Having never before heard of a febrile seizure let alone witnessed one, I had about four years shaved off of my life span last Saturday. BonusBoy, my 23-month old, had a barely-noticable-to-the-touch, low-grade fever on Saturday morning. Jim had taken BonusBoy with him to do an errand and although BonusBoy was acting sleepy when they returned, he was acting normally. It was noon.
Jim sat down with him in the rocking chair and BonusBoy seemed to be going to sleep. I came into the room having just finished a call to my sister and sat down on the couch to talk with Jim. Then BonusBoy started acting "funny". He raised his head up off of Jim's shoulder as if to lay his head down on his other cheek but he didn't put his head back down. he just stared. Then he started trembling slightly. Jim and I looked at each other thinking that this was looking really weird. I went over and sat down on the ottoman in front of the rocking chair and tried to get BonusBoy to respond to me. He wouldn't. He just stared with glassy, unseeing eyes.
I asked Jim to please take him to the hospital. I was thinking, initially, that I couldn't go since I hadn't even gotten dressed or brushed my teeth or hair yet. But while Jim was hollering for the big kids to come in the house, I threw on clothes and then took BonusBoy. We sent the kids over to the neighbors house (without even finding out if that was going to be o.k. ... it was, in the end) and raced away to the E.R.
We only live about 3-4 miles from the hospital but we performed about 5 moving violations on the way there. This whole time, I'm holding BonusBoy and shaking him every so often to try to elicit a response from him. I'm talking loudly to him, saying, "BonusBoy, BonusBoy!" I'm also wondering (since I have NO CLUE what is going on) if I've seen the last of my son as I know him. I'm wondering about brain damage and if he will ever be the same again. Utterly frightening!
We pulled up the the hospital and a nurse meets me with a wheelchair. I plop down in the chair with my STILL unresponsive son balanced on my 36-weeks pregnant belly. She whiskes me down the hall and through a back door into the E.R. and hollers for the docs. It was nice that we got to bypass the main entry area and go straight to an E.R bed. When Jim got in there they didn't know who he was asking for because they didn't have our names yet. It all went very fast!!
The doctor immediately said it looked like a febrile seizure but I still didn't know what that was so was not feeling any measure of relief yet. BonusBoy's rectal temperature was 103. something and he was still unresponsive at this point which was a blessing on one hand because he didn't care about the IV that it took 1/2 hour to insert. The seizure makes the veins in the extremities constrict so it's hard to get in an IV.
In the end, BonusBoy was just fine. About 20-25 minutes after it started, he came out of the seizure. He was pretty subdued the rest of the time in the E.R. He fell asleep at one point but woke up screaming when the nurse had to take his temperature again. He also cried a lot when they took off all the tape and removed the IV. The screaming and crying I can take. It's WAY BETTER than unresponsive!
We were instructed to keep him medicated to keep the fever under control and watch him. He's been normal ever since (albeit tired). Since he has now had a febrile seizure he will be more prone to having one again. If this happens again, I won't like it, but I certainly won't be as terrified as I was last Saturday.
We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone