Last Sunday night, Nathan had a low-grade fever. No big deal. He was a little stuffy with a mild fever. When he woke up Monday morning it was gone and so I sent him to Heather's for the day. We had dinner with Kenneth and Kellye that evening and Nathan seemed to be having a great time with Kaben and didn't seem out of sorts or sick.
Tuesday morning he got up with no problems and went to Heather's again. When I picked him up around 4 pm, he was lying on her couch covered with a blanket because he had a chill. When I got him home his temperature was 102.1. I started dosing him with ibuprofen and by the time he went to bed, his fever was gone but I gave him a dose of Tylenol anyway to make sure he was comfortable during the night.
Around 4 am he came in my bedroom to tell me that his head was hot and his body was cold. I did a double-take when I saw the numbers 103.6 on the thermometer. He felt so bad and there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I gave him another dose of ibuprofen and sent him back to bed. When he woke up at 7 am, he still had a mild fever, but it was on the non-scary side of the scale. I decided to stay home with him and take him to the pediatrician.
Normally, when Nathan has a fever Trevor and I just sort of blow it off. He's had viral fevers since he was an infant and once we got used to seeing the upper limits on the thermometer read-out we just dose him up with Advil and Tylenol and wait 24 hours. That's the normal life cycle of his fevers, but this one was going on 3 days and I didn't want to take any chances on strep or an ear infection.
We got an appointment for 10:20 am and I broke one of my cardinal rules of riding in the car: I let him forgo the booster seat and lie down in the back seat so he could sleep. We brought his pillows and a blanket and he slept the entire way to the doctor. When we arrived we were taken to a room pretty quickly and he promptly fell asleep on the exam table. I sat next to him waiting for Dr. Gilley to find her way to us.
She did a rapid strep test as well as blood work (and I just thought getting a shot was traumatic), and both were negative. She felt like it was a virus, but wanted to see him again on Friday to make sure that he was on the mend. I was told to continue on with the alternate doses of ibuprofen and Tylenol. As she was walking out she mentioned that if he vomited I should take him directly to the ER.
I asked her why I should be concerned about vomiting and she said that viral encephalitis causes increased pressure on the brain which often causes vomiting and headaches. To my credit I did not go into an immediate panic. I waited until I got about halfway home and started imagining the worst. I think Nathan was a little irritated with me because I kept waking him up to ask him if his stomach or head hurt.
Once home I got him settled on the fold out couch (he loves it) with a popsicle and a movie. I then went directly to Google to check out the signs and symptoms of viral encephalitis. Of course I did...how else would I know what to worry about? It turns out that the chances of Nathan actually having viral encephalitis is very low, so I stopped being so freaked out about it.
It's funny how he looks so grown up when he's outside climbing the tree or riding his bike, but when he's sick he looks so little. When he's well he can't be bothered with too many hugs and kisses...he's way too busy for all that. But when he's sick he wants me close to stroke his hair and keep him supplied with cold drinks, and I am happy to oblige. It's one of the perks (and sometimes curse) of being a mother...they only want me when they are really sick. Trevor won't do. They want me and that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling way down deep.
So, Nathan is sleeping on the couch and I have stocked the kitchen with popsicles, soup and Sprite. Trevor's mom is coming tomorrow to keep him for me since I think that he will be too weak to got to Heather's and I don't want her to have to baby him all day. Hopefully with another day of rest and unlimited amounts of Sprite and frozen treats he will be well on his way to a full recovery.