Fahrenheit 104.7

Fahrenheit 451 paper burns, but when does the brain begin to melt?

thermometerOn Wednesday night Phoebe went to bed sick with a small fever. She awoke in the middle of the night with screams. She was out of bed, running around, and crying over the alligators eating her comforter. A bad dream, but her fever was not imaginary. She was burning up and the thermometer read 104.7.

This sent us into panic mode – fearing brain damage. We debated an ER visit, but first called the on-call nurse. Soon we were on the phone with our groggy Doctor. We were given the first appointment of the day – before the office even opened.

But when we arrived Phoebe’s temperature was gone. The doctor – looking like someone kept up last night – smiled and gave me a sheet explaining the myths of fevers.

There were many, but addressing my fear: Fevers do not cause brain damage. “Only body temperatures over 108oF can cause brain damage. The body temperature only goes this high with high environmental temperatures (e.g. confined in a closed car).” Later the article explains that body temperatures will top out at 105o or 106oF. [Bacteria infections – like meningitis – can cause brain damage, but the damage is not related to the fever.]

How many of our fears are based on imagination? Based on bad information or possible futures. How many of our fears are more like Alligators chomping on our comforter – than reality.

Not only do these fears eat our comfort, they prevent us from looking forward. Driven by fears we try to preserve today. So that even when we are successful preserving today, we find we never arrive at a better place.

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