06 July 2016

Our Baby Had A Seizure

On Sunday, July 3rd 2016 our 14 month old son Michael had a seizure.

Helplessly watching our son have a seizure, calling 911 and riding in an ambulance to the hospital... there just aren't words to sufficiently describe the terror Kyle and I felt.

Since his birth, we have predicted that Michael would be the first of our kids to visit the emergency room, but never did we imagine it would be like this...

About 4 days prior to Michael's seizure, his older sister Mallory started running a fever. She didn't have any symptoms other than her fever which lingered for about 48 hours. Don't get me wrong, she certainly didn't feel well, but there wasn't anything else specific going on. No vomiting or diarrhea. No complaints of a sore throat or ear pain. We figured it was some random gross kid virus and let it run it's course. We were far from shocked when Michael woke up on the morning of the 3rd with a low grade fever (about 99.8-100.5 ish.)

We usually don't medicate our kids' fevers until they hit about 102 degrees because we want their bodies to experience the infection fighting benefits of a fever. So, it wasn't until Mike woke up from his afternoon nap with a fever of 102.7 that we decided to give him Tylenol. After giving him Tylenol, Mike and I went into the living room to cuddle and rock while we waited for the medicine to work it's magic. We had been rocking quietly for about 5 minutes when I felt my son's entire body stiffen up and jolt. I immediately yelled for Kyle to come inside. Mike jolted again only this time his eyes rolled back and he stopped breathing. I yelled again only this time telling Kyle that Mike was having a seizure which prompted Kyle to grab his phone while he was making his way to the living room. Kyle took one look at Michael and asked if we should call 911. We did.

*Note : If you live on a military installation and have to call 911 you will have to be transferred to second dispatcher. So, as soon as you get the first 911 dispatcher on the phone, tell them you are on post so they can transfer you immediately. This will save time by not having to explain your emergency to two separate people.

Mike continued seizing with wave like convulsions, eyes rolled back, and blue lips for 3 excruciating minutes.

Following his seizure, Michael was extremely disoriented. His breathing was shallow and he grunted with each breath. When we looked in his eyes, our Michael wasn't there.  After 10 long minutes he finally made eye contact and recognized me.

With Michael in my arms, all Kyle and I could do is wander around our front yard waiting for EMS. The ultimate in parental helplessness and pure terror.

It took 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

Immediately one paramedic physically assessed Michael while another got the run down of the situation from Kyle. They put us in the ambulance, checked Mike's heart rate, oxygen levels, temperature and blood sugar. All were normal except his temp which was 102.8.

At this point a fireman demanded my eye contact. He very sternly said "Mom. Your son is safe and we will help you take care of him. A seizure with fever is common in children his age. Our initial assessment tells us that it was simply that and he will be just FINE."

That was a very powerful and greatly appreciated moment for me during this nightmare.

During the ride to the hospital, Mike's condition continued to improve. I sang to him and watched hopefully as he grew more interested in all the cool gadgets inside the ambulance and increasingly irritated by his oxygen mask.

At the hospital, the doctors and nurses did a lot of the same assessments as the paramedics. They quickly decided to give him Motrin (he threw up the Tylenol we gave him earlier) to manage his fever.

After 30 minutes it was clear Mike was feeling better because he was getting into everything. If we didn't get the show on the road, he was going to do some serious damage to that hospital room. At about that time the doctor came in and told us Michael had what is called a febrile seizure.

Kyle and I hammered him with 912756329 questions. I even tried to convince him to keep us overnight because the thought of bringing him home and this happening again was absolutely terrifying. They shut me down.

We followed up on Tuesday with a physician at the children's hospital in Tucson. From that appointment we gained a little more understanding of febrile seizures as well as some reassurance of Mike's ongoing safety and well being.

Long story short : his seizure was caused by his fever (which was apparently caused by an ear infection) and is essentially harmless. It is likely that this won't happen again, but it might. Moving forward, any known fever of his needs to be medicated immediately in order to best prevent a febrile seizure. 

Now if only someone could erase the image of my precious son's face during his seizure from my head...

PS. Thank goodness my sister is in town visiting. She had Mallory out on a lunch date when all of this went down so Mallory didn't see anything and we didn't have to worry about her. She was blissfully ignorant to the situation and well taken care of. 

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