Musings of a Surgeon Mom with a Febrile Child

Oh poor thing. She has a fever. Look at her. Wet rag curled up on the couch already because she was too congested to sleep while supine. 

Yikes. I contemplate regular life in medical terms. Did that happen?!

Crap! It’s 6:30AM. I am already late for work. Ugh. Why did a choose a career that will forever me no sleeping in?!

But I should probably acknowledge my poor sweet sick baby before a run out.

Huh? Interesting the fever has knocked the tween angst right out of her. No attitude whatsoever. Just a sweet but needy girl.

{feeling her forehead}

Oh no. She’s on fire. Brain is probably too hot to mount an attitude. Now I feel bad for liking her lack of attitude for that moment.

I should probably take her temp. Wow this infrared thing is so cool! I wish they had this when I was a kid. I hated keeping quiet with a thermometer under my tongue.

Keeping quiet is not one of my strengths which paradoxically might have ended up being a strength in my career.

Eek. Her temp is 103.7. What’s that in Celsius again? I can’t actually process information in Farenheit anymore. It must be close to 39. 

Anyway, I should engage with my sick child before I tend to that career. Maybe she needs some anti-pyretics. Thank god we know about Reye’s Syndrome now. I am sure I took aspirin as a kid.

Whatever. I am an adult surgeon. Why am I thinking of Reye’s Syndrome right now? We don’t even have any ASA in the house. Thankfully no one is old enough and our arteries are presumably clean enough to hold off on cardio protection for the moment. 

“Hey. How are you feeling?”


“Where does it hurt?”


Crap. I hate viral fevers. Right lower quadrant pain and I could help my baby. There would be a clear solution and in a day or two she would be as good as new. 

I was about the same age when my appy came out. I have a gigantic scar now what with the hypertrophic scar tissue and the pregnancies stretching my skill. Damn babies. She has lighter skin than I do so maybe it won’t happen to her. And she’d have a much smaller scar now since there is laparoscopy. 

But it doesn’t matter since clearly she does not have an appy. I do love doing appys. Such fun little cases for the most. People typically feel better after surgery than worse. Definitely feel good surgery. 

But no my kid can’t be fixed with surgery today. Instead she has that full body malaise that comes with viral fevers. That I have been hit by a truck feeling. 

Well, actually come to think of it, I fix people who have been hit by trucks too. No help here too. 

So bummed. Cannot fix my sad, to sick to mount an attitude kid today. 

And, I can’t even stay with her today.  Nope instead I need to run out that door to tend to other humans instead of tending the one I gestated for well over 9 months. Yeah. She was giving me tween push back from the womb in retrospect. 

It’s a good thing I have a dedicated lead parent to snuggle her today. To call the school today. To tell his boss he can’t make it in because his child is ill. 

Not something I can do today. Or tomorrow.  Or any day this week. 

Crap I better not get sick now that I touched her. I cannot get sick. Not this week. Too much to do. I am on call. It will be a disaster if I have to work in viral turmoil. Sure I have rounded and operated with IVs in and snuggled with biohazard bags and emesis basins in between trauma activations. But really this week I need not acquire this viral illness. I. Just. Can. Not. 

Crap I am late. 

“Bye. I love you. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

{A tear runs down my right cheek.}

Lead parent sent me this photo of her later in the day. Still on the couch. Finally able to snooze. My poor sick baby who I didn’t help today. 


4 thoughts on “Musings of a Surgeon Mom with a Febrile Child

  1. I am sorry for the child and mother who couldn’t spent time together when needed the most! Try to compensate it somehow. Good luck.

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