Have you ever had one of those days that made you question every decision you’ve made in your life — or at least the ones that led you to be living in some exotic faraway land? We had one last week.
Our African super immunity baby got sick for the very first time, his fever quickly climbing to a scary 104 degrees. As if this wasn’t enough, it happened while we had no power and also, as of a few hours before, no functional car. I gave a screaming Flynn a bath by flashlight to try to break the fever while Andy tried to figure out a ride to the pharmacy for some medicine stronger than what we had at home.
Our bath and medicine rotation didn’t work, and per a call to the CDC malaria hotline, we decided that yes this did merit waking up the embassy’s doctor and making him drive in to work in the middle of the night. At the health unit, there wasn’t a different plan but was at least an extra set of hands to hold Flynn down while we forced more cold water and medicine on him.
Through the night we worried he had malaria, despite the doctor’s assurances that he didn’t. If we were in the U.S., would we have had more faith in the doctor? Probably. Plus, we wouldn’t have had to worry about malaria in the first place. We would have avoided that whole scary situation with the high fever in the dark and no way to get anywhere too. And we would have had the comfort of knowing an emergency room and ambulances were at our disposal should we need them. These things become increasingly important when there’s a little person who you’re responsible for keeping alive and well.
Fortunately Flynn’s fever eventually broke and, day by day, he got better (although not before a terrifying 20 minutes after his nanny called to tell us his fever had risen to 105, and before we got home to learn that she’d misread and in fact it was really just 100.5). However, the lower his fever dipped, the more pink dots speckled his body. Back to the doctor we went. This time, we received a firm diagnosis: measles.
Yes, our toddler who was vaccinated six months ago for the measles somehow still managed to pick up the measles. But before we could get feeling too guilty about dragging him to this exotic faraway land where we’d exposed him to the measles, we did the incubation period math and figured out there’s pretty much no way he picked up the measles in Benin. He would have had to have gotten them while we were in the U.S. on R&R. Oh, the irony.
I guess there’s nowhere in the world where you can completely protect your kid.
Still, it was not a good day.