Mattias came down with a fever on Monday afternoon. It ran at 103 straight through Thursday afternoon. Because he's the second child, I gave him some pain killer to bring the fever down and carried him around on as many of Noah's happenings as possible. Part of me thought, Na ja (translated: 'well;' but it sounds better in German's two syllables), he's fine. He'll pull through. Sometimes it's good to just carry on. No special treatment here.
On Friday, the fever finally began drifting away. The boys met Fritz at work for lunch; it's a tradition which they look forward to on Fridays. When I picked them an hour later they were all smiles. Until the car door closed and Mattias launched into the most piercing-growling-screaming of "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" that I have ever heard.
It didn't stop until we got home and he got out of the carseat and collapsed in my arms. He refused to be set down. He just wanted to be held.
He wants to be held a lot these days. I oblige a lot because it's the easiest way to calm him.
As usual, my mind raced through the possible medical causes not treatable by pain killer. Ear infection? Strep? I'm still not knowledgable enough to recognize either one of these, no matter how many photos of strep-y throats or infected ear drums I look at on the internet. (But I'm all over bronchitis! I've got that one! This was NOT bronchitis or bronchiolitis.)
Stupid illness. Do you feel the time-bomb ticking on Fridays? Because I do. It says: if I don't get this kid into the doctor NOW, then whatever this is could continue for 60 more hours. It may not be bad enough to go the emergency room. It may only be bad enough to cause agitation and frustration over the course of the next 60 hours. Or it may just go away. Or if I scramble to get the kid into the limited Friday afternoon/Saturday morning office hours, there may be nothing more that they can do. And then I've wasted the money and effort to get a professional opinion to tell me the weekend will be stressful, but hey, there's pain killer!
I didn't call the pediatrician. That made laying in bed and listening to Mattias cry especially painful on Friday night.
I opted for the third option: a return to all the doting and natural remedies that I so carefully used with Noah. I sent Fritz and Noah to their Saturday morning playdate. In case of an ear infection, I dripped breast milk and Willow Garlic into his ears. As I mentioned, I have almost no experience with ear infections, but I read breast milk can actually cure them. And if not, well, I think it can't hurt, right? Willow Garlic to numb the pain. He seemed congested in his sinuses, so I gave him some German Ivy to help break up and expel any mucus. I gave him a warm bath with eucalyptus, which cures all sorts of things for me. We cuddled. We took a nap together. We walked leisurely with the kinderwagen in the warm afternoon sun, just the two of us, on our own schedule and route. In many ways, the whole day felt like a treat. It was the kind of doting and intensive caregiving that is only possible when I've got a second pair of hands to help with Noah. It felt very fortunate that Fritz was able to spend the day with Noah.
I don't know if these natural remedies and attentions will really make him feel much better. I doubt them; just as I doubt my own ability to diagnose the problem in the first place. But I can say that this type of care-taking makes me feel better than whatever medicinal option the pediatrician comes up with.