a febrile seizure

My kids have been sick.

Nothing too bad, but it's just been a constant round of snot and coughing and even a complete strip down of Reganne's bed when she threw up.

But like I said, nothing too bad.  Or too serious.

Until the other night.

Kellen was running a slight fever Sunday night.  We gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed.  Didn't think much of it, other than Marryn had a fever the night before.  The next day he woke up fine.  Wasn't warm, but we could tell he wasn't feeling his best.  Nothing too bad though.  I even set him up in the cart when I went grocery shopping.  He was good.  Enjoyed it.  Then later that afternoon he started to warm up again.  I gave him some Tylenol.  Joe came home awhile later and he was still pretty hot, about 102 degrees.  So he stripped him down.  I had him later and he was still roasting, so we put a cool rag on his head.  And then as I was holding him, his plug suddenly fell out of his mouth.  Then his eyes glazed over.

"Kellen?  Kellen!"  I jumped up.  "Joey, something's wrong with Kellen!  Something's wrong with Kellen!!"

He took him as he yelled, "Call 911."  Of course I grabbed his iPhone, which would have taken me 5 minutes to get through passwords and apps and whatnot to even figure out how to even make a call, but then I noticed my phone sitting on the counter.  I grabbed it and started to dial.  I looked over at Joey, who was holding Kellen on his shoulder, as if he was burping him.  He was very still.

"Is he breathing?"  He put his hand on back to check.

He wasn't.  He handed him back to me and we could see that he was completely, head to toe, purple.

It was an all too familiar sight.

I took him and rushed into the living room where I layed him on the ground and just kept thinking "I'm going to bury another baby.  I'm going to bury another baby."   Joe's on the phone now, telling the dispatcher what's going on and I'm trying to do mouth to mouth.  But I can't get his chin to lift up.  I can't get his head to move back.  I'm giving him breaths (all the while I'm completely freaking out) but can't tell if they're going in or not.  I just can't get his head to move.  I look back over him and his purple little legs are drawn into his chest and won't go down.  And his stomach is complete sucked in.  But I keep with it, doing the best I could.  Then slowly his little body relaxes.  His color starts to come back.

And he starts to breathe again.

Soon his eyes open back up and he starts to cry a little.  I pick him up, but the dispatcher says to keep him laying down with his chin up.  So I do.  And he just looks at us, slightly out of it, as his cries get more and more consistent and stronger.  I just want to hold him, but I don't know what just happened and I don't want to hurt him, so I leave him there and talk to him.  I try to comfort us both.

Soon the firemen arrive.  They do some quick checks, but seeing that he's breathing fine on his own, they tell me I can hold him.  They ask tons of questions and shaking, I do my best to answer.  The ambulance arrives and offers to take him to the hospital.  They load his car seat in the ambulance and I go with him.  Joe follows later.  (Sometime after he started breathing again, I managed to get through Joey's phone and call Jean, his mom, to come over.  In addition we had a great neighbor who came over to offer help with the other kids and other neighbors who called as well.) 
In the ambulance, they don't find anything wrong other than a high temperature.  I relay the story again and the parametric thinks it was a seizure.  Again at the hospital I relay the story.

A Febrile Seizure.

Although extremely scary, they are completely benign.  The worry is not so much the seizure, but why do they have a temperature.

So at the hospital, they check him out.  His oxygen levels are excellent (98-99).  His heart rate is a little high, but nothing too worry about about (and it went down as the night went on).  His lungs are clear.  They did a quick test for the flu-negative.  Stiffness in the neck?  None.  (To rule out meningitis.)  Other than his high temp and a slightly stuffy nose, he was fine.  He mostly just wanted to snuggle with us, but occasionally would sit up and coo and play with his plug.  They gave him ibuprofen soon after we got there (around 8pm) and just kept monitoring his temp.  By 11 pm he was still running a temp around 102-103.  They gave him Tylenol and finally it started to go down a little.  We were on our way home now with instructions to keep him cool.  No clothes, no blankets, cool baths, cool room (open windows, turn on fans).  Just keep him cool.

Now, during all the commotion, Marryn was right there.  She was sitting on the couch when he seized up.  And although Joey sent her and the other kids upstairs, she knew something terrible was going on.  My freaking out didn't help either.  She was screaming, so much that the 911 dispatcher could hear her and Joey had to tell him that was another child crying.  She was complaining of an earache earlier, and while we were gone, kept complaining about it (despite having had medicine) and couldn't sleep.  I may not always know what's going on with my kids, but I knew that it wasn't as much her ear as it was Kellen that was keeping her up.  So when we got home, around 1 am, she was still awake, so I took Kellen into her room so she could see him.  That he was fine and home.  She went right to sleep after that.  And even the next day, she didn't have a trace of an earache and just wanted to be near Kellen and hold him.  It was really sweet.

So anyhow, we put Christian in our bed while I slept in his bed next to Kellen.  We closed off the vent to keep the room cool.  I froze.  He woke up twice.  The first I laid him down with me to nurse, and he was noticeably cooler.  He slept with me for awhile before waking up again, which we gave him more ibuprofen.  He then slept the rest the night.  Woke up happy and much cooler.  The day went on and as the afternoon hit, so did his fever.  We kept with the *treatments* of keeping him cool and didn't have anymore problems.   Woke up again without a fever, but was noticeably irritable.  And I myself wasn't feeling so great either.  I wasn't running a fever, but was constantly going from freezing to sweating, and my whole body just ached.  Even at night I couldn't sleep well.  But today I'm feeling a bit better.  And Kellen seems to be happier as well.   He even got into his favorite plant this morning.  Nothing like a little dirt to say I'm feeling better;).

Now back to his seizure.  

Is a Febrile Seizure dangerous?  No.  It is completely benign.  Yes, he stopped breathing, but only for about a minute or so.  There is no damage to him from this.  What caused this seizure?  An *overreaction* of his brain to his temperature rising too quickly.  Could he have one again?  Yes.  Now that he's had one, there is about a 30% chance he could have another, but only up until the age of 5 or so.  But he's not prone to seizures in general because of this.  Can we prevent them?  Possibly, by being proactive when he does start to warm up, but many times it may happen before we even realize he has started to develop a fever.  What should we do if it does happen?  Lay him down and wait for it to be over.  Am I comfortable with watching this happen again?  No.  Not at all.

This was a terrible experience.  But I am so very grateful that it was not something worse.  I have heard of these seizures before, but honestly knew very little about them.  Never thought it'd be something that I'd have to deal with.  So I hope our little story might help educate other parents.  But honestly when your child, for no apparent reason, stops breathing and turns purple, it's hard to stop and think, "Hmmm, maybe it's just a benign febrile seizure..."

9 happy thoughts:

Jennifer said...

Oh my that is sooo Scary Kelsey..I am So glad that he is ok..I have heard about febrile seizures and I'm so glad that you know that he is going to be more prone to them now that he has had one. That is such a scary thing. So glad the poor baby is ok. I wonder what caused the fever..Weird..

Katie @ Hippos and Dinosaurs said...

For heaven's sake...that is scary. I'm so very glad everyone, and especially the little guy, is safe and healthy. So sorry you had to even go through this at all.

Koenig Family Blog said...

What a terrible thing to go through! The same thing happened to my friend here two years ago with her little girl. SO SCARY! I am so glad everyone is ok.

Megan said...

Oh. I am crying. How scary! I am so glad that he is okay now.

And sweet Marryn~ what a sweet soul. I am so sorry she had to experience that.

I had seizures as a baby (long story but I outgrew them) and my brothers and sisters still talk about how scary it was for them. so smart of you to be in tune with her needs and realize how much reassurance she needed.

<3 ~Megan

Skye said...

What a terrible experience! I am so happy to hear that he is ok and everyone else is ok. Traumatized no doubt but ok. I hope it never ever happens again.

MK said...

Oh my gosh Kelsey! How scary! I can't even imagine how you were feeling. I bet you can't put him down now. Give him lots and lots of love and snuggles and THANK YOU for the education! How frightening!

Angie said...

I'm so sorry you went through something like this. But I'm so grateful you got the help you needed and that Kellen is okay! Thank you for sharing so the rest of us can be prepared and educated. Big Hugs!

Danelle said...

Oh my goodness! Everything about your story is so familiar--the panic, the fear that your child is dying, the 911 call, the older kids being worried, going to the hospital. Seizures are the scariest thing I've ever experienced as a parent. I'm so glad he's okay, and I hope you are too. :)

theelfqueen said...

I am reading this months later and my heart is racing! OH MY GOODNESS! How TERRIFYING!