Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Fahrenheit 111

My mother probably will mind me saying this, but she is something of a hypochondriac. Not so much where her own health is concerned, but when it comes to her children being sick she most definitely overreacts.

As a child we spent so much time at the doctor's surgery the waiting room felt like a second home. I can still picture the play area now... Before and after the refurbishment. 

Long beforeGoogle self diagnosis was even a possibility, my mother regularly visited the local WH Smith to thumb through their medical dictionary. So much so they eventually wrapped it in cellophane, perhaps in an attempt to get her to fork out and actually buy her favourite book.

I can vividly remember if I ever even so much as hinted to my mother I might be feeling unwell, the first thing she would do was make me look up at the light, the initial check for meningitis at the time to ascertain if your neck was stiff. And any hint of a rash would always be submitted to close scrutiny under a glass.

When we were slightly older and saw an episode of Casualty in which a disturbed mother was making her child ill, we learned the term Munchausen by Proxy and used it to taunt her.

So I always resolved I would be a relaxed parent when it came to illness.

I was not going to be one of those mad mothers who dial 111 every time their child gets a sniffle and takes them to the GP just to check their nappy rash isn't something more serious.

And so far I have remained calm.

My daughter has had her share of colds and I just let her snuffle her way through them since she didn't seem to be suffering.

I didn't buy any medical kit until the nurse told me I'd have to give her Calpol after her first set of jabs.

And I only bought a thermometer last week, when she was almost seven months old, because a mother at playgroup expressed surprise when I said I hadn't got one.

Maybe that was where it all started to unravel.

The other mother's baby had been ill with a fever and kept her up all night at the weekend. And while he now seemed fine, he indulged in some face pawing with my daughter, spreading invisible germs I can only see in hindsight.

Anyway, she'd had a runny nose for about a week already, when she awoke at 2am and would not settle back to sleep.

Though she seemed okay, not floppy or bawling her head off, she felt unusually hot. 

But testing out my new forehead strip thermometer at 4am it said her temperature was normal.

Then she started coughing and I resolved to take her to the doctor in the morning.

She woke up smiling and perky, but still hot and coughing, so we trundled down first thing to get in the queue for the unscheduled appointments.

When we got in to see the GP she began grinning and flirting with him, and I babbled excuses about why I was wasting his time.

"I know she looks fine, but she's had a cold for a week, and now her cough sounds nasty and her temperature seems high."

"It is high", he told me sternly, showing me the reading of 38.7 and ordering me to buy a proper digital thermometer.

After examining her further he diagnosed an ear infection, as well as the cough,  prescribed antibiotics, and instructed me to give her Calpol for the temperature.

"If her temperature is not down within four hours you need to take her to A&E", he told me. Twice.

I hurried home via the chemist feeling guilty and a little dazed.

We holed up in bed with biscuits, toys and Netflix and a range of plastic syringes for dispensing sticky sweet liquids into her mouth and she had a feed and dozed off.

But four hours later her temperature was still high. And fifteen minutes after giving her more Calpol it had gone up.

I called her father and told her we were off to the hospital.

"You're mad!", he scoffed. "There are more germs there. You're turning into your mother."

But a medical professional had told me to go, and you don't take chances with your child's life, I retorted indignantly.

We checked into A&E and took a seat in a waiting area full of broken toys and several slumped children holding cardboard sick bowls or bandaged arms, while CBeebies blasted out of a huge TV screen.

It wasn't long before we were called in to see the nurse and I explained the GP had told us to come.

"I'm not one of those mad mothers," I said.

"That is so naughty", tutted the nurse. "He should not have told you to come. She looks fine, you are the best judge of baby's health. And now you're going to be stuck here for hours."

Four hours later I arrived home with a leaflet on how to treat a high fever.

My mother seemed pretty blasé about our little trip.

She'd Googled it and concurred with the paediatrician that I needed to combine Calpol and Neurofen to treat the temperature.

"At least you'll be able to gauge the seriousness of her condition in future", she said sagely.

Diagnosis: Hypo-hypochondriac, hereditary.

I would like to dedicate this week's post to my dear mother, who is feeling under the weather.
This Mum's Life
A Mum Track Mind


  1. It's so difficult to judge how sick your child is sometimes, isn't it? I'm a pharmacist, but all of my professional sense seems to go out of the window when it has something to do with my own child.

    I am sure I have been in A&E unnecessarily myself but what if I had stayed at home and it had been something serious?

    You did the right thing by following the doctor's advice, even if the A&E department thought he was wrong...How would you have felt if you hadn't followed his instructions and it had been more serious?

    Thanks for sharing. #fortheloveofBLOG

  2. It is so tricky isn't it? I'm like you and don't worry too much over colds etc...we have had so many since my daughter was born, most seem to arrive at the same time as teething. We have a thermometer but I've never used it to take her temperature, only to check the temperature of the bath water when she was really tiny. I'm all for giving Calpol and Baby Nurofen as I know it's so weak and seems to settle her. But you did the best thing taking her to A&E as that was what the doctor said to do - I think better to be save than sorry. Thanks so much for joining our party at #fortheloveofBLOG, we hope you can join us next week. Claire x

  3. Oh brilliant! You do make me laugh with your posts. I had a mother who was very similar. It was very handy though. I once got out of a piano lesson after I told her that an earlier blow to the head by a football meant that the lines on the music score were going all wavy! :) I'm so glad your little one is ok now. I swear that the doctor's waiting room or trip to a&e is the best cure for any childhood ailment, they are always right as rain the minute we arrive, no matter how poorly they were! Thanks for linking up again! #bigpinklink

  4. Hahah oh no! You seemed pretty chill until the GP got stern with you. DAMN hereditary hypochondriac syndrome! I think we do pass on our fears to our children, I fear that my son will be automatically scared of spiders because I won't be able to hold in my yelp when I see one haha. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

  5. I've done this too. Rushed my puking daughter to the ER the night before my brother's wedding. Only to wait 6 hours to be told she had the flu. Awesome. My husband was pissed.
    Ya live, you learn I guess but sometimes it's also better safe than sorry.

  6. But you weren't being hypochondriac...he told you to go! I did giggle a bit though. Sorry you spent so much time in a horrid hospital environment. I loathe going to the doctors more than anything. #bigpinklink

  7. Tell me about it! The fine line between crazy mummy and negligence. I'm on baby number 3 and I'm definitely erring on neglectful after being hypochondriac crazy mum with the other two. I've had my fair share of trips to a and e with nothing wrong, ha ha!Poor third child...

  8. Ha I love the dedication! I admit I am a hypochondriac when it comes to my kids and as soon as we get within sniffing distance of a health professional they perk right up almost to the point of normality. It makes me look really high maintenance! Would rather not take any chances though - especially with fever in little ones! #chucklemums

  9. I remember once the boy suddenly hit 39.2 for no apparent reason. It had gone down by the time we got to A&E, and I have since learn that rather than being tummy-bug prone, he'll just get scorching hot now and again! Random! #chucklemums

  10. I remember once the boy suddenly hit 39.2 for no apparent reason. It had gone down by the time we got to A&E, and I have since learn that rather than being tummy-bug prone, he'll just get scorching hot now and again! Random! #chucklemums

  11. Haha I go the other way and I didn't even take my baby son to a&e when he fainted until 111 sent an ambulance. The shame. Better to be safe than sorry and I hope all is OK for you all now!
    Thanks for joining #chucklemums :)

  12. Haha - oh dear! My partner tends to be the one who tries to make me take our kids to the doctors for everything. Though I was the one who had a meltdown when my eldest vomited blood at a few days old. It turns out I was bleeding, she'd just swallowed it! My mum was the opposite to yours - she tended to assume everything was fine & mostly ignore all illness. My appendix ruptured. There's definitely a happy medium to these approaches! :D #chucklemums