Last weekend, I took sick days. Not for me. I am an official show person. Like I've said before, I don't take days off, because I firmly believe that the show must go on.
But Willow, my Willow, had been sick with a fever for a week. When the fever started, I was actually away. First on the road, then off to see friends in D.C. And though I was concerned and sad not to be near from my sick baby, I wasn't worried. Because kids get fevers. Especially babies whose immune systems are just starting to get hip to all the bacteria and viruses that the world has to offer.
But the fever kept on keeping on. It would go down with fever reducers, and then go up again when they wore off. Sometimes it would seem like it would break and leave my baby drenched in sweat and cool to the touch. But it kept coming back.
I started worrying.
We took her to the doctor a couple of times, and they took tests and listened to her lungs and heart and looked in her ears and throat and kept telling me to bring her back in a couple of days.
Friday, the doctor told me that. But I figured surely, after a week of fever, Friday night would be the night the fever ended. It had to be. Because I had a feeling that if it stuck around until Monday, there would be more tests.
Because kids aren't supposed to have fevers for a long time.
If you google, "Baby fever six days," and I don't recommend you do, but if you do the results are a laundry list of babies who had very serious conditions -- spinal menigitis, pneumonia etc, etc. You read about spinal taps and long hospital stays and I.V.s and it will turn your mild concern into stomach clenching parental panic.
"What if it's serious? What is I'm missing something? What if the doctor is missing something? It could be just a virus. It's probably just a virus. But what if it's not? What if it's something bad and my desire not to be a Munchausen-by-proxy mom is preventing me from doing the right thing. I should call the nurse."
That was the conversation in my head for the better part of the week and weekend.
The other part of the internal conversation went thusly.
"We have to work this weekend. We have a gig in Lubbock seven hours away, and then a gig in Arlington. I can't bring her? Can I? Would a seven hour car ride be restful? Maybe it would. Maybe she'd sleep. Or maybe the stress of travel would push whatever this in into scary territory. I should stay home. But I can't take off work. It's just not done. But I can't leave her here. The fever has gone on to long. It could be bad. But maybe I should take her."
Neither Dave nor I were sure what we should do, though when we went to bed Friday night we were both on the side of going to Lubbock with the kids. But then Friday night happened. The fever spiked, and the running nose that she had also developed during the week produced a gnarly cough. Her sleep was fitful and fretful.
We knew Saturday morning that making her drive to Lubbock was not an option. Nor was me leaving.
I called in sick.
It make sound strange to you, but even the thought of taking a day off work produces massive anxiety in me, even when it's for the best of causes. Like I said, it's just not done. Except for when I was on maternity leave, and once when I was in my late third trimester with Lisel when I backed out of a Colorado tour because leaving town was too freaky, I have never missed a gig. Not for illness, not for kid illness, not for my best friends weddings, not for Dave's best friends wedding. Not for anything. Because we just don't take off.
Our bass player, Dave Miller, hasn't missed a gig since he started, 17ish years ago.
So taking off work is anxiety producing. Because what if I'm putting my job in jeopardy. The other guys in the band don't take off when their kids get sick. They didn't take off for anything either. Who was I to expect to be treated differently? But in this case, I felt like it was the only choice
If it had been me, sick for seven days with no end in sight, I would have absolutely gone to work. And honestly, if Willow had just developed a fever, I would have probably called someone to watch her for the weekend.
But this seemed like an instance where staying home was the way to go.
It ended up being the right move. Saturday was her worst day since Tuesday. She refused to eat or drink anything other that breast milk, and she spiked a fever of 103 in the afternoon, which had not been happening. I was actually quite freaked out, and very glad we were not in the baby bus headed towards Lubbock.
Saturday night, the fever broke, and the high fever never returned. She spent Sunday recovering, and by the end of the day was showing signs of the Willow we all love -- miles for miles and exhibiting a need to mess stuff up.
I was so relieved. No more panicked calls to nurses and trips to the doctors! No more tests! And though she's still not quite back to 100% what with the runny nose and post sickness exhaustion, she's so much better.
And so here's another first. The first time I took off work for a non pregnancy related reason. Sometimes the call of motherhood drowns out all other concerns. And sometimes, you just have to take a sick day.