The tiny pink dots first appeared on her lovely round belly. Then they spread upward and outward until they covered her torso and back. Last night she developed a fever, almost as though her body was thumbing it’s nose at my pathetic attempt to cure the rash with a dose of Children’s Benadryl. “This rash ain’t no allergic reaction to your brand new ‘green’ detergent!” Her body taunted as it sent the numbers on the thermometer spinning higher and higher.
We’re not strangers to high fevers around here. As soon as these kids so much as catch a whiff of a virus I know we’re going to be seeing some pretty scary numbers on the thermometer. The rash, though, that’s a new one for Little L. Especially an all body rash that now spreads from her hairline to her toes without missing a single nook or cranny.
I’m a pretty laid back mom. Because we go to the pediatrician so often for respiratory issues, I tend to treat most other illnesses without much fanfare. If something strikes me as a bit odd or out of the norm I call the advice nurse and ask her if a virus with similar symptoms is going around. If there is, great, we stay home. If there isn’t we go in. Simple enough system.
Once in a while however I get struck with guilt and worry. What if the cold/flu/cough/fever/rash I’m blowing off as unimportant blows up into something dire and I have to rush them to the ER in the middle of the night and admit that I don’t take all their sniffles seriously? What then?
I would die of utter mortification. And guilt. That I let my child get that sick. That I didn’t realize something was really wrong. That I didn’t think something was wrong at all.
It’s like that time my mother and I wanted to save some money and just rubbed the cat on the dog’s back so they could share flea medication. And then the cat started foaming at the mouth. And we had to take her to the vet and admit what we had done. Mortifying. Still remember wanting to dig a hole to crawl into.
But back to my kids. On the odd day when I feel like maybe there’s more to the rash/sniffle/cough than meets my skeptical eye I call and make an appointment. And in my heart of hearts I know it’s just another darn virus. And I know I’m going to be charged for the visit and expose my kids to a million other germs only to be told it’s just a virus and there’s nothing I can do about it. But a little voice in my head keeps whispering “but what if it isn’t just a virus?” So I pack up my sick kid and I go.
This morning, as Little L’s rash spread up her pudgy cheeks and down her meaty thighs, as her fever stayed solidly above 101F, I gave in to the little voice and I called to make an appointment. As the nurses busied themselves taking her temperature and checking her rash, as the doctor took a double take at the extent of the rash, I felt somewhat justified about having made the appointment, taken the time to go in, feeling sheepish standing at the secret rash entrance waiting for someone to let us in, and sitting forever waiting in the exam room.
Then they delivered the verdict. It’s a virus. There’s nothing we can do. Just like I said.