Thursday, February 3, 2011

You give me fever.

Legos on a school day. What a lovely way to burn.

"Everybody's got the fever
This is somethin' we all know
Fever isn't such a new thing
Fever started long ago. . . ."

~ from Fever by Peggy Lee

Last Thursday night, I started feeling the yucks. Clammy skin, goose flesh, and hands that felt like they'd been immersed in ice water. I felt sick. Fortunately, I don't get sick often. But unfortunately, since I don't get sick often, I am the world's most stubborn patient. (Mostly because I refuse to ever accept that I, in fact, am a patient.)

But this time, I felt all the trimmings and the trappings of a doozy coming on. I wanted to announce it to Harry to invoke some sympathetic foot and back rubbing, but quickly decided against it. I couldn't be sick. I didn't have time to be sick. And actually saying I was sick would mean that I was somehow succumbing to the idea of being sick, making it a self-fulfilled prophesy.

As my Grady patient's say, "I ain't claimin' it." Yes these chills and body-aches are quacking exactly like a flu-like duck, but it ain't--do you hear me?--ain't a flu-like duck. (Plus, I had my combined flu shot this year, thank you very much.)

See, here's the thing. "Sick" had no place on my to-do list. I had a full day scheduled for Friday. I was conducting my residency interviews all morning, and completing some overdue office work afterward. Our big Internal Medicine residency annual program review was that afternoon, so I couldn't be sick. No way, no how. I told you. I wasn't claimin' it.

Early Friday morning it was obvious that my body hadn't gotten that memo. I had a runny nose, no appetite, and chills. Bleeccch. 800 milligrams of ibuprofen later, I was stubbornly headed in to work. Sick would have to wait.

The ibuprofen did a great job of tricking my body into thinking it was fine for a few hours. As soon as I wrapped up the last interview, I was like Cinderella when that clock struck midnight. Back to the coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever woman that I had been during the wee morning hours. Instead of doing the administrative work that I really, really needed to do, I face planted on my desk.


"Oh my gosh, Kim!" spoke my friend and fellow Grady doctor Dominique C. when she poked her head into my office. She jolted me awake. "Are you okay?"

I looked up at her with bewildered and bloodshot eyes. I had no idea how long I'd been asleep, and how long she'd been standing there. I quickly swiped the heel of my hand across my mouth, praying that it wasn't covered with slobber. I tried to look cool when I answered, "Uuuuhh, I'm okay."

"Uuuuhh, you don't look okay. Are you sick?"

Dare I even "claim" it?

By this point it was obvious. I was sick. "Yeah. Some kind of viral crud." There, I admitted it. "I'm due for some more medication."

"Yikes. Go home and get some rest," Dominique admonished.

"Curriculum meeting, remember? Four o' clock."

"Dang. That's right." She paused for a moment and gave me the once over. "Get some rest, Kim. You look . . .like you need some rest."

Umm, thanks, Dom.

One gram of Tylenol later, I was sitting in the program meeting, listening and discussing and pontificating with the best of them. Once the meeting ended, I jumped in my car, swooped up the kids, and felt the wrath of whatever virus this was rearing its ugly head once again the moment I pulled into the garage.


I'd made through my day, and that's what matters. (Fortunately, this day involved no patient care.)

Mannings: 1
Viral crud: 0

"Thou giveth fever. . . . "

By Saturday, Zachary began acting a little crabby which, by Sunday, had evolved to full on puny. Monday morning--fever. Uggggh. The last thing a full time working parent wants to see on a Monday is one-o-anything on a thermometer.

Man down. Zachary home from school on Monday. Thank goodness for my mother who stepped in just in the nick of time.

Mannings: 1
Viral crud: 2

Monday night--Zachary perking up, Isaiah looking punky. Rut roh. Another man down. Isaiah home from school Tuesday. Zachary at 80%--and in our house 75% = back to school.

Tuesday night, Wednesday morning: Two men down. Fevers. Crying. Runny noses. The works. More balancing acts with work between Harry and me. Grrrr.

This morning: Getting Isaiah ready to meet the bus when he announces, "I just don't feel good, Mom! Why don't you understand it when I keep saying that?"

"You miss a lot when you aren't there. Two days is a lot. We need to go back to school."

"Can you take my temperature, please? I don't feel good. I really don't."

Beep-beep-beep-beep-beep! 101 even. Damn. Check Zachary next. Subjectively hot. Great.

Mannings: 1
Viral crud: 3

Over the river and through the woods and back to Grandma's house again. More balancing, more profuse thanking of my mom. Looking at the kids who scream "VIRUS" and wonder if I should take them to be seen. Bad mommy doctor tells me what I already know--if they aren't dehydrated or have a rash or having any symptoms of shortness of breath or lethargy, there is little that anyone will do. Decide to pass on the pediatrician's office.

All the while, I am continuing to feel like crap. Feverish on and off. Stuffy nose and hacking cough. This officially sucked. Dominique stopped in my office again today to offer confirmation:

"Oh my gosh, Kim! I saw that you're wearing your Danskos so I knew you must still be sick!"

(Love that wearing my (ugly) hospital clogs instead of girlie-girl pumps was a marker of infirmary.)

"Now you've listened to my story
Here's the point that I have made
Chicks were born to give you fever
Be it fahrenheit or centigrade. . ."

So . . . what's the moral of this story? Umm, there isn't one other than you feeling sorry for our motley little crew over here. I am in a house full of sneezing, snotting, crying, coughing, clinging kids, a husband who seems terrified of us innoculating him, and multiple deadlines--all while personally dealing with the same persistent bug that I refused to "claim"--a whole week later. (That reminds me. . . I have a story to post about "claiming" things. . . . )

Anyways. The quasi-take home points are:

  1. I gave my kids fever. Literally.
  2. And probably a few unsuspecting residency applicants, too.
  3. But not my husband--although he hasn't given me so much as a handshake for an entire week. . . .
  4. The sight of me in dreadful clogs is synonymous with illness (which I have decided is a compliment to my fashion at baseline.)
  5. Doctors make absolutely terrible patients. (Final results: Viral crud--winner by technical knock out.)
  6. Oh yeah--If you work full time and you have kids, I'd recommend living near your mother. Or at least my mother. :)


  1. I get that crazy woman doctor thing that you "can't" be sick but looking back on it...can't you just admit you should have stayed at home in bed? At least you wouldn't have been seen in those awful shoes! Learn from this one. There will be more meetings in which to pontificate in your future.

    BTW...start promoting voting for your fabu nomination for best literary blog. You simply MUST win!

  2. Ooh, nomination, where do I go to nominate?! I send Toni Brayer! I will nominate, vote, applaud for this blog, totally!

    On that note, feel better team Manning!

  3. Sending my best wishes to all of you for a quick return to your usual healthy and happy state!

    Oh, and my second-grader, who is a little under the weather himself today and is intently searching through his 359 quadrillion Lego pieces for something specific as I type this, agrees wholeheartedly - there is not much that can beat Legos on a school day! ;)

  4. love it, kim. glad to see you back in the heels and feeling better today. :)

  5. Thanks for the well-wishes! Officially back in heels and promise to accept that I am sick next time. It just wasn't worth it!

    Dom, thanks for trying to take care of your friend!

  6. Yes Thank God for Grandma...the Jackson team has had double ear infections, 2 cases of strep throat, and the flu in the matter of 4 weeks. I would have been off of work for a whole month if it wasn't for my mother :).


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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