Monday, December 3, 2007


My child has a rash. She woke up with it Sunday morning, welts the size of a dime, a quarter, a pack of cigarettes on her stomach and thighs. Then it was under her arms, the whole area completely red and alarming, some of it puffy, some just flat and angry. By midday it spread down her side and onto her back. When she went down for her nap one cheek was pink and when she woke up it was the other. And it had spread up onto her neck while she slept. This morning her entire torso was one huge red splotch, though it hasn't taken over her lower legs, her arms, or her face. Because it's winter and she's clothed in the house, you actually can't see much of it with her clothes on. But every time I change her diaper I'm alarmed all over again.

And it's hot. Everywhere that's red is hot to the touch. Tylenol helps some, but not entirely. She's got a bit of a fever and is, as you can imagine, quite unhappy about the setup.

Yesterday when I called the after-hours nurse she said it didn't sound like anything serious but that I should keep her away from other folks, especially pregnant people. Well, that's helpful.

M took her to the doctor this morning (while I explained to drowsy 18-year-olds how to prepare for an in-class essay exam) and the doctor said, "I don't know what it is but it will probably go away in a few days. If it doesn't, bring her back." Ah, yes. I suppose I should be relieved it's not rubella or meningitis, and I am of course, but not knowing is troubling. We can't for the life of us think of anything to which it could be a reaction—and it's probably just a virus, like they said, that will pass. I understand that it's common for kids to get rashes when they get colds or regular viruses. Since when? I don't remember anything about that from my childhood. So if it's a regular thing—okay; still, it's so startling to see.

And this is one of those situations (I know there will be many many many) where I feel my heart on the outside of my chest. It's just hanging out there, exposed, raw. And every time I look at those welts my raw exposed tender heart aches.

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