Tirade! Now, with coughing!

So, as you know, Meredith was sick last week, but is no longer sick. She has an annoying cough. She does NOT have a fever, nor does she have chills. No runny nose. Just a cough. She’s full of energy. She feels great.

1. About an hour ago, Meredith’s teacher sent her to the nurse’s office to deliver a backpack to a child who was going home sick for the day. According to the nurse, “I took her temperature for the heck of it, and she has a fever of 99.6, so you need to come and get her.”

2. This morning, I packed a sandwich bag full of mints, and threw in one Mucinex packet with a note that said, “Please allow Meredith to eat these mints as needed for her cough. I’m also including a packet of Mucinex. She may take it if needed after 12:00.” When the school nurse called to ask me to pick Meredith up, she told me that as a nurse, she is not allowed to dispense medication with only a parental permission slip. She needs a prescription from the pediatrician. So, even though I picked this stuff up at the store and gave the nurse written permission to hand it to Meredith, I still have to call the doctor (who is booked up for the day, I’m sure), have her write a prescription for Mucinex, and fax it to the school. With that said, I am allowed to drive to school, pull Meredith out of her classroom, and dispense the medicine myself (seriously—I’ve done it), but the school nurse cannot give it to her. And I get that, I think. I think.

3. When I arrived at the nurse’s office to pick Meredith up, the nurse said, “If her fever comes back at any time today, you need to keep her home tomorrow.” They have a policy at school that says something like “Fever Today? No School Tomorrow.” And I get that. I really do. BUT, the fact that she said, “If her fever comes BACK” confused me a bit. When we got home, Meredith’s temperature was 98.4. As I sit here at the computer, she’s running around the house feeling perfectly fine.

I’m sure all of this makes perfect sense and Better Safe Than Sorry and it’s flu season and schools are closing and the locusts are descending and whatever. I’m sure it does. I’m just having trouble seeing it right now. You see, I’m a very selfish and uncaring mother who is probably 99.6% (or 98.4%, depending on whose side you’re on) responsible for the flu outbreak at Meredith’s school. There. I said it so you don’t have to.

I would like a large non-fat chai and a walk in the woods. Thank you for your support. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

26 thoughts on “Tirade! Now, with coughing!”

  1. I’m all for keeping kids home when they’re sick, and I know there are some pretty stupid parents out there (a teacher friend of mine had a kid in her class that had been diagnosed with swine flu 48 hours earlier. DIAGNOSED.), but puh-leeeeeeeeease. The whole “we need a prescription for OTC meds” thing cracks me up too. I’m starting to see why some parents decide to homeschool. Or not. Nevermind, not going there.

  2. Just for the heck of it! I don’t know if it’s good or bad that nurse is in the school instead of out in the wide world giving adults monthly pap smears and daily finger sticks.

  3. 99.6 is not a “fever.” It is more likely, a normal fluctuation in her normal body temperature, especially after running an errand. Does the school have an actual definition for fever? In my world, it has to be over 100 to qualify.

  4. My daughter’s preschool makes me come get her after one diarrhea episode and then makes me sign something saying I won’t bring her back for at least 24 hours. I too get it…I think…but still?

  5. It’s not medically considered a fever till it’s 100.4. Swine flu is causing schools and daycares to FREAK. OUT. My son was sent home a few weeks ago with a headcold. My pediatrician says that the cases of actual swine flu that she has seen have (happily) been extremely mild and the media needs to stop with the drama.

  6. Oh! That would INFURIATE me. 99 is NOT a fever. Our pediatrician is always reminding us that “a fever in children is considered a temperature over 100.” And she’s feeling great? No oinking or ANYTHING? That’s just not right if you ask me.

  7. This all makes me kind of sad. I had to work hard for my sick days when I was a kid. You know, holding the thermometer up to the light bulb, emptying packets of instant oatmeal and a can of cream of chicken soup into the toilet to mimic vomit.

    What I wouldn’t give to be a kid today. Sigh.

  8. Thank you, Tired and T. Exactly!

    That said, FP anytime you want to take a walk in the woods (with or w/o the latte), LMK.

  9. I’m pretty sure that 99.6 means she has swine flu, which she probably got from eating too much bacon. Or maybe pureed bacon, since it’s less of a choking hazard.


  10. As someone who works/volunteers in a school (ages 2-12) and sees sick kids in the office at least once a day (I am not a nurse, just the person who calls parents and fetches ice packs), 99.6 is laughable. Perfectly normal. I wouldn’t even bother telling a parent, let alone asking for the child to be picked up.

    We have had one confirmed case of H1N1 and a confirmed Influenza type a (may or may not be…). Both children were kept home for a few days and are now fine. Knock wood, etc.

  11. Our day care goes by the “must be fever-free for 24 hours” rule. But the fever only counts if it’s over 100 degrees. Otto broke the barrier today, so we’ll be home tomorrow… Transformers marathon!

    I was sick one day in junior high (cramps, I think) and needed to take some ibuprofen. My mom was at work, and had to drive over to give it to me because the school nurse couldn’t.

    She showed up wearing her uniform (she was a nurse in ICU), and when she found out the school nurse would’ve taken a faxed drs order, she blew a gasket. “You mean I could’ve had whoever was standing at the desk write an order, and you would’ve followed it even though he doesn’t know my daughter from Adam???” I assume this was because the nurse said something like “Oh, I didn’t realize you were a nurse, I should’ve had you fax something over.”

    After that I just hid drugs in my locker. Risky (I could’ve been suspended, I think), but a lot easier than getting my mom riled up again and having her lasso random docs into writing drug orders for my cramps.

  12. Has the supreme court ruled on strip searching middle-schoolers for ibuprophen yet? Man, I remember the day when I could not only take whatever I wanted at school, but I could BUY stuff too (and not from the nurse either).

    And my norm temp is low so even as a kid I had to work hard to get my mom to let me stay home (she’s a nurse–the Nurse Rachett kind). It was easier to go to school and then have them call her to come pick me up because I was sick. She was a toughie though–like the day that I broke my foot and when they called she didn’t believe that I was that hurt. She sent my uncle to pick me up and went shopping with my aunt.

  13. I would LIKE to think this is all H1N1 panic, but my kids’ school has ALWAYS been like this. I had to keep the boy home from school one day a couple of weeks ago because he ate too much at lunch and yacked it up at school and they have a 24-hours-with-no-yacking policy. Same with fever. Oy.

    AND I have sent my kids to school with cough drops and Tums and notes from me, but fortunately my kids are STEALTHY AND SNEAKY and no one caught them huffing OTC menthol and/or calcium.

    I knew when I found their first cache of granola bars shoved under the living room sofa that they’d do great things one day.

  14. I realize how easy it is for me (unmarried, childless, lacking ovaries) to be so flip about such things, but there’s cautious and then there’s ‘Let’s throw common sense out the window’. Take the temperature of kid who just ate or has been running around or is ALIVE at anytime throughout the day and you’ll probably get a reading over 98.6.

    And what exactly is the point of having a school nurse anymore if they can do nothing more than randomly shove a thermometer into some kids mouth ‘for the heck of it’ and declare whatever it reads as the unvarnished truth? Do I sound like I’m 84? I think I sound like I’m 84.

  15. mmm, a non-fat chai would be lovely but it’s a wee bit chilly out there for a nice walk in the woods unless you have a nice wooly scarf and toque on…single digit high today (in Celsius of course).

    My daughter has had a cough for a week and a half now, and it is nothing but a cough and is not getting worse…not fun but we WILL overcome, eventually….I think she got it at the sitters’ and as such is still allowed to go–*phew*

  16. Ooooh, Stephanie is playing very good attention!

    I can’t believe the nurse took her temperature “for the heck of it.” Doesn’t she need a permission slip to do that?

  17. I do so HATE children who are not ill, dancing round the house. What happened to lying in a snuffly heap watching Toy Story 2?

    If you do not want to watch Toy Story 2 at least three times in one day, you are not ill enough to stay at home. That is the rule in the Coffee House.

  18. I am currently sitting at home with one of the twins, who was diagnosed with H1N1 at Urgent Care last night.

    The other twin is at daycare, because he has no symptoms whatsoever. Even so, my husband tells me the teacher acted a little like he had leprosy when he was dropped off.


    It’s a virus, people. Lots of handwashing, extra precautions, etc. etc. But in my book (and also my pediatrician’s book, by the way),
    Symptom Free = Able to go to School

  19. By the way, the pediatrician said to be H1N1 the fever must be at least 100.4, and not respond to Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

    For what it’s worth.

  20. I would bring her back with my own thermometer and take it in her office. I mean, seriously? Even I could be a school nurse.

    I miss the good old days of them giving you morphine in the elementary school if you asked for it. Sheesh.

  21. I think my favorite part of this is that Mucinex isn’t even a prescription medication! Why can’t Meredith just go and take the medicine herself at the drinking fountain? Are they afraid she’ll start a meth ring without a doctor’s note?
    And also, seriously? 99.6? That could be because she was nervous about being in the school nurse’s office and had all the blood rush to her head! Absurd.

  22. When you have your pediatrician fax that prescription over to the nurse, you should ask that s/he also faxes the definition of a fever, which is 100.4 or higher. Ridiculous!

  23. The toads are next. Is it the habit of your school nurse to take the temperature of any child who walks through the door? “Oh, you’re dropping off the backpack for Trudy? Here, let me take your temperature.”

  24. this note from the doctor thing is driving me crazy. My son is allergic TO THE WORLD. but this can mostly be handled by dispensing benadryl to him once his face starts to swell or he breaks out in a rash or starts sneezing..whatever. However I need a note from the doctor (who is on vacation-doesnt’ anyone else have access to his chart?) faxed to the school nurse (who only works at my sons’ school on wednesdays between 9-11)before he can be dispensed benadryl.

    at what point are we just being a little silly?

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