Saturday, February 12, 2011


The Invalid -- Carl Larsson (1853-1919)

Sophie began shivering uncontrollably last night at dinner, her fingertips slightly blue. She had been sick earlier in the week but hadn't run a fever in two days, a residual congestion in her chest the only sign that she had been sick. I felt a rising panic inside as I bundled her in blankets and draped myself around her, wondering if the Vimpat was causing these strange symptoms and because no one in our house gets sick enough to warrant owning a thermometer, (how dumb is that?) I had to tell Henry to run to the neighbor's house and borrow one. When I pulled it out from under Sophie's arm and read one hundred and two point seven which meant one hundred and three point seven, I blinked and shook it. It was, literally, the highest temperature I'd seen for Sophie in at least a decade. I gave her Motrin and debated internally whether or not to call the pediatrician. I knew, though, that the pediatrician would just say it was a virus, to watch her fever, push fluids and if it didn't come down she would need to be seen, perhaps, for a secondary bacterial infection.

I didn't call the doctor and instead waited in that agitated and forced calm way that I remember from my children's infancy. Despite the fact that I've witnessed tens of thousands of enormous seizures and true crisis, fever is still something that brings out the irrational in me and it's all I can do to stifle thoughts of meningitis or viruses that attack the heart and kill you in a flash, etc. etc.

Sophie's fever went down and she woke up this morning without one.

And why the title "contrariness?" I've never mentioned it here, but Sophie has the peculiar characteristic of being free from seizures when she is feverish.


  1. That is very strange indeed. No seizures when she actually has a fever. That I have never heard of, and I doubt many neurologists have either. There has GOT to be something to that, can't be just coincidence.

  2. Glad she's better this am.

  3. I am glad I am not the only freaked out mom over fevers and kids. I start thinking the worst and asking too many questions (throat, neck, chest, stiffness, ears ...etc)..and why oh why do so many illnesses manifest on the weekend or at night?

    I am glad Miss Sophie is much better this morning.

  4. I am right in the 'agitated and forced calm' of the infant stage... great way to put it. So true.
    Hope Sophie stays better. xo

  5. I wonder why the seizures abate with a fever? Do the doctors wonder? Would it make a difference if they did? If they puzzled things out more, were more curious, would they find answers?

    I'm glad she was better this morning, too.

  6. how scary! im glad she was ok the next day. so weird about the lack of seizures during a febrile state. my carlie is exactly the opposite!

  7. Oh, Elizabeth. I remember those anxious, endless nights.

  8. This brings back to mind my husband's rule on a fever--"do not treat it unless it goes over 101"!! I spent many nights on the floor beside their cribs, constantly taking their temperature just to be sure!!

    I'm wondering about how Sophie's seizures might correspond to a normal temp.

    In any case, I'm glad that she's better today.


  9. Relieved to hear things have settled of course.
    You must be exhausted.

  10. and yet it seems the fever scares you more.

    they scare me too, but it's because they scared my mother so much. i wonder if we see right through that "agitated forced calm" we see in our mothers when we are children and then we internalize it with our own.

    i am glad sophie is on the mend.

  11. love, rest and comfort,
    sent with a kiss.

  12. You know, you can't win 'em all...can you? Evan has been sick with pneumonia for the past 2 weeks with barely any psychotic anything. Today, he's back to "normal," and all the anxiety, aggravation, and weird thoughts are back. It's like, can't anybody cut us some slack around here! Sheesh!!

  13. I did hear that from other parents before, fever no seizures .
    good to hear she is better..very pretty girl ( she looks like one of the Jane Austen girls)

  14. I am glad she's better. And those photos above... gorgeous.

    Fevers always unnerve me.


  15. Her body can only take so much?

  16. Contrary because an acute blocks out the basic picture.
    Or did you mean the contrary symptoms of ignatia?

    Glad she's better, but sorry that better only means so much.

  17. I like to think of fevers as being necessary to our body's healing process. We get a fever when our immune system ramps up to manufacture white blood cells and send them out to fight viruses and bacteria, and that elevated temperature is simply our body's way of asking for more energy (ie. we need to slow down and rest) so that it can do its job. I also like to think of the fever as literally purifying our bodies by "burning" out the nasties.

    So glad Sophie is feeling better.



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