Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Facts of Life

There are some weekends when you just have to take the good with the bad. A few weekends ago, my brother, Dan, rolled into town from Thailand for a visit full of good food and much nostalgia. In addition to taking us out to a delicious meal at the Oceanaire, Dan ventured to a local soccer game where my nephew Desi was juking jokers and scoring goals.

Dan was hoping to make a cameo appearance in the blog and we were hoping to get a pic with him lurking somewhere in the background, but none of those came out, so here he is one of him with Ads.

A few hours after the game, we all reconvened at my sister's house for dinner. The boys were out and about with friends, Dan was asleep in front of the TV, and Mike, Laura, and I were hanging out in the kitchen while Addie started her dinner. She'd been pretty quiet and a little warm throughout the day, but was fairly cheerily gnawing on a piece of pizza. All of the sudden, she put down her sippy cup and her arms went rigid. Her eyes went kind of blank. My sister and I called her name, but she was totally unresponsive. "She's seizing," my sister said.

She picked her up out of her high chair, but Addie was still not responding and her limbs were jerking lightly. Her breathing was labored. "She has a fever," my sister noticed.

They were going to hop in the car to take her to the ER, but quickly decided that an ambulance would be faster. Laura carried her daughter outside to wait for the ambulance and talked to the 911 operator on the phone. Addie's eyes were rolled back in her head and her skin looked mottled. When Laura turned her over, saliva ran out of her mouth. She was making small, "uh" sounds every so often.

The ambulance arrived quickly -- more quickly than we'd expected and the EMT led Laura and Addie into the back while a few neighbors came out of their houses, panicked that something had happaned to one of the neighborhood kids.

While Mike got ready to go to the hospital, we took an inventory of where the other kids were. Poor Dan was asleep through all of it, so I woke him up just as my parents called. I described what happened to my mom through a lot of sobs. She put my dad on the phone -- he's a pediatrician. I told him what happened as the ambulance pulled away. "Did she have a fever?" he asked. I told him that Laura said she was warm when she picked her up. "Yup," my dad said reassuringly, "we see this all the time. It's a febrile seizure."

Sure enough -- we got a phone call a short while later from Mike and Laura at the hospital saying that Addie was alert. The EMTs -- who Mike and Laura said were the nicest people ever -- said that they have about one a day come into the county hospital. They happen to children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are caused by a sudden fever. In the aftermath during a conversation with my mother-in-law, we actually found out that Eric had one too when he was a little kid. He'd had a fever and so his mom put him in a bath of cold water. We're guessing that it might have been the sudden drop in temperature that caused it in his case. We're fairly confident that he has no long term effects from the seizure -- but now when he does something strange, we just blame it on the seizure.

It was probably one of the most terrible things I've ever seen -- especially because it seemed to take her so long to recover from it and because it felt like there was nothing we could do. God forbid any of you should have to be witness to this, but if you are, rest assured, it will end and they'll end up being just as cute as they were before.


Marin said...

From my anecdotal experiences I think your dad is right about the commonness of Febrile Seizures. One of our friends here in Honolulu has a baby boy with PKU and he went down with a febrile seizure a few weekends ago. His congenital medical issues had them on even greater edge than most parents, but it all sorted itself fine after an emergency room trip. Just like in your cautionary tale.....

Rhena said...

I hope the twins are not predisposed to this sort of thing. It's not fun to stand helplessly by while watching a kid go through that.

Lesley of Banana Pants Clothes said...

Jeez! I seriously can't even imagine how scary that must have been for all of you. I just can't stand it when a little one is in pain or suffering and you just don't know what to do.

I'm so glad she's doing better now.