Sunday, June 29, 2008

best time for them to have the minor febrile illness...

A question, purely hypothetical of course, on the topic of weekend versus weekday illness. If your child in daycare has to have one or the other, which would you prefer? And I use the word "hypothetical" in a rather euphemistic way for the very actual sense in which this may be happening to my little family right now. Assuming you work Monday through Friday (though I'm sure many of us have schedules that deviate from this traditional schema)... Would you rather that your children have a minor (+/- febrile) illness on a Friday afternoon so that you get to tend to them throughout the weekend, bringing them back to full toddler health as only a mother (perhaps a mother in medicine, indeed) can do by Monday morning? Late on a Friday so that you don't have to miss work, don't have to rearrange child care, don't have to draw upon your colleagues, your relatives, your neighbors, your spouse... Late on a Friday so that your little ones don't continue to infect peers in preschool. Late on a Friday may ruin weekend plans, but is it preferable to ruining weekday (read: WORK) plans?

Or, would you rather that your children begin their minor illness on a Monday and then you get a forced opportunity to stay home for a day (probably more like two or three), put work aside, and mother them back to a usual state of afebrile rambunctiousness? Is it even possible to put work aside? As I think one of my co-MIM-bloggers described that we are in a profession where the world seems to collapse if we need to take a day (or even a few hours) away from our clinical duties at short notice. So, given that your child's minor illness will fall either on a clinical or non-clinical time, which do you prefer?

And, another question altogether, whether you are a mother in medicine or not, do you dose the ibuprofen and send them off to childcare anyway?


  1. Great question.

    Even though it's not fun to spend my weekend/vacation time nursing a sick baby, it's infinitely better than if she's sick on a weekday. If she's sick on a weekday, I end up getting zero sleep and having an agonizing internal struggle over whether or not I should go to work. Even though our day care will let her come in as long as she's still breathing, I wouldn't send her there if she had anything worse than a runny nose. (But we have a nanny three days a week and I would leave her with the nanny.) My husband has a flexible enough job that if I can just take off a few hours, he can usually stay with her the rest of the day. But as you said, even taking off a few hours can sometimes be a challenge.

  2. This has always been a dilemma for me - not that I am offered a choice - but I tend to favor the late Friday illness. There's not that between-couple juggling - who takes off at a moment's notice? There are also certain days that finding coverage for me would be extremely burdensome and challenging.

    We absolutely have sent our daughter to her little school dosed with tylenol, the source of her original inoculation.

  3. Friday for sure. It is easier to be home caring for him and not have to hassle with work coverage. Who cares about weekend plans? We never plan anything anyway and resting at home is good for all of us.

    A sick child during the week is really difficult for working parents.

  4. Weekend is preferable, but it is not the end of the world if it happens on weekdays because my husband can take unlimited paid sick leave. I am self employed so take a pay cut if I need to take time off. It would help though if all three of my children would be convenient and all get sick at the same time instead of stretching the sickness over weeks as normally happens.

  5. I'm torn. Either way I don't get off of work, but I think I deal MUCH better than my husband with kid sickness who seems to become insensible with ANY illness. For instance my kid fell 2 inches to the ground off a monkey bar and got a bruise on his leg and elbow. He could walk, move etc. fine - went to the nurse who put ice on it and gave tylenol. I get a FRANTIC call from him about whether he should pick him up and bring him to the ER for Xrays - I said no unless he felt strongly that he wanted to waste 3-5 hours in the ER. But of course he NEVER believes my medical opinion, so, I am forced to get a side consult from the orthopaedist (luckily I have access to all docs in the OR) who reassures me that if he's walking talking and not immobilizing it himself it can't even be a hairline fracture. Meanwhile, he picks him up early from camp ANYWAY and makes me check him over thoroughly when I get home...

  6. One comment from a child care provider... if you dose them at 6 or 7 am, plan on a phone call to come pick them up about 6 hours later. If they have an illness that causes a fever for 2 or 3 days, it will spike back up, and we will be calling. I hate making that phone call. In the mean time, you are exposing the other children in the center to the germs that are causing your child's illness even if you have temporarily controlled the symptoms. Also, plan to not bring them back until 24 hours fever-free. So, maybe you'll get a good 7 or 7 hours at work that Monday morning, but be sure to clear your schedule for Tues and possibly Weds.
    As a provider, we don't create these policies, they are state mandated by the DJFS and Health Departments. We're not trying to be a pain, or difficult. We are trying to keep all the children in our care healthy.
    Bottom line, please don't dose them and send them off to daycare.

  7. thanks Amanda for your perspective. I think we all agree that we wouldn't send a child to daycare with a serious illness or if they have been spiking fevers. I think it's fine, though, to give tylenol/ibuprofen if they are resolving, no longer infectious, or the last of the class to acquire said infection (usually, it's fairly evident the pattern of transmission when you pick up your child and every other kid is dripping snot.)

    More about drippy noses...

  8. My kids are grown, but absolutely Friday. Husband home on the weekends, too.


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