When does it stop?

So now Ethan has a fever.  Deirdre, who has been my pillar of strength when Boeta had fever (and incidentally told me not to worry – we’ll talk about that later, Sister), phoned me in a flat panic this afternoon.  Ethan had a fever.  Then it cleared.  And today the school phoned her because he hit 39.5 C.  Niiiice.

From what I gather she took hom to a doctor and he has an upper respiratory infection.  In other words, normal everyday fever.  The type that normal parents notice, treat with Panado and only worry about when it continues for a couple of days.  The type of fever that my children had many times before 24 December 2008.  But until then fever was something that they got and got over.  It wasn’t something to fear.  To go completely hysterical about.  It wasn’t something to make you break out in cold sweat and relive the day that you heard that your child had more than a fever.  It wasn’t the end of the world.

When Boeta had fever last week (the week before?) Deirdre was the first to tell me to relax.  To look at the other signs and symptoms.  Is he eating well?  Has he been loosing weight?  And since Cristina examined him the day before, do I really feel that I have reason to be worried?  Today it was my turn to tell her the same.  It is what we onco-parents do for each other.  We need to debrief after every bump in the road.  Did you child vomit today?  Relax, it is just a stomach bug.  Did he sleep more than usual?  He probably just played more than usual.  Does he have lots of bruises?  Yes, but he plays like a hooligan – what do you expect? 

We try to keep each other calm.  Sometimes it works better than other times.  For fever, nothing works.  Fever is the sign of tumours.  Fever is one of the sure signs that your child is headed for a long hospital stay.  Because fever indicates infection.  And in a child receiving chemotherapy any infection is life theatening.  Fever is the Enemy.

And here we are.  Once again one of our children had fever.  Once again the parents involved knew deep down that everything was OK – after all, all the other members of the family had fever in the last few days so obviously it is something contagious.  And once again those parents freaked out.  And all around them their friends and family were telling them not to worry.  It was going to be OK.  Once again they wanted to scream at their family and friends to shut the f… up.  Because once you become an oncology parent you don’t count the opinions of outsiders anymore.  If you aren’t in the oncology world we don’t want to hear your opinion.  Even if you are right.  Even if I told you what to say if I freaked out again, I don’t want to hear it.  Leave me alone and find me another onco-parent.  To another onco-parent I can open my soul.  I don’t have to explain.  I don’t have to be brave.  Onco-parents know.  I can simply look at another onco-parent and both of us will know

We don’t hear about fever.  We feel it.  When Deirdre phoned to say that Ethan had fever I felt it.  And until he hits 24 hours without fever (the magic mark after which you can be discharged) I will continue feeling it.  It is a constant gnawing in me.  I know that he is OK.  My brain knows.  But my body goes to battle stations.

When will it stop? 

Will it ever stop?


3 Responses

  1. To onco parent,

    It will stop!!! It will pass!!!

    From onco parent:)

  2. this post made me cry (okay many of your do). sending thoughts and prayers for strength, calm and endurance xxx

    (i dont know how to respond to things like this without sounding flippant even though it is not meant in that way *blush*)

  3. Oh no! We finish treatment in October. Don’t tell me I will still be a quivering wreck for ages after lol x

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