What’s that you say? Your baby has a fever of 105 and is shaking uncontrollably? Oh, and his eyes are fluttering? Have no fear! I’m here with a few simple steps (or 45) on what to expect, and how to get through it:
1. Call your pediatrician and leave a message. Even if it is late on a Saturday night. Whatever, she already thinks you’re the worst mom ever.
2. Wait for her to call you back.
3. Wait some more.
4. Just breathe.
5. Ask your husband to place feverish baby in the bath.
6. Continue waiting for pediatrician's call.
7. Curse pediatrician. Repeatedly.
8. Finally receive a phone call back. Doctor instructs you to immediately take baby to emergency room.
9. For possible spinal tap to rule out meningitis.
10. Try your damndest to hold it together.
11. Fail miserably.
12. Just breathe.
13. After your husband helps you to pull yourself together, make it to hospital in record time.
14. Wonder aloud with your husband as to whether or not you can leave your car parked askew directly in front of the hospital entrance.
15. Decide to listen to drunken bearded weirdo who tells you that it’s fine.
16. Banter wittily amongst yourselves about how the drunken bearded weirdo will be driving your car off into the night in minutes with his equally drunk and bearded weirdo friends.
17. See how you can make jokes? EVERYTHING IS FINE. FIIIINE.
18. Just breathe.
19. Bolt into ER with baby in your husband's arms.
20. Note that it looks NOTHING like Seattle Grace. These are mole people. Where are all the hot people? And angsty interns?
21. Get seen by triage nurse. She will run various tests and shout rapid-fire instructions at you in broken English.
22. One such instruction will be “Scale! Scale!”
23. This does not mean that you AND the baby should get on the gigantic, Biggest Loser-style scale together. I mean, really. DUH. (Though together, you weigh 58 kg. You do not know what this equates to, why you remember this, or why the scale was in kilograms.)
24. Cut yourself a break; you’re a nervous wreck.
25. Just breathe.
26. Weigh baby AND BABY ALONE.
27. Return to waiting room, where you will be surrounded by, among others: a sweet little girl having an asthma attack, Phlegmy O’Coughington, the Boy Who Doesn’t Cover His Mouth (curse you, Phlegmy!),Wendy’s-eating teenagers who APPARENTLY HANG OUT IN THE ER FOR FUN and assorted other sick kids who could not seem any more contagious if they tried. You wil swear up and down to your husband that one boy might actually have the Bubonic Plague.
28. Concoct a detailed fantasy about frolicking in a never-ending shower of Purell.
29. Attempt to soothe whimpering, feverish, shaking baby.
30. Pass whimpering, feverish, shaking baby to your husband.
31. Lather, rinse, repeat.
32. Just breathe.
33. After what seems like an eternity, get seen by the WORLD’S NICEST DOCTOR.
34. Many tests will be taken.
35. You wait.
36. Your sick baby will lie there, dazed, in the little hospital bed.
37. Just breathe.
38. The doctor will return.
39. She will thankfully rule out meningitis, and a myriad of scary things you hadn’t even considered yet. (What the hell is RSV??)
40. What you apparently have on your hands is a baby with a very nasty strain of flu.
41. Yes, you DID have him innoculated with the flu vaccine. Funny, right?
42. No matter. He’s going to be fine. Thank God.
43. Get released.
44. A few sleepless, barf-filled nights later, and he’s back to normal.
45. Well...relatively speaking, anyway.
(What, doesn't everyone's toddler play Upside Down Xylophone?)