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When I need a break at work – and I often do – I tend to turn to the Internet for quick break from my work reality.  During this interlude, I often visit the New York Times.  In the past several days, I’ve come across different articles that speak to me in very different ways.

Is Law School a Losing Game?

If you know my background, you might think that my immediate answer to this question would be “yes.”  After all, I left a big law job where I made a good salary, but made me hate life, to somewhat aimlessly go back to school, and then to return to a small law job where I make half of what I used to make (and that was when I worked fulltime.)

I will be the first to admit that I hated law school.  I hated every minute of it.  Fortunately, I did not have to pay for this torture.  Instead of going to the best school (according to U.S. New & World Report rankings) where I was accepted, I went to a well-regarded second-tier state school that paid me to attend.  After graduation, I knew that I was one of the fortunate ones.  Although I graduated before the downturn in the economy, many of my classmates (my husband included) finished law school without jobs waiting.  Unlike them, I knew where I was going.  The problem was, I didn’t like what I found when I got there.

Even so, law school was not a losing game for me.  It stretched me in ways that I didn’t realize that I could stretch.  It resulted in my ability to take part in a profession that, while not inherently enjoyable, could sustain me if I needed it to.  And, in my current job, I actually get to help people who really need help.  It is not my dream job, but it isn’t a losing game either.

The Benefits of Fever

I wrote about Bear’s high fever in October.  Seeing the thermometer read 104 was shocking – and frightening.  Despite my great alarm, Bear’s pediatrician kindly reassured me that a high fever was not a cause for alarm.  He told me to look away from the number and to assess Bear’s behavior.  He explained that a high fever would not permanently damage her, despite common thought.

Intellectually, I knew that he was right.  However, as a mom, I was terrified.  I knew that Bear was miserable and becoming progressively more miserable.  I was desperately afraid that as the night wore on, her fever would rise to a level where no one could help her.  Fortunately, her fever spiked and broke, and by the next morning, Bear was almost back to her old self.  Her body won that battle, but my heart was still damaged from fear.

I agree that patients and their parents should be better educated on the benefits of fever.  But, ultimately, it will serve medical professionals well to remember that when a child is sick, a mom thinks more with her heart than her head.

Newberry Awarded to Debut Author

When I was in elementary school, I eagerly anticipated the day each year that the librarian put out the cart of Newberry and Caldecott award nominees and winners.  I remember the joy I felt when I was fortunate enough to borrow our school’s one copy of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  I recall reading Lincoln:  A Photobiography by Russell Freedman in the bathtub (shh, don’t tell my librarian), and I was surprised that I enjoyed it.

I am eager to get my hands on Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.  It is the kind of book that I would have loved as a young girl growing up in rural Kansas.  In fact, it is the kind of book that I would love to write someday.  Ms. Vanderpool’s story inspires me.  She wrote Moon Over Manifest in bits and pieces; between making lunches and shuttling kids to activities.  She knew that she wanted to write, and she found a way to put her story onto page.   If she can do it, so can I.

Contrary to my promise to do so, I haven’t updated my blog in a few weeks.  But, don’t worry.  It isn’t because I haven’t been writing.

I wrote a short story that, while still a work in progress, is a good first start and perhaps, something that I’ll submit somewhere someday.  I need more defined goals, don’t I?

Last weekend, I took Bear back to my hometown for the first time since March.  I am always amazed at how when I first arrive, my rural little hometown feels so foreign.  After half a day there, though, it begins to feel familiar again.  The first morning we spent there, I put Bear in her jogging stroller and took a twenty minute walk across town to visit my grandmother.  My hometown is flat with few trees in comparison to where I now live.  I reveled at how it was so quiet and peaceful that I could hear a car driving down the street three blocks away, and if I turned my head in time, I could clearly see it pass between houses.  As I walked, I could easily tell who was home, and even hear moms talking to small children inside their houses as I passed.  Sound carries easily there without the trees to soak it up and other sounds to drown it out.  On our walk back, I thought about how all of the familiar names on realty signs and inscribed into rocks in front of houses now belonged to my classmates rather than their parents.  Later, when we went downtown to shop, I was amazed how some people (mostly those from my parents’ generation) so enthusiastically welcomed me and how others (mostly those from my generation) looked at me like I was the prodigal son returning home and they were his brother.

On Sunday, Bear battled stomach issues that I am fairly certain can be traced to some mystery zucchini bread that a lady in a hometown clothing store gave to my grandmother with Alzheimer’s, who then gave to Bear while my back was turned.  There were a few exciting minutes that my aunt spent frantically digging pieces out of  my daughter’s mouth.  Bear spent most of the next day with some nasty diapers and had periods where she cried and beat on her tummy, crying “Owie!”  Her response reminded me why I work so hard to only give her food that I know will not cause her to react.

Yesterday, after several good days at daycare, Bear came down with a fever.  She also began using her new, favorite word “owie” indiscriminately, so while we knew that something was hurting her, it was impossible to tell what.   At first, she would pull up her pant legs and hit her knees and saying “Owie.”  Then, during diaper changes, she would say “owie.”  She would also open her mouth to say something, and a huge bubble of saliva would come out instead.  These symptoms, along with her fever, seemed concerning, so I called the pediatrician’s office and her allergist’s to see if he would call in a prescription for some compounded non-soy containing Tylenol-type medication.   Around 6:00 last night, Bear began acting strangely.  She couldn’t seem to keep her eyes open, and she was moaning softly.  This, of course, scared me, and I immediately took her to her pediatrician’s after-hours clinic.  By the time we arrived, her fever had reached 104.  Despite enduring a strep culture and a catheter to obtain a urine sample, we left without any answers. Her pediatrician promised that a high fever wouldn’t “boil her brains” but acted annoyed that her allergist wouldn’t let us give her generic painkillers that contained soy.  I was annoyed that he was annoyed, but mostly I was tired and sad that my daughter was still not well and that we didn’t have any way to help her.

Fortunately, Bear’s fever broke last night.  She has not felt well today, but the absence of the fever has greatly improved her spirits.  She seems hungry but doesn’t want to eat.  She continues to have strange drooling issues and to say “owie” when I change her diaper.  She has also started telling me that her hand hurts.  We think that she has Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, but until blisters start forming, we won’t know for sure.  She seemed happy to take a nap, and for now, is sleeping peacefully, and I am still waiting for a call from the compounded pharmacy that someone has made a painkiller that my little girl can safely take.  However, I am hoping that we’ve passed through the worst.