My oldest son woke up with a high fever this morning. Not high enough to rush to the emergency room. But high enough for him to feel achy and for me to call his school and excuse him.
I know that it is most likely some virus that he caught from school. And that he will probably be over it by tomorrow.
However, both my medical training and my panicky parental side worry. Could he have meningitis? No, he has a slight headache, but no other symptoms. Could he have pneumonia? No, he couldn't have a cough. Could he have this, or that, or this other terrible thing? No, he's just got a bug, and it will pass.
But should he not get better, or his fever get higher, or he have other symptoms that scare the crap out of me, it is nice to know that the emergency room is less than 10 minutes away.
We hear a lot about the "good ol' days." But in terms of medicine, there never was never anything good about the old days.
150 years ago, if a child woke up with a fever, there was nothing to reassure a parent that it wasn't that child's final moments. No way to differentiate mild from serious. And if it did turn serious, what was anyone going to do? Bleed them? High childhood mortality has been an extremely common thing until recent times.
It is only thanks to leaving behind the "good ol' days" that we can, for the most part, feel secure that our children will make it through childhood sniffles, fevers, and aches, and reach adulthood.
I am grateful to live in a time where I can give my little boy Tylenol, cuddle with him on the couch in front of our favorite Pixar movie, and trust that he will be fine in the morning.