Yeah, thats quite a combo, I know. But any parent will tell you that, that sounds about right in the parenting-realm: where often your world is shaken like never before, sometimes getting a crash course in children’s medicine and biology, while simultaneously being plunged into depths of fear you didn’t know existed, and all nicely mangled up with a good dose of silliness, cuteness and laughter that only kids can bring.
A recent scare with Parker-Grace was one such night where all three elements were present. Everything was going quite fine. Better than fine, in fact. Parker had only just started developing the sniffles one Public holiday afternoon. Nothing major, just sniffles out of the blue, with a light fever – nothing that good ol’ Calpol didn’t sort out. She wasn’t horribly fussy, just needed me close by as a kid normally does when not feeling 100’s.
Co-incidentally, just the week before this incident, Parker-Grace did a number on our thermometer, so we were back to the dark ages with estimating her temp with the back of our hands and cheeks. She didn’t seem too bad, so off she popped into the bath with her sister. It didn’t at all hit us like a bad idea, as she was playing quite animatedly with her sis in the bath – not at all like someone who was clocking the thermometer gauge. Out she popped of the bath and off to her room we went to do the usual bedtime routine.
It was only here that I started noticing how much she was desperately trying to cling to me.I started noticing her body was starting to burn up. Rapidly. I called out to Mike to bring the Nurofen. But I don’t think he realised how urgent my call was – likely my own fault, as Im almost always calling out to him for something. All while I was watching Parker slowly slip into a very unfamiliar state. Eventually he arrived in what felt like slow motion years. I was contemplating giving her a suppository, but knowing how much she hated it, I thought I’d first give the nurofen a chance before subjecting her to something she always virulently protests.
But in while giving, I noticed her lips that were pursing around the medicine syringe suddenly just relax, as the syrup trickled out the side of her mouth. Her whole face suddenly just dropped in tension, and her eyes spaced out completely. Her whole body went heavy. I immediately turned her to her side to ensure no choking, and once more called out to Mike to bring the suppositories immediately. While doing that I felt her body, and it was suddenly on fire. Like out of nowhere, her whole body was just hot to the touch. I rushed Mike on – knowing full well he ws doing his level best to locate the suppositories, while still keeping Morgan-Lee in check.
Mike rushed in with the suppositories, and as I administered it, there was no fight in her at all. What!? Knowing that was an immediately bad sign – Parker always puts up a fight no matter how poorly she feels. I glanced up, and saw her fading fast. I contemplated the ER, but hesitated in hopes of the suppository doing its job.
She started to convulse a few times, and I held so that she wouldn’t choke on any saliva. Her body then shook for a few seconds, and then convulsed again for a few seconds.
I tried to stay calm and diagnose the situation as best I could, kept talking her to make her respond, and to keep the dwindling light in her eyes from fading. But I could see it slipping..her lips turned purple, and her face turned blue, salivating…her breath was laboured and often stopped…she was completely lifeless in my arms.
If you’ve never been there, holding your completely limp baby, as her tender little chubby limbs dangled from your arms, empty eyes, and breath that was like dwindling hiss… then I can honestly tell you now, you’ll never underst and the sheer panic and fear that strikes your heart, and surges through your body. I went from calm and urgent to demanding and raging in no time at all. Clearly Mike and I were both shaken by this.. we felt so helpless.
Forunately Morgan-Lee kept herself quite occupied and generally cooperating with daddy. All while I was praying out loud.
At that point, Parker still wasn’t responding. The only thing that let me know she was alive was her slow, laboured and erratic breathing.
I started called out the emergency packing list to Mike, whilst grabbing already packed bags with the one hand and Parker in the other and running to the car. Mike grabbed Morgan lee and the essentials, and we were off.
Just before I got into the car, Parker finally gave a proper gasp of air, and let out a short wail of a cry – which was sweet music to my freakin ears! Thank, God! Relief starting filling my veins, as the stress started draining from my head. But her body was still on fire, and I knew she wasn’t out of the dark yet.
Mike drove smoothly and swiftly to the hospital. I jumped out of the car and into the ER I ran holding a slightly less lifeless, but still pained-body of my baby.The reception staff saw her and immediately signalled me to the nurse who was at hand.
The nurse immediately performed triage. As I plonked Parker on the table, to my surprise there was this pink little girl, with bright eyes and spirit. Gone was the pale purple. Yes, still a little grumpy, but not at all the scary little scene I saw literally a few seconds ago. She whispered to me to sit by her, and started playing with her belly. The nurse looked at her and somehow didn’t believe/understand that this was actually an emergency – that this pretty little baba that’s giving you that sassing look, and refuses to give you her thumb, was actually not breathing a few minutes ago.
It was only when she took her temp – 40’c- that she was shocked to see how wakey-wakey and full of attitude this kid was for a child that has such a high temp. I warned the sister not to judge her health by her attitude, because our kids seem to mostly never change their behaviour with their raising temps. (Making it very hard for mommy and daddy as well to suss out without a thermometer)
I felt her body, and even 40’c, it was SO much cooler than earlier. So they estimated she must’ve had a temp of about +42’C, and establishing that she suffered from a febrile seizure. My good God! 42’C??? I didn’t even know humans could survive at that temp! Here this small little fingy of a person racked up the numbers!
So off to the rooms we went where they stuck madam under a cool fan and gave her another suppository. (Correction, the nurse gave it to me to give to her. It wasn’t going to happen other way around.) Poor baba, wriggled and snuggled this way and that way trying to find a good position to sleep. Big sis also made her way up onto the bed to come lay next to her Pax and planted kisses on her head, while gently talking to her with all the soothing lines she’s ever heard us say.”Oh my poor Parky. You okay,baby?”
This overload of love and cuteness alerted me to the fact that we were finally on our way outta this horrible nightmare of an evening. The worst had passed. Thank God. Trust Morgan-Lee to be the one that is the reminder of silver linings.
Oh, as for the silly and cuteness bits : It was also at this point that the doc walked in, immediately Morgan-Lee jumped up, walked over to the doc and confidently introduced herself : “Hello, doctor! I am Doc Mcstuffins.” (You know, like one professional to another.) “And this is my sister, Parker. She’s not feeling very well.” (Doc Mcstuffins giving her professional medical opinion.) Fortunately, that night we got an awesome doctor of note, who was totally game for it all, and shared all her opinions and procedures with the little Doc . Giving her some equipment to check out, and even some disposable stuff for Doc Mcstuffin’s home surgery. That was Morgy’s night made. Sorry, DOCTOR Morgy! 🙂
Now if only our night could be made, by being sent home!
Eventually the doc said we could play out in front while we play the waiting game with Parker to produce some urine samples for us, into that little baggy thing.(Because they couldnt diagnose the cause of the crazy fever) Not sure what the success rate of that baggy thing is, but Parky pretty much pee’ed it right off, with no sample to show for it. #powerpee. I mean, we only waited almost TWO hours for it.Back to the drawing board!
Eventually I managed to convince the doc to send us home and that I would be back the moment I successfully captured the necessary wee-wee. I was tired, Mike was tired, the girls were heading into loo-loo land in the ER waiting room because of their tiredness…Pax’s temp was at a steady 37, so I was ready to pack up and hit the hay.
Of course, there was no sleep for that night, and I essentially camped out in Pax’s room just to monitor her temp. I mean , her spike in temp came out of the blue, with even the doc having no clue what caused it. So I think you’d understand that our level of paranoia was pretty much off the charts, and stayed so for the next two weeks as we constantly monitored her temp, and checking on her for even the slightest of whimper. This of course meant, that sleep was also once more a stranger to me.
Now, Ive always only heard about febrile seizures from friends. And I’ve always felt the heartache and deep empathy as our friends relayed the stories of their childrens’ seizure experience to us. But ive never seen it before…even with the bajillion nieces and nephews that I have and witnessed growing up. Never, not once. SO it was a pretty foreign concept to me.
Needless to say, its some pretty scary stuff to witness, guys. I was caught off guard, and was not sure what to do. So here’s a few things I’d like to share with you, so as to not be so off your guard:
1. Invest in a good quality digital thermometer. We only bought one when Morgy was three years old; never had the need before, until creche viruses hit our home. Don’t be caught out, have one at the ready. Even when our kids feel cool to the touch, the thermometer clocks it in and helps us realise why our kid is maybe so clingy that day. And digital is better- nothing worsethan having to wrestle an already pissed off kid to kep the thermometer under the armpit. With digital, its just two seconds. Beep! You’re done. And accurate! In fact, my kids actually do it for themselves.
2.Let them cling – its nature’s way of getting rid of that fever. Skin to skin with mommy actually has a physiological effect on the childs fever. Kids instinctively know this. This is why only mommy will do, and why they need to be held. So as tiring as it can get momma’s, it genuinely does wonders for baba.
3. Ensure your medicine cabinet is stocked with calpol, nurofen and some suppositories. We never needed it till we did! Then we had to scramble to find. Best not to be found off guard, like us. Rather have it, and never need it than to depserately need it and not have it. Especially at 10 o clock in the evening. Can you say M-KEM – thats only on the other side of the world for us!
4. Tepid bathing – Dont be a fool like me, and bathe the kid in a normal warm bath. ( In my defense, had I known she had a fever, I would never have bathed her at all.) Instead wipe your child down with a cold cloth thats been soaked in cool water. Over the forehead, cheeks, chest, stomach, arm pits, behind the knees, hands an feet. And constantly keep the cloth cool.
What is a febrile seizure
Wikipedia: A febrile seizure, also known as a fever fit or febrile convulsion, is an epileptic seizure associated with a high body temperature but without any serious underlying health issue. They most commonly occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.
What to do when a febrile seizure strikes
1.Place child on his/her side, away from hard objects or sharp corner. Generally a safe place.
2.Make sure her head is turned to one side to prevent choking on excessive sputum or vomit.
3.Loosen clothing that may be too tight (best to have baba in nappy or just underwear).
4.Ensure nothing is in her mouth, and don’t put anything in his mouth while the seizure lasts. So no fingers,
5.Dont try to give any meds as well – their body generally cannot control the swallowing function, and thus could be a choking hazard
6.Be sure to time it. How long the seizure lasts. And what kind of seizure (shaking/convulsing/etc)
Im hoping you never need to apply this. Goodness knows, I never want to ever again!
Here’s to healthy kids!x