I think I am losing my edge.  I let Noah stay home from school yesterday without him exhibiting any of the required symptoms necessary to warrant a day pass.  Parents have various thresholds to permit absenteeism.  Mine are fairly high. Patient must have one of the following:

  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea (although as a stand alone symptom that may only receive a two hour delay)
  • Excessive swelling
  • Bleeding (must be uncontrollable)
  • Fever

He didn’t have any of these, except for maybe the fever but it’s still hard to say for sure.  Personally I would prefer a raging fever to a low grade one because the diagnosis is so much easier. You see the steam coming off their little heads. We recently purchased one of those cool, takes-your-temperature-in-5-seconds thermometers. The trouble is the damn thing doesn’t work.  In fact, most times it shows that our family is sub-normal.  Noah’s temperature was first 98.1, then 99.8, then 98.2.  What do you do with that?

I had to resort to manual procedure, which frankly is no better.  Parents are funny because we play this game in which we pretend to know what we are doing when we are estimating our kids’ temperatures.  Our parents did the same thing, and we are simply doing what they did.  They didn’t know what they were doing either but here are the steps, nonetheless: 

  1. Stare into child’s eyes, gently putting your hand on their chin lifting their face.  Assess the face.  Is there flushing?  Glassy eyes? Does a fever even come with flushing and glassy eyes?
  2. Put hand on child’s forehead.  First your palm, then the back of your hand. Palm. Back. Palm. Back.
  3. It feels warm but not too warm.  Wrinkle brow and say: “hmmmm.”
  4. Put hand on your own forehead.  Compare the two foreheads.
  5. Child is warmer than you.  Could be a fever.  Doubt yourself.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 but this time feel your child’s cheeks.  Both sides.
  7. Ask husband to put hand on child’s forehead.
  8. Watch as husband puts hand on child’s forehead and then on his own head just as you did (He doesn’t have a clue either).
  9. Husband shrugs and walks away, distracted by something on SportsCenter
  10. Take child’s hand in yours.  Warm or clammy? Not sure which is worse.
  11. Feel random parts of the child’s body to see if they are “burning up” anywhere. 
  12. Make up reasons as to why what you feel is not reflective of reality.  (He was just under a blanket, my hands are too cold to measure, he just had Motrin, etc)
  13. Repeat all of the above at least three times until giving up.

This is how it went down last night to no conclusion.  This morning I weighed the guilt of sending a sick kid to school vs. the guilt of keeping a not-so-sick kid at home.  Only one involves public condemnation.  I went for the latter.  Remarkably everyone is better today.  Next time I will need to see the uncontrollable bleeding. 

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