Febrile, at home and elsewhere.

Nursing sick children is part of the job description for parenthood, and mercifully, Kate is pretty healthy. Most of the time. Not now. She was down yesterday with a 100-degree fever, chesty cough, sore throat and general ickiness; I knew she was really sick because she didn’t move off the couch all day, mainlining “Suite Life of Zach and Cody” episodes for hours. My rule is: Don’t call the doctor until a change. This morning her fever was up to 103, a personal best for this kid. Called the doc. We’ll be going in later this morning.

I’m taking action on the diagnosis. Her voice sounds like it hurts to even whisper, so I was thinking strep throat, but the cough is wrong for that. Bronchitis, 5-2. Strep, 7-1.

Of course, thinking of odds brings us to yesterday’s sad news, about Barbaro. Even with all that’s been written about the colt, there’s still a certain bafflement in some people — how can a horse die of a broken leg? Jane Smiley explains it elegantly in today’s WashPost:

A horse’s hoof is wondrous structure — the outside horn is lined with delicate membranes and blood vessels that feed and support the bones of the foot. The bones of the foot are analogous to a person’s fingertips, since a horse’s knee is analogous to a person’s wrist. The racehorse carries a thousand pounds at 35 to 40 miles per hour using a few slender bones supported by an apparatus of ligaments and tendons that have no analogues in human anatomy. Every part of the system depends on every other part. What happened to Barbaro was that the engineering couldn’t take it. When it was right, as in the Kentucky Derby, it was perfectly right, and when it became wrong, it became irredeemably wrong.

I knew Barbaro was doomed last weekend when I heard that 80 percent of one of his hooves had to be removed due to laminitis. That’s practically an amputation. The part that was removed is the part that grows back, but to do so would take more than a year, and this after 8 months in slings and casts and padded stalls. Even banking on the return a horse like this can bring at stud — and thoroughbreds breed live, no artificial insemination for them, so he’d have to be sound enough to cover the mare — it would be cruel to put him through that. He’s happier in horse heaven, where only people wear leather.

They had the Miss America pageant last night? In JANUARY? In VEGAS? For the SECOND year? (Man, I’m out of it.) Still, though, you have to laugh — what feminism couldn’t kill, reality TV slaughtered without a peep. The new action is in Miss USA, with its rehab-attending top Miss and MySpace-disgraced wannabe Miss. Now there’s a pageant for today’s world, ain’a? And to think, this used to be considered the contest for girls who were too dumb to say they advocated world peace. Huh.

So, the San Francisco Chronicle started this new podcast — “Correct Me if I’m Wrong,” reader voice mails shared with the world. The first one was genius. Not only do we have a reader who uses terms like “prolix” and “tautology,” he goes off on a rant that’s one for the ages (“Aren’t you there to ensure that the English language is not pissed on by your sub-editors?”), and the readers responded with remixes, mash-ups and ringtones made from it. I wish I’d saved some of my better reader VMs, but none of them are nearly as good as this one; I got grouchy bitching, mostly, including one from a man who lectured me for five minutes about why I wasn’t using my husband’s name. (Time stamp: 3:30 a.m., a nice way to ensure the writer won’t croon “chuck you, Farley” back atcha.) There was a guy who used to call the Columbus Dispatch city desk at night, utterly stone crazy, and rant about the Irish Republican Army (he was a fan) and dropping bombs down the Queen’s chimney (which he advocated). One night he called as we were leaving for dinner, so as an experiment, we laid the receiver down on the desk and went ahead and took our break. When we came back an hour later, he was still talking.

Pilotless aircraft! Pilotless aircraft! Don’t you check these things?!

Gary Kamiya weighs in on those pesky readers and all their opinions, here.

Off to the doc. Temp’s down to 99 and she’s feeling better, but we’re going anyway.

Posted at 11:02 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

19 responses to “Febrile, at home and elsewhere.”

  1. Connie said on January 30, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Best reader opinion from yesterday’s South Bend Tribune letters page: Having “My Man Mitch” as your governor is like having a really bad boyfriend: First he sells off all of your stuff without asking, then he starts nagging you all the time to lose weight.

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  2. brian stouder said on January 30, 2007 at 11:53 am

    I’m betting against strep; you can smell that one.

    I didn’t know that strep throat used to be a killer disease – as recently as the 1930’s! A book on my ‘want’ list (since watching the author on C-SPAN’s BookTV) is Thomas Hager’s “The Demon Under the Microscope” about the invention/discovery of sulfa drugs – the first line of ‘miracle drugs’ of the 20th century…in the 1930’s in the White House FDR’s son (FDR Jr) got strep throat, and his condition worsened over the course of two weeks, until death loomed. Eleanor called in all the very best doctors, but there simply was no proven treatment extant. But one doctor had read about some promising experimentation in Europe with these new-fangled sulfa concoctions – and being out of options, Eleanor at length OK’d their use on her son. (the doctors had no real idea how to dose the stuff; they had to ‘wing’ it)

    Over night, the improvement in her son’s condition was dramatic; a genuine ‘wonder’….and of course the sulfa drugs were then widely used on all sorts of things – until nowadays more and more resistance has built up against them. Despite that we mostly take for granted that we will always have effective antibiotics for things like strep, those sorts of afflictions may well re-assert themselves (as there is no gaurantee that we will find replacements for the 20th century ‘wonder drugs’)

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  3. Joe Kobiela said on January 30, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Hope Kate is feeling better 103 is getting up there. Did she start to see things? My daughters would get a fever like that and start to see things, My oldest who is now 21, Thought the dinasore’s on here wall paper were moving and talking to her.

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  4. alex said on January 30, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Connie, that’s the best laugh I’ve had in weeks! Glad Mitch was never my man.

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  5. nancy said on January 30, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Whoever had “classic influenza, and a whopping fine case of it” in the office pool, please see the cashier on your way out.

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  6. John said on January 30, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Seven-Up, comic books, Campbell’s chicken soup and toast. And watching TV Land. Recipe for kid flu treatment. Hopes she is up and about soon.

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  7. Connie said on January 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    John, your prescription sounds like those of my childhood. Except the Seven-Up should be almost flat. And TV Land, well my childhood saw those shows the first time around.

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  8. John said on January 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm


    That was my prescription too. Needless to say, the Seven-Up was always flat because there was only one bottle in the fridge (emergency use only!) which may have been there for months. And yes, no TV Land because Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke and Lucy and Desi were daytime staples.

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  9. Kirk said on January 30, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    when i was a kid home sick from school, dick van dyke, andy griffith and lucy and desi were night-time staples. i got art linkletter, truth or consequences and play your hunch.

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  10. Dorothy said on January 30, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Beverage for sick ones at my house growing up was ginger ale. I remember watching Dialing for Dollars with my mom – old movies are still my favorite thing to watch when I’m sick!

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  11. bassetf5 said on January 30, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Most memorable caller from my time in the Nashville schools’ central office was the woman who used to ring up in the middle of the night and go on for thirty or forty minutes in a real nasty whiny voice about how terrible it was that we were feeding the kids cheese in their school lunches, because it made them constipated, don’t you realize that? don’t you care about those children? why are you giving them pizza with cheese on it?

    one thing I learned in that job… if a call starts with “I’m a taxpayer” or “I’m retired,” they are not happy and want to tell you all about it.

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  12. John said on January 31, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a colored TV?
    Dialing for Dollars is trying to reach me…
    I wait for delivery, each day until three…
    Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a colored TV?

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  13. Pam said on January 31, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Make Katie some Milk Toast. It always worked for us.

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  14. Connie said on January 31, 2007 at 10:47 am

    And now for something entirely unrelated. Some of you shared about your visit to the new downtown library in Fort Wayne. They’ve put up a great Flickr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/acplinfo/ , Hey, I see the globe!

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  15. brian stouder said on January 31, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Hah! We’re in the first picture I saw – “Visitors Arriving for the grand opening celebration”. Look for the toddler wearing green and being held by mom (in the foreground on the left)

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  16. brian stouder said on January 31, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Actually, I guess the bald guy is holding Chloe

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  17. Connie said on January 31, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Found you! Thanks for that hint.

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  18. Bob said on January 31, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    My home remedy for almost anything:

    Two or three Constant Comment teabags steeped for 5 minutes in 16 ounces of boiling-hot water. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, one or two tablespoons honey to taste, and a double-shot of Bacardi Gold.

    Goes down easy, stays down when you think nothing else will, and doesn’t go right on out the other end. It may not cure anything, but it helps you to not care.

    Probably not appropriate for a kid, though.

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  19. brian stouder said on January 31, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Connie – Pam found another of us, again highlightingmy chrome dome


    and you can see the whole crew (Shelby holding Chloe, Grant, Pam & I)

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