A few weeks ago I erred on the side of caution for Juliette’s low-grade fever. But on a recent Sunday at midnight we got the real thing: 39°C or about 102°F. Juliette was crying hysterically and hot to the touch. I knew right away that this time it was not a practice drill. I felt like a fireman who was hearing his first alarm bell and forced to put his training to work. What was it Dr. Spock said to do to treat fever? A bath to cool them down, rub them down with a washcloth? I settled with taking off her heavy pajamas and wrapping her in the sheet on the bed as Remi gave her some milk to calm her down.
She always looks so much more vulnerable stripped down to her diaper, like a baby bird just hatched and still in her egg shell. She was even more pitiful crying with her raspy voice and turning her head from side to side. I went to fetch Dr. Spock and the French guide I had too. Neither mentioned baths but Spock was for the washcloth method. So I rubbed her down while she drank. Then it was a dose of Doliprane, the equivalent of Tylenol, and lots of rocking and soothing to get her calmed down. She finally started drifting off so I put her back in her crib in a lighter pajama set. But she woke again at 2 and 3:30 and her breathing was a bit wheezy.
Luckily for us I already had a scheduled check-up with the pediatrician at 8:30 the next morning. Juliette’s guardian angel must have been watching out for us. We took her in and the doctor could tell quite quickly that she had a type of laryngitis that made her voice crack and wheeze like a seal barking. Apparently it’s called fake croup and can be serious if they get too many secretions in the throat that can block breathing. He recommended we get her started on her meds as quickly as possible but that as the fever wasn’t too bad now she could still go to the sitter’s.
So it was off to find a pharmacy. I knew my current and former neighborhood ones were closed Monday mornings so we set out to find one that was open. I was the first customer at the modern one near Tata Marie’s house. I emerged with cortisone and amoxicillin and advice from that pharmacist that the baths for the fevers weren’t necessary. I mixed up the antibiotics- here they often come in a powder and you must add water to a certain line in the bottle and shake it up. Juliette took it fairly well considering the stuff must taste pretty vile. I felt bad about putting her at Tata’s when she was obviously still in pain, and I knew I could have cancelled my classes. I told Tata to text me if she got worse.
But the meds started doing their thing pretty quickly. After a few days of feeling puny and coughing a bit, she was back to her “JuJu the Explorer” self. Only then Remi and I got our share of the cold. Call it the double whammy of caring for a sick child!