The Nana Diaries By Eileen Brunetto
Starve the Fever
With age comes wisdom, at least that’s how the saying goes. I’ve got the age part down, and though I think of myself as wise, I’ve learned I have a way to go, if you use as a gauge, my recent Hysterical Nana episode. But hey, it was my first time out, the first time my granddaughter, Mackenzie, became ill. She had a fever. And no, not the teething sort of fever. This was for real, yet she had no other symptoms to support the fact she had a fever.
In the days before iPhone, email and Facebook, I wouldn’t have gotten the blow-by-blow of Mackenzie’s health, but nowadays, it’s almost impossible not to keep up. We keep up by default. You’d have to be living in a cave or the wilds of Tanzania, not to know what’s happening by the minute with your friends and family.
My irrational fears first took their stranglehold on Sunday morning when my daughter-in-law posted that Kenz had a fever of 103°F; an instant lump arose in my throat. But later that day, when I saw the baby, she seemed much improved. So Nana slept well that night, “she’s all better. Good, we can be happy again.” Because it’s all about me, of course. Next morning, the fever returned. I dove head first into worry mode. Worry, disguised as mature concern, also known as meddling. Irrational texts bombarded my son’s phone and my daughter-in-law’s Facebook message in-box. I googled “long term fever” ‘til my eyes bled. I consulted with friends and colleagues. “A fever of 2 nights should see a doctor, right?” The guidelines on Web MD say so! There were a few texts I sent to my son that I wish I could delete because they read as if I temporarily lost touch with reality. My son and daughter-in-law, in the meantime, waited patiently. They took care of their baby. They talked with experts. They researched. They wanted to give Kenz 72 hours, which is also a standard guideline (apparently.) One I hadn’t picked up on during my Nana-crazed Google-state.
In a quiet moment, I realized that at the core of my worry, was fear – fear that Mackenzie might be terribly ill, and I simply couldn’t stand it. As if seeing a doctor would change the fact, as if my frantic texting and desperate email rants could make her better. That I could change her medical history, or an even more grandiose scale, that I could rearrange fate.
Finally, Mackenzie’s parents took her to the doctor’s. She’s doing much better, though the visit didn’t go well. The doctors over-tested unnecessarily, which was disturbing, but that’s another story for another day.
After all the brouhaha, after all the nagging feelings of doubt and worry (and love,) Mackenzie’s mama knew best. She’s already said it – the next time she’ll follow her gut. And this nana will keep her mouth shut.