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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

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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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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Monday
Apr102006

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)

I have one of those ear thermometers and it works just fine; you're all just not using it correctly. You have to firmly grasp the upper portion of the victims ear and and pull up and back to straighten the ear canal. Then jam the sensor all the way into the ear canal, IGNORE THE SCREAMING AND WRITHING, say something soothing to calm the victim down like "quit whinging and hold still!" If this dosen't work hold them down with your knee. Now press the button, look up the error code, repeat.

Administer Ibuprofen.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterA Man
There were already 50 comments when I came aboard, so I apologize if this has been said already. You are sick ... and you should take care of yourself so you can get well enough to take care of the BIG BABY YOUR HUSBAND WILL TURN INTO WHEN HE CATCHES THE SAME THING!!!!
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwordnerd
This thermometer is the coolest thing ever:http://www.exergen.com/medical/TAT/2000C.htm

You just hold the button and swipe it across the forehead. I just bought one and I can't stop taking temperatures. haha. It's pretty accurate.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda
Wow, you can make a fever funny? You have true talent! Get well soon!
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCheeriobutt
Sleep well sweet Alice ...
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeverlee
I swear I am the same way....lower body temp, everyone says "you feel cool" and I am DYING from the feeling that my skin hurts and yes...my eyeballs feel hot.

Poor thing....I know how it is to be the mommy and get sick. No one cares. Yours is not as bad as theirs....etc....I am with wordnerd, you better take good care b/c you will have to deal with hubby when he gets it.I miss my friend Amy who used to make me toast and tea and lie down whenever I was sick. She was MUCH better than my mom, who used to just go to work.

Hope you feel better soon!
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
I had that same stupid baby sickness for two straight weeks. Finally, I went to my doctor. He was singularly unimpressed. "Maybe it's allergies," he said. "Maybe you're an asshole," I thought.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
Well, many pediatricians won't accept temps as valid for baby illnesses unless they've been taken rectally. So I'd be careful about wishing a baby illness on myself...
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMustangSally
I just spent five days of hell dealing with the stupid ear thermometer, trying to figure out why my son felt like he'd set himself on fire and his temperature was only reading 99.

My solution: the armpit thermometer. Or rather, the all purpose armpit/mouth/rectal thermometer. (Just don't go sticking it into all of those places in one go. Or at least change the probe covers for goodness sake.) It's no fun for 21 month olds because they have to sit there for ONE WHOLE MINUTE while the thermometer reads the temp, but if you're feeling crappy anyway, why not take a load off. The best thing is you get to add a whole degree to the results if you do it via armpit! It's officially sanctioned by doctors everywhere!

Feel better.



April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
This really has not much to do with anything, but that reminds me of how I had a dream last night that I went to Jupiter on a trip. I guess my sub-conscious couldn't remember if it was really hot there or really cold (although I KNOW it's really cold) so when we first got there, it was freezing. Then suddenly the temperature changed to 90 degrees celsius. Confusing.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJem
I hope you feel better soon.
April 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterliz
Since you said you *could* add OR MORE, to the end, why not add OR LESS? Feel better Alice!
April 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Rani
Hey there. I think if you feel sick, you should probably take it easy. I think hot eyeballs are a sure sign that something ain't right...

Here's a trick from my great-grandmother that has worked for me when I had a fever & wanted to feel better: take ALL the covers in the house & put them on your bed; then drink a shot of scotch (or some other alcohol--the last time I did this I could only find cognac, but it worked) and get in bed under all those covers. Pretty soon you'll start sweating, which can break the fever, which makes you feel better. Plus, if you've got someone to watch the boy, why not have a drink and a little lie-down? haha!

Good luck! Hope you feel better soon!

April 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren in Ohio
How did I miss this post? Here's hoping that by now you are all better. And if not, allow me to say that I'm certain your thermometer is ALL BROKEN and WRONG.
April 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMir
Aw I'm sorry you're sick.

I'm sick too, only I know why I am. I'm on Spring Break in Boston and I'm from the south. Yeah. Cold weather plus me do not make a very good mix.

Hope we BOTH feel better (along with whomever is sick!)!
April 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPip
MMMMM... high efficiency boilers!
April 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersumo
Hope you're much improved by now...
April 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterH
STAY IN THAT BED!!!

ugh. so sorry, what a horrible time of year to get sick.

well that's stupid. it's never a good time to get sick.

anyway.
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSarcomical
"Poor sweetie" is what I always call the cat after she's horked up a hairball, usually all over one of the few nice home furnishing items we own.

Here's my mocktor (mock + doctor= mocktor) advice: you should check your pulse in addition to your temperature. I have a (un)naturally low body temp, but got to stay in the hospital a few days extra both times I was admitted because my pulse was "too low." I'm not exactly sure how low "too low" is, but the pestilence symptoms you describe sound like they might indicate such a thing (to me, someone who is not a doctor but loves to play one on WebMd).
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ.
Ever tried "wet socks"? It's a form of hydrotherapy. It's one of those old-school-becomes-new-school therapies know as "natural." I do it when I'm sick and the side effect is crazy dreams. Sometimes I just do it for the Crazy Dreams.
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlishia
Packing sucks. Packing while feeling even slightly unwell sucks even more. I did it last week and tired myself out to the point where I cried while watching ICE PRINCESS. More than once. Sleep. Please.
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersandra

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