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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Burning up.

Last night we were packing and I realized my eyeballs were hot. “My eyeballs are hot,” I told my husband, because I like to update him periodically on how I’m doing.

“Huh,” he said. Or “Hrm.”

I continued to pack, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was thinking about my eyes. Also my body, which had begun to ache. “I’m all achy,” I said, to no one. Scott had left the room. He was on the phone with his parents.

I got out the thermometer and stuck it in my ear. It’s one of those. You jab it in there for two milliseconds and somehow it knows your internal body temperature. It’s magic. Actually it’s not because it’s usually wrong, but it’s wrong in that it’s lower than other thermometers, so I get to add “OR MORE” to the end of the number. I use capital letters because I like a little drama.

My temperature read 99.5. “OR MORE,” I reminded myself. I held the thermometer up to Scott, who was talking to his dad about cars, or home insurance, or high-efficiency boilers. Those are the three topics they discuss instead of their feelings. Men!

After he got off the phone he felt my forehead. “You don’t feel hot,” he said.

“But I am,” I said. Who is he going to believe, his overheated palm or Science? “Don’t forget about the hot eyeballs,” I said.

“Poor sweetie,” he said. I didn't think his heart was in it. I sat on the couch while he packed, and I shivered.

Eventually I realized I was clearly too sick to pack one more box, and I went to bed. “If I don’t wake up in the morning,” I told my husband, “You have to marry again. Henry needs a mother.” Scott whimpered. “I’m sorry, I think I’m delirious,” I told him, and I shuffled to bed.

My mother-in-law watches her beloved grandchild (Henry) on Mondays, so as I was drifting off to sleep I thought, okay, if I’m sick tomorrow, it’s not so bad. I can lie in bed all day and sweat out the toxins or whatever you do with one of these fevers (I don’t get a lot of fevers, you see, so this is sort of novel for me) and then by Tuesday I’ll be okay. I had better be okay. I can’t be sick for more than one day, I told myself. Did you hear me, body?

I woke up this morning and I felt fine. Until I stood up. I took my temperature. 100.2.

I was beginning to lose patience with this sickness. First of all, this wasn’t high enough for me to feel justified in lying in bed all day. (Even if my actual temperature could be MORE. I mean, how much more? I could only imagine.) Secondly, I had no other symptoms. Who gets a dinky little temperature and nothing else? Children, that’s who. Babies. I have a baby sickness.

My mother-in-law arrived, and I tried to get some sympathy out of her. She gave me a little, until she put her hand on my forehead. Her hand was shockingly hot. I think she had stuck it in the toaster, just to prove some crazy point. “You feel cool,” she told me. “Well, you feel hot,” I said, “so there.”

Maybe I’m fine, I thought, and all I need is a little fresh air. I put on some mascara. My mother-in-law looked at me and said, “Well, you look sick.” I put on my sunglasses, and headed out the door.

There’s nothing like a beautiful springtime day to really bring into relief one’s own acute misery. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and everyone else trotting around on the sidewalk looked vigorous and brimming with good health. I, on the other hand, looked like someone had just killed my dog. And no one had! My dog was home, busily shedding his winter coat all over every square inch of my apartment. I kept walking and walking. I was going to stop somewhere for tea or to look at books or whatever it is I normally enjoy doing, but I realized that if I stopped, I would not be able to make it back home. Finally I turned around and headed back. Heading back meant going uphill. I was miserable. My legs were shaking. Walking was a terrible idea. My fever was undoubtedly out of control. My brain was being roasted.

Then I got home and took my temperature. 99.2. I got into bed, but I didn't feel good about it. Stupid baby sickness.

Reader Comments (71)

Those thermometers suck. Whenever the kids are sick I use my hand. The doctors and nurses don't take much stock in it until I bring the kids in and am always within .5 . Those thermometers are off by much more. And my husband? He tells me... "You feel cool." when I have a 102 fever. Never trust the husband.
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMoMMY
I think your body is expressing the anxiety you feel about moving. It will miraculously disappear.. some time later. Like, when you are not freaking out as much. I get "anxiety fever" occasionally too...

April 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdinka
I went to the doctor's today for my own illness. I felt completely fine except for a teeny bit of a scratchy throat... the Doc works with me, so I snuck in to have him peer down it with his little light thing. Now that he's showed me the disgusting white patches down there and put me on an antibiotic I feel ill.... before? not so much.

Hang in there!
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBre
What you need to do is take your temperature when you don't have a fever. Get a baseline. Mine is usually 96.5ish with my ear thermometer, so anything over 98 - raging fever!

Feel better soon!
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjess
Whenever I'm really intense about something-- teaching or writing or a project or worrying-- I tend to run a fever. But it's a REAL fever, that REALLY makes me feel like CRAP, with my brain sizzling like a public service announcement about drugs. You're probably experiencing something similar, meaning A) regardless of the source, you really are suffering a genuine physical ailment, so take care of yourself and watch your Buffy and/or Angel DVDs (or maybe that's just my kinda medicine) until you're forced to start packing again, and B) you don't have to worry about getting super-seriously ill or about your loved ones catching it, and you know you'll be all better once you're safe and sound in your lovely new home! [just wanted to add that you're delightful even when you're feverish]
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Dodd
don't die! who would i blogstalk??
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa
You have just described motherhood & illness to perfection.

No sympathy from either the husband or grandparent. That's just the way it is. Don't know why, except "they" refuse to acknowledge you're sick, even though we all know husbands can't handle even the sniffles.

Yes. The temperature that barely climbs past 100 but makes you feel as if you've got some sort of plague. It's designed this way -- you feel just sick enough to want to collapse, but you are still able to (barely) function. It's a cruel, sick joke & it's that way because you're the Mom & that's just how it is.

I hope that didn't make you feel worse. As always, reading you brightened MY day!
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTerry
My husband gets stupid baby sickness - exactly as you describe - and puts himself to bed for days.

Maybe you are secretly a man.
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKrisco
Hands are useless for feeling temperatures. You need to use your (or someone else's) lips - easier and more accurate. And you get yourself a nice kiss on the forehead, too. I don't know whether it's a good thing for your mother-in-law to do for you, though.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteranja
Pah! You Fahrenheiters! I understand nothing of your bizarre measurements!

(Although they certainly sound very impressive to one used to Celsian figures).
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNia
Doesn't ANYBODY remember that you're not supposed to feel the kid's forehead, but rather their chest to check for fever?? I'm always sticking my hand down the girls' shirts when they claim to be sick.

Of course, asking your husband to do that...probably not what you need right now.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
I too tell my husband about my eyeballs when they feel hot. Then he makes me take my temperature which is typically about 97.5 degrees when I'm complaining about the hot eyeballs and he tells me to get over it. But I totally feel for you. Hot eyeballs are definitely a sign of being sick. Hope you feel better soon.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJessie
Oh, and since he reads your blog, now he knows about the lips thing too. Forget I said anything.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Isn't it easier when you catch a bug from someone in the house and have some idea of what to expect? I just went through a flu-ey thing which my husband brought home. Every stage of the illness happened two days later for me than for him, which meant that I could really milk it for all it was worth over the weekend. It sucks when you are the first/only one sick!

Rest and zone out now. The world will still be there tomorrow. (And won't I look like an ass if, indeed, today *is* the end of the world?)
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVelma
Those ear thermometers never work. I tried to take my own temperature many times and mostly it told me my body temperature was about 85 degrees. So, if we were on CSI, they would determine that I had been killed between 3 to 6 hours ago. Great. Being clinically dead got me out of a lot of stuff for a while at least.

You sound sick. Just trust your body, not technology. (Meet me at my horse and buggy and we can go get some leeches, too.)
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChristy
my husband is convinced that one can "Jedi Mind-Trick" oneself out of sickness, and seems to be able to do this regularly with apparent ease.

god, i hate that bastard.

so may the force (and a few hot toddies, if you can swing it) be with you. or, uhh, whatever.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
No wonder babies act like a-holes when they have an itty bitty temp :) It must suck! I on the other hand never get fevers, only other death-like ailments.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMama C-ta
Clearly you are allergic to packing.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commentererika
I can't tell you how much you I enjoy reading your posts. I have a 6 year old boy and 3 year old daughter and reading you and dooce really put words to what I'm feeling. And, ewww, I hate getting a mild fever. I mean, if I'm going to be sick? Make me sweaty and slimey and pale so that everyone KNOWS it without a doubt. Comes from faking sickness too much I think...
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkim
Sounds like Moving Fever to me. Straight to bed with you, young lady, and plenty of junky TV shows.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterArabella
Too bad they don't make an eye thermometer. Hope you feel better soon - such a drag to be sick right now.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
Hot Eyeballs. Sort of reminds me of Hot Meatballs.

Except, not edible.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjes
My eyeballs are ALWAYS hot when I have a fever - my first indicator, usually followed by a yucky backache. And my temp runs lower than normal. Stay in bed, woman, and watch screamingly bad movies.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn
Hmm, my average body temperature is officially lower than "normal" too-- somewhere around 97 degrees F. I've heard it's actually pretty common among young, healthy women with a normal BMI. When I was a little kid, my mom always used to let me stay home when I was FAKING illness, because she would take my temp and it would be low and she would think I'd had a fever and it had just broken. Then when I was actually sick, she would take my temp and it would be 98-99 and she would say I was fine to go to school. Heh.

Anyway it sounds to me like you have the Stress-of-Buying-and-Moving-Into-a-New-House disease. You should probably take a nice warm bath and at least one day off, or you'll wind up too sick to unpack later!
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjaelithe
What are you doing, going out for a walk? You are completely failing to milk this illness. I'd like to see a little less activity and a lot more swanning about.

Here's your mantra: swan and swoon. Swan and swoon, baby.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVaguely Urban

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