Seizure

18 07 2007

Cradling hot body.
Whimpering.
Pause…

Eyes fly open.

Already I know, instinctively.

Little body twitches.
I wait for him to settle into normal sleep, but it does not happen.
Instead an earthquake pulses through his whole self.

“Turn on the lights. Call 911. He’s having a seizure.”
For a second I wonder if this is necessary for just a febrile seizure, but I decide I want the guidance if for nothing but comfort.

Eyes roll back, turn red at the effort.
He vocalizes, gurgles.
Cliché, but it really does sound as though he’s swallowing his tongue.
So I check his mouth. Ok.
Turn him on his side.
Realize I have already done so.

It’s funny how calm I am. I have prepared for this moment just in case and all I know comes back to me clearly and I just go through the motions, waiting patiently for it to end.

My husband is on the phone already.

And then I realize: he is not breathing.

Lips turn blue.

Fear as I have never known it sets in.

I must pick him up. I don’t know if that is right or wrong but I do it. The mother in me takes over, rationally or not.

And a breath.

Relief. Almost joy, but I am too busy to celebrate. A few more twitches, I think, in my arms before it ends. But, honestly, I don’t remember this part very much. The relief of pink lips clouds my mind and I do not think further.

My husband tells me the paramedics are coming.

I hold my little boy and he moans with each breath, not yet awake. And there is no further change. I’m afraid. Isn’t he supposed to wake up now? Where are they???

My husband goes out to look for them. I walk around the house singing to him. My neighborhood is alive at this late hour, preparing to leave tomorrow morning at 7am for the hotel. I wonder if they know anything is wrong.

At some point, I begin to lose it and desperately gather the pieces of myself before they crumble completely. I know I have to be strong and coherent, still.

Finally they arrive. It feels like forever. We lay him on the couch, they check his temp, his oxygen, his pulse and whatever else they check. They ask questions and I answer. At some point my son opens his eyes and fusses. He answers “yeah” to something his father asks him. Joy!

The strange bit here is that I wanted so much to get my camera and take photos. At first I felt guilty for such a selfish and trivial urge, but later I realized it’s only a part of my need to document important things in my life. It’s part of why I keep this journal. It’s no different than this entry. For some reason, I am terrified to forget these landmark moments in my life – my children’s lives – whether they be good or bad moments.

And then the words drop in me like a load of bricks: “OK, let’s take him in.” Terrify. Things must be unusual if they want to take him in for just a febrile seizure. Something must be going wrong.

I hurry and get dressed, cursing and begging God and the Goddess.

And we are off.

And the thing about emergency rooms is that they won’t let you walk. So I rode on the stretcher, wheelchairs, carrying my baby. Even though I am perfectly healthy and capable of walking. It was a little frustrating. And even scary. Stretchers don’t feel as sturdy as they look.

He began responding more on the ride and by the time we got to the hospital the only real thing to do was give him Tylenol. And the doctor ordered a chest x-ray. (I swear that boy is going to glow in the dark with all the x-rays he’s had so far, poor thing!) I thought maybe to look for signs of aspiration that might have occurred during the seizure, but no – it was to look for pneumonia. Funny because his only other symptom was a clear runny nose. I gave in, though, because I was terrified and I wanted someone else to be in charge.

In the end he was fine. Grumpy and whiny because he was so tired, but fine. And by the next morning, he was jumping and laughing as usual. Naming all his letters and numbers.

Where did his mind go? Did he know it was coming on? Did he dream sweet Goddess-blessed dreams in some other place while his body was wracked with convulsions? How is it that something so visually horrible could happen to him, yet mere hours earlier and later he was 100% fine with not even small signs of the terrible night we had?

No sign even of a fever. He was fine.

Me? Notsomuch. I feel defeated. Broken. Weak. At times I feel like I’m beginning to heal, but the black stain remains. It sounds histrionic, I know. And, I guess it is. It was, after all, just a febrile seizure. And while there were some scary parts there, he wasn’t truly in life-threatening danger there. Still, I didn’t know at the time where it would lead and there were moments I faced the vision of a death or of brain damage of my child. And it broke me.

Any time he startles in his sleep, or twitches as his body enters a dream, I hold my breath waiting to see what will follow. Will he settle back into peaceful sleep or will he tighten instead, again and again? Even if there is no fever, I want to give him Tylenol – just in case. And, of course, I worry: maybe it’s not even a febrile seizure, just a coincidence that an epileptic one occurred during a fever.

I never said I was rational, OK?

And on top of that, and on top of being stuck in a hotel room for 48 whole hours, my other child has had both pink eye and an ear infection this week. Apparently, a bacterial infection. And I am too tired this time to do anything but give the prescribed antibiotics. And I’m OK with that after the week I’ve had. Because truly I can barely function right now.

I am going to go and lay down. My mind is emptied here (I guess this journal is not unlike my own pensieve… Epiphany!) and I have my own comfortable and spacious bed to pull me into a good rest tonight. God willing, I will feel better and saner tomorrow.

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10 responses

19 07 2007
Vickii

HOLY CRAP! I’m so so sorry, sweetie! May all the healing blessings be upon you guys now. You were a paragon of patience and calm, yay for you! If it’s any comfort, I have known quite a few toddlers who have endured random seizures of unknown etiology who never had any problems afterwards. The physiology of the human body is sooo detailed, there’s so much going on in there. I think that sometimes, a mis-circuit happens, and things go haywire for a few minutes as the brain resets. Like a computer. Know how sometimes it freezes? Or pages start to flash and you can do nothing but sit there until it calms down, because no buttons work? Yeah. We are one big computer. I need more memory.

19 07 2007
doow

I’m so sorry. Seizures have been a part of my colourful medical history at times, so I know how awful they can be – and I can imagine how dreadful they are for those ‘outside’ looking on.
Hugs to all.

19 07 2007
Amy

((((hugs)))). I’m sorry you all had to to through that, Bons! And don’t feel silly for getting upset even though it was “just” a febrile seizure. No matter what it was, you have a right to feel as you did. I hope the rest of the week is better for you and your family and that you are all feeling better.

19 07 2007
chanale

I’m so sorry for you and him. 😦 I’d be frightened out of my wits in your shoes.

Sleep well, and I hope each day is better than the last.

19 07 2007
Joelle

How very, truly, scary for you. You have EVERY right to the feelings you are going through. I don’t think I could be as strong as you were (and are!!!)

Many prayers and love and hugs going out to you and your entire family!

(((((((((((((( HUGS )))))))))))))))

19 07 2007
Sonja

Holy crap. Just reading this scared the bejeezes out of me…
Peace and healing to you!

19 07 2007
Laurel

Your description of E is startling – I can almost imagine what you must have been through. Feel better soon Bonnie, you did and amazing job!

19 07 2007
Elaine

You are an awesome mother. You did exactly what you needed to do, taking care of your son just as you were born to do.

Rock on with your bad self, yo.

20 07 2007
Kelly

OMG, that is so scary! I am glad to hear he is ok.
We have talked before, its been awhile..my name is Kelly and I have Lily 7 and Jack 4..I was in SDNF.
Anyway, found your blog..its great. I enjoying reading, and I am also a huge Lost fan!
Blessings,
Kelly

21 07 2007
Jen

((hugs)) I had NO idea until tonight… I really have to keep up with everyone!
You are a wonderful mama, I hope you all got some well-needed R&R. It’s so hard not to freak out with every little thing to do with the kids.

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