chest X-ray to ensure there was no fluid in the lungs (there wasn’t) and they tested a urine sample to ensure that the recurring fever wasn’t due to a bladder infection (it wasn’t). And they were very reassuring when they told us that Vivian just had the same respiratory bug that we had, without any sense that we’d been hysterical first-time parents to worry. They also gave us permission to give Vivian Infant’s Motrin alongside the Infant’s Tylenol.

Vivian is sleeping as I type this. She had a much better time these past two nights, sleeping until 4 a.m. before waking up. Erin is sleeping too, taking advantage of the time to catch up on her Zzz’s that were rather thoroughly disrupted. The fever is still sticking around, but we’re keeping it under control. I’m thankful that Vivian is still okay, but a sick child at Christmas has to stand as one of the worst things in the world.

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